I read with dismay the report on Cedar Ridge Elementary Principal Steve Cherrington's assertion that getting the right answer is not as important as getting the process. Such modern view on mathematics education is misleading, absurdly wrong and harmful to students. Recall the failed mission to Mars that resulted from using mismatched units in a correct computational process.

One goal in teaching mathematics is to train students to develop a critical and analytic thought process in order to arrive at a correct answer efficiently. Why bother placing any importance on the process if it doesn't matter whether the answer is correct or not? In real life, if you get the right answer, your boss probably won't care what the thought process is. Of course, flawed reasoning would impede further progress and usually lead to wrong answers with undesirable consequences.

I wonder how the principal would feel to have his financial investments computed incorrectly using the right process.

Shue-Sum Chow

associate professor

Department of Mathematics

Brigham Young University