Order of Operations

By Alex
Edited by Admin
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Dear Spirit of Math Schools, 
 
I am the mother of a Grade 5 student and I would like to share my feedback on the section that was recently completed - Order of Operations.
 
While the importance of the concept is not to be understated, I have found the exercises in the homework section extremely strenuous, with very little point in testing the student's true ability to understand the concept of how to complete the order of operations.  What is more, the marking system defied any motivation for improvement as the questions were marked 0 out of 1 even when the answer was correct.  While a 3-line question would take about 15 minutes to complete, the effort to do it correctly was rendered completely null for reasons such as failing to label the bracket or writing the same line twice or not writing the number of positive or negative signs in the format that was requested or having to write out 10 to the power of 57 as 10 with 57 zeros after!  All of this, after a full day of school and, in some cases, two after-school activities! Do you think we could just as easily have done this question and have tested the ability to understand the concept of order of operations with 10 to the power of 4?
 
The school lost a lot of students this way and I found the process of completing the exercises extremely frustrating and stress provoking even as an adult trying to complete these questions alongside my daughter.  The choice to not allow even partial marks put a dent in my daughter's motivation to improve.  
 
I thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion. 
 
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