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The Pain and Suffering of Those Who Fail

Let us begin with the manner in which mathematics is taught and the high stakes associated with success or failure in it. Success in mathematics is given high status in the schools. Some level of mathematical proficiency is required to be certified as having successfully completed elementary school, then middle school, high school, and college. Persons who find themselves unable to perform at the level taken to be essential experience a great deal of mental distress and anguish. Some proficiency in math is a college-entrance requirement. What is more, persons who fail in math, except in rare circumstances, are not allowed to graduate from high school or college. Some level of proficiency in math is enforced as a precondition for graduation.

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