Education: Problems!

Math skills are down again

A fourth of the nation's 17-year-old students cannot multiply 671 by 402 and get the right answer: 269,742. And the same multiplication problem baffles one-third of all 13-year-olds. Of course, young Americans may prosper without ever solving that particular problem, provided they never have to print up enough tickets to admit 671 people to exactly 402 rock concerts. But the problem makes a point for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a nonprofit organization, which included it, along with hundreds of others, in the latest N.A.E.P. survey of the nation's math skills, released last week. The point:...

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