Third-grade dilemma

The daughter came home with a math review test.

One of the problems read: Jean did a survey of ages of children in her block. She created this frequency table. Find the maximum, minimum, and range of the ages.


S2's answers were: min=1, range=5 and max=6, but there was evidence that she had first written down 2, 6, 8, then erased them and wrote down 1,5 and 6.

"These are not correct, S2," I told her, "you had it right the first time and it looks you erased the right answers and wrote these wrong answers."

"No," she protested, "the teacher said we always had to do things with the data that she collected, not with the first numbers."

"If that's what your teacher wants you to do, then her question is wrong. Because she asked for ages."

My third-grader then got down to the key issue at hand.

"I know that these answers are not right," she said, "but this is what my teacher said we have to do. When she gives these questions on the test, I have to do things her way. Otherwise, she will take points off."



  1. So, I've been dying of curiosity since reading this post: When the graded paper came back, what was the teacher's "right answer"? Becuse if S2's "corrected" answers were indeed correct (per the teacher), I'm ready to totally throw in the towel on American education.

  2. This was a question on the review -- S2 had erased her answer and corrected it based on the teacher's "right answer".

    The actual test the next day had a different question. The wording on the actual test was such that teacher, dad and third-grader would all agree on the answer :) S2 was spared the moral dilemma.