Washington Post (WaPo )Emma Brown Fairfax school board debates Thomas Jefferson High admissions
By Emma Brown, Published: July 19
==Dialogue with a poster at WaPo
10:41 AM EDT
The TJ admissions test should contain problems going from easy to into Algebra 2/Trig and on to intro calculus. Few students should be able to do all the problems. This makes the test meaningful to all. It is a goal for earlier education to go for preparation.There should also be some proofs or complete proofs on the test. This would test math maturity and insight not just rote problem solving.The TJ test should set a standard for what it means to think about math at a higher level of insight than just the common core exit exams do. This would help offset the baleful effects of the sole reliance on problem solving and not on axioms, definitions and proofs in arithmetic and algebra.
10:50 AM EDT
Let just say that I am somewhat familiar with TJ admissions, being a Fairfax resident. You would be lucky if these kids have taken Algebra I and Geometry by the time they apply for TJ. And by the way, these kids are no slouches, OK?Expecting them to know Trigonometry too? Unrealistic, IMHO.
11:02 AM EDT
11:04 AM EDT
… BTW, I meant Algebra I and Geometry by 7/8th grade, not 9th or 10th.
11:17 AM EDT
Here is FCAG info on TJ admissions.http://www.fcag.org/tjinfo.html
“In 2009-2010, 3,119 students applied to TJ. There were 1,553 semifinalists. In 2008-2009, approximately 2950 students took the TJ exam and there were approximately 1700 semi-finalists.”
So the math exam is not selective. You have to go from 1500 or more to 480 admitted. The math exam can have more challenging problems and those could reduce the semi-finalists to those with better math insights and comprehension.
11:20 AM EDT
At the following link I have links on TJ math courses and sequences through them. These courses take off rapidly. The final year you can special functions and a sort of mathematical methods of physics type course almost. That is a hard course even for physics grad students to master. Students who can do this in high school are not being admitted in favor of students who can’t or won’t reach that level.http://newmathdoneright.com/2012/05/22/re-jay-math…
11:24 AM EDT
“Advanced Mathematical Techniques
Grades: 10-12 Credits: 0.5
Prerequisites: Multivariable Calculus or permission of Mathematics Division Manager ”
“Topics include mathematical modeling with differential equations, extensions of vector calculus to spherical and cylindrical coordinate systems, normal mode expansions and Fourier series, linear algebra, group theory, differential geometry, and applications of complex numbers in a variety of fields. Applications cover topics ranging from probability theory to interacting ecosystems to quantum systems. Some of the special functions found in mathematical physics, including Bessel functions, Legendre polynomials, the Gamma function and the Riemann Zeta function will also be discussed in the context of various physical applications.”
Look at Arfken Mathematical Methods for Physics as a textbook used in college and grad school by physics students.
To get some students to this level by 10 to 12 grade some students at admissions need to be way beyond algebra one.
Some reference links
Discussion on Arfken
TJ admissions test “new math” John Dell
Thomas Jefferson high school 480 admitted
Bessel functions are used in some of the BT Green’s functions formulas in mathematical finance. This includes for the Cox, Ingersoll and Ross interest rate model.
Beaglehole Tenney “Bessel function”
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