Math Education: Calculus or Statistics

For those that follow my education themed posts you’ll know that I’m a strong proponent of limiting the emphasis on tests as the deciding factor for a student. I believe tests are valuable, but they can’t be over weighted. Tests are great for showing comprehension of theory and book learning. Seldom does it align with applied learning. And that is what I think we should have more of, kids applying the material in the real world. It takes more time, but the effects are lasting.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Arthur Benjamin is a math teacher who in February of this year (2009) spoke briefly at TED. His speech is pasted below. He suggests a change in approach in math curriculum. Right now everything is additive to calculus. But what Mr. Benjamin suggests is that everything should be additive to Statistics. The reason is that statistics are entirely more useful in the average person’s day. He mentions risk and reward, trade offs, likelihoods, and several other times it would be useful.


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