Have you ever thought about how multiple choice tests influence how we think about math? I hadn't.
I had usually thought about the problem including higher level thinking and authentic writing. Today a math teacher I know said something really interesting. She said that the standardized tests create a focus on finding the right answer. What really matters is getting the right answer rather than understanding a concept. So, that is the way we teach. Or possibly we teach that way and so it is the way we think about testing.
I am convinced that I quit taking math class because in my school years I always (eventually) could get the right answer and follow the procedure, but didn't really understand the concepts. Math was all memorization and procedure and so when I got to higher math it was frustrating and difficult. So I quit.
Now, I might never have had a "math brain". Maybe it never would have been my favorite subject. As an adult though, I can see how math is beautiful and is a part of everything we do. I wonder if I would have been able to have that sense earlier if the focus wasn't so much on getting the right answer.