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## Friday, May 19, 2023

### Creativity or Stupidity?

This week, I saw this attached (grade one?) test item or math meme on Facebook, which was initially posted by “The Language Nerds” group.

Based on the multiple comments to this ill-posed math question, it’s amusing, yet also disturbing, to read that most responders are praising the student for his “creative” answer, or criticizing the “uncreative” teacher for penalizing the poor child.

In this postmodern or polarized world we’re living in, you’d think that maybe only someone who’s a “very stable genius” would rationalize or argue that the student’s response qualifies as one of the equally valid answers. And if the biased teacher insisted on marking the creative child wrong, the parents might consider suing him or her for giving their son an undeserved zero.

Below are some netizens’ replies to the math question from “Maths Jokes Daily,” which range from the hilarious to the ridiculous to the preposterous.

I think because the circles weren't closed properly ðŸ¤”

honestly think its possible for most people to understand what you are supposed to do here, so I would definetely argue that this is not a badly formed question :)

Were the correct answers 1.39, 2.17 and 3.96 ?

He got it wrong because he marked 3 numbers, and the question only asked for one, so the right answer is 15

He provided 3 right answers. He identified the smallest number in each row disregarding the periods and commas. LOL !

He circled 3 numbers. Number 1 is the smallest number and therefore should have only selected the 1 single number.

Also, why did the teacher put 3 lowercase "alpha" symbols?ðŸ¤£

it’s evident smallest number and not smallest numberS so he should have circled only 1

Because he only circles 1 but not 1.39 Same with others

The fault lies entirely with the fool that numbered the questions with Roman Numerals and then used 1, 2, 3 instead of a, b, c

That kid is already smarter than the teacher.

Thats at least .5 for thinking outside the box

? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? !

Would you side with the teacher or the student? How would you respond to the “wrong” answer to this ill-posed or improperly posed question?

Creatively or uncritically yours

© Yan Kow Cheong, May 19, 2023.