# 6 Correlation Street

By Griffiths, Jonny | Mathematics Teaching, September 2006 | Go to article overview

# 6 Correlation Street

Griffiths, Jonny, Mathematics Teaching

The mathematical soap opera that is my classroom ...

Richard, a statistics student of mine, handed in his answer to a line-of-best-fit exercise the other day. The task began, The 1980 and 2000 catalogue prices, in pence, of five British postage stamps are as follows.'

Is it me, or are we in clanger here of being whisked away into the wonderful world of mathematics question-speak? Bearing in mind my place of work, what is the chance that Richard is into stamps? Am I wrong to wonder whether the writer of the question is or knows a philatelist?

The problem goes on: One stamp was valued at £5 in 1980 and at £62 in 2000. Comment.' The setter's idea was to encourage some reference to the regression line, but Richard gave this baffled but pithy answer: 'What loser spends £62 on a stamp?'

Our learners have to negotiate more than mathematics when they attempt an examination. The rubric can be a trial in itself, the language of the questions may be unfamiliar and, above all, the questions may embody a culture that is almost completely alien to our youngsters.

So should examiners try instead to be hipper than hip, totally 'chilled' with current student thinking? In my experience, young people swiftly rumble the authority figure aspiring to be trendy. Maybe they would rather have questions about £62 stamps than be asked about buying an Arctic Monkeys CD - only the examiner would doubtless feel some strange compulsion to call it 'Antarctic Gibbons'. No better than bringing in Stanley Gibbons, then.

Take this (fairly recent) mechanics exam question that I came across the other day. It concerns a packing case and its owner's desire to shift it. Who should set about this task? …

If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes

#### Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

#### Cited article

6 Correlation Street
Settings

#### Settings

Typeface
Text size Reset View mode
Search within

Look up

#### Look up a word

• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
• Highlights & Notes
• Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

### How to highlight and cite specific passages

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

## Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

## Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.