20.9.14

The Most Complicated Maths in the World

The most complicated maths in the world is used by teachers to calculate final marks for their students. I’m not sure whether teachers recognise this, and that is perhaps why they struggle to answer the time-honoured question of, What will I use this maths for when I’m older?

It would be cynical of me to suggest that there are teachers who simply invent numbers that translate into grades. I’m well aware that this isn’t true. Instead, teachers have developed magical grade-calculating systems, which only they can understand.

“Now,” a teacher will their class, “for this assignment you’ll receive a mark out of twenty, which is broken down into fifty marks which will be awarded against the criteria which I’ve set out (don’t ignore this aspect); this will then be calculated against the other marks for the other piece of assessment you’ve already completed in this unit, which, as you know, have been marked out of 35. Your final mark for the unit will be out of 16, which will be translated to a percentage and your final grade.”

Er, what?

There must be some method to the madness, so it’s always a relief to get to a maths lesson – the bastion of logic and clear-cut facts, towering over arse-acquired hypotheticals.

In maths, you are right, half-right or totally wrong. Attainable marks are conducted in orderly multiples of ten. There is no calculus or projection geometry involved in inventing them.

(If only teachers knew and recognised the complexity of their work. If they did, they could tell students they would need maths in their post-Muck Up Day lives. “It will allow you,” they could say, “to come up with assignment marks of your very own! Cut out the middleman!”)

So, why is it that the humanities and languages departments (usually) create more work for themselves in a field that seems, by its very nature, to be out of their comfort zones? While maths is, unlike its very nature, very simple.

Go figure.

Actually, don’t bother.