Learning Fractions at Forty

Posted on September 12, 2011


The entrance to Montview Middle School.

I am a forty-one-year-old man with undergraduate and post-graduate degrees and yet I cannot subtract or divide fractions.  Never could.  A standardized test from my fourth grade revealed higher than average aptitude for reading and language arts (though I tested poorly in punctuation–two correct, five incorrect), but lower-than-average math computational skills.  In every standardized test after that, 6th, 8th and 10th grade, I tested below average in math (and above average in everything else).  The results were embarrassing.  6th grade:  2/6 computing fractions; 4/12 computing percentages.  8th grade:  4/13 computing fractions; 0/7 signed numbers; 0/6 geometry.  10th grade: 100% multiplying fractions, but 0% dividing them and 75% adding and subtracting.  Huh?   In four years no-one could teach me how to add, subtract or divide fractions?

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