Here are two sample math problems given to students in different countries:

**Problem 1:**

Mrs. C made some tarts for sale at her bakery. She sold 3/5 of them in the morning and 1/4 of the remainder in the afternoon. If she sold 200 more tarts in the morning than in the afternoon, how many tarts did she make?

**Problem 2:**

There were 90 employees in a company last year. This year the number of employees increased by 10 percent. How many employees are in the company this year?

A) 9

B) 81

C) 91

D) 99

E) 100

Problem 1 is given to 5th grade students in Singapore. Problem 2 is given to 8th grade students in the US, only 1/3 of whom were able to correctly answer the question.

Part of the reason our kids are failing to keep up with rest of the world is because we’ve accepted that only 1/3 of 8th graders will be able to correctly solve Problem 2, even when given calculators.

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January 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

We’ve gotten a few requests for this, so here are the solutions to the problems presented above:

PROBLEM 1:

Tarts made = a

AM Sales = 3/5 a

Remainder = 2/5 a

PM Sales = 1/4 * 2/5 a = 1/10 a

AM Sales = PM Sales + 200

Substituting variables for words give us the equation:

3/5 a = 1/10 a + 200

10/1 * (3/5 a) = 10/1 (1/10 a + 200)

6a = a + 2000

5a = 2000

a = 400

Tarts made = 400

To check :

AM Sales = 3/5 a = 3/5 * 400 = 240

Remainder = 2/5 a = 2/5 * 400 = 160

PM Sales = 1/10 a = 40

AM Sales = PM Sales + 200

240 = 40 + 200

PROBLEM 2:

10% of 90 is 9. Total employees is 90 + 9 = 99