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Human Subjects

- This morning I filled out an online follow-up survey about a conference I went to. They were so eager for people to respond that everyone who filled out the survey gets a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com. (Not just entered in a drawing -- everyone gets it!)

- I also filled out another online survey from the College Board about what math I teach in my class, what my students should know coming in, and how much they really do know. Basic pattern of responses: the only thing they know is geometry, but only if they don't have to express their thoughts in terms of symbolic notation. There were a zillion questions about matrices. Why, why, why? Why do they teach matrix arithmetic in high school when the students can not do rational number arithmetic? Why do they teach them how to solve systems of linear equations with matrices when they can not solve one linear equation with algebra? Their strange methodology had a question at the end where I could sign up to get paid to help them code their data.

- By Monday I need to create and disseminate a diagnostic instrument so that the people administering the study can post-test my human subjects over a common, brief temporal interval. (Guess who gets to code the data? Ugh.) Yes, I am assessing qualitative and quantitative benefits of an instructional approach! Yes, I can speak more than one dialect of jargon! (Yes, education research is easier than math research!)