Originally Posted By: ultramarina
Iucounu, while I understand your frustration, we have had many incidents like this, and I think it's important to encourage kids to look for "the answer the teacher wants." Yes, your son is right, and I would tell him that he is right, but I also would have him write the answer the teacher wants. If you wanted to, he could then write in the margin why the question is confusing. There is so much danger of overthinking and then responding "wrong" to poorly written questions with these kids. It's a life skill to know what is actually being asked and at what level--albeit a depressing one. Now, I would agree that his response IS evidence of a child who is thinking at a higher level and who needs more challenge.

We talked about what the intent of the problem writer must have been, but he still gave the right answer and I think that's best. If this were a computer-graded test that mattered, without any option for "insufficient info" as an answer, I might think it was for the best to intentionally give a wrong answer, but not when a human's supposed to be grading it. If he winds up a person who's sometimes thought to be wrong but can always prove himself right, I'll be happy. I could probably have him work on explaining himself with more than one sentence in addition to a diagram or something, but I'm also hoping these bum questions don't pop up often. (ETA: I guess I could see having him explain "X yards would be a wrong answer, because...", but I can't contemplate him actually giving it as an answer.)

Here, the teacher either doesn't understand how to do math problems very well, or she didn't give it a passing thought despite his answer and diagram, and also may have wanted to mark him wrong to prove a point that he's not infallible and/or not at as high a level as his testing and previous learning suggests.

This shows the problem with having him not actually being taught by a person in my opinion. With a halfway decent math teacher in a class, the teacher would have understood his explanation or asked for more info, and DS would have been able to explain in class as well. I'm not so worried about him missing a life skill here as not being given what everyone else at the school gets-- instruction. I'd feel differently if the teacher, despite not getting it, had asked for more info. And the diagram makes it pretty obvious. (In a different case, he gave the correct answer and the teacher graded him wrong without apparently looking at the answer sheet.)
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