Monday, April 21, 2008

Follow up on dialog

So, to follow up on the earlier thread about creating the space and opportunity for dialog, the strongest call was for something around the math curriculum. There are a number of elements of the District's math curricula that I find curious and would like to learn more about.

1. Why the delay in selecting the two high school curricula? We've been told that we're waiting for the state to set the standards, but
a) Any curriculum we choose will actually match those standards without modification
b) We already have a strong sense of what the standards will be
c) We have already narrowed the choices to three curricula and will not be adding to that list when the state releases their standards

2. We will make a dual adoption for high school - one more reform curriculum and one more traditional curriculum. We also made a dual adoption for elementary school (Everyday Math and Singapore Math), but we didn't make a dual adoption for middle school. Will the District re-open the curriculum adoption for elementary or middle school in light of the new state standards? Will the district make an additional math curriculum adoption for middle schools (a more traditional choice) so there is a dual adoption at each level? If dual adoptions are good for high school and elementary school, aren't they also good for middle school? If we aren't concerned about an elementary and middle school adoption made before the state standards are released, why are we concerned about a high school adoption before the state standards are released?

3. Where, if anywhere, is the evidence that the reform math curricula are effective with
a) students in general
b) students from historically underperforming groups

4. What are the relative costs associated with adopting the various curricula? These costs include initial purchase of materials, continuing cost of replenishing materials, professional development for implementation, continuing cost of professional development, etc.

5. How can we assure access to advanced math classes in all of our middle schools?

6. How can we assure access to advanced math classes in all of our high schools?


What questions would you like to discuss at a dialog about math?

3 comments:

dan dempsey said...

1. Why the delay in selecting the two high school curricula? We've been told that we're waiting for the state to set the standards.

The SPS is waiting because MG-J said to wait. This came after a lengthy presentation by Ms Wise and Ms Hoste, which advocated for IMP now and something else later that was harshly criticized by the Board.

The National Math Advisory Panel report focuses on Authentic Algebra. The entire focus of SPS math k-12 is not aimed at Authentic Algebra (when IMP or Core-Plus are used for high school).

2. The SPS did NOT make a dual adoption for Elementary school. The adoption was for Everyday Math with a small supplement from Singapore math that has yet to start.

We currently have a large problem because we have no plan for much of anything. One of the largest difficulties is that we have large numbers of unskilled students who are unable to undertake a curriculum centered on either the preparation for Authentic Algebra or doing Authentic Algebra.

3. Where, if anywhere, is the evidence that the reform math curricula are effective?? The NMAP says there is none. I will trust them as they have more resources than I do. If they can’t find any evidence and I can’t either after 18 months of looking – do you suppose there isn’t any.

4. What are the relative costs associated with adopting the various curricula? From what we’ve seen lately it appears positive results are inversely proportional to the cost of the program. Given the costs training and consumable supplementary materials for EDM perhaps we will see positive results in inverse correspondence to the square or the cube of the costs. Let’s call this the Dempsey-Santorno hypothesis = money spent goes up and math scores go down.

5. How can we assure access to advanced math classes in all of our middle schools? By having the students involved in math books that are worth using k-6. The NMAP specifically recommends avoiding curricula that use the spiraling nature of EDM. Since our kids are lacking in number sense we could use books with more numbers and fewer words.

6. How can we assure access to advanced math classes in all of our high schools? Perhaps we could begin this math preparation of students in k-3. Then as we look at the k-12 program there would be a reason to have advanced math.


What questions would you like to discuss at a dialog about math?

How much more time and money will we spend waiting?
Define some grade level necessary skills now. These should have been defined years ago. What does the Chief Academic Officer think about??? Look at the Phi Delta Kappa curriculum Audit -- they were attempting to use the GLEs from the failed math standards to analyze student math progress.
That is like trying to measure the volume of water in an irregularly shaped tank in liters by using a six inch ruler.

TechyMom said...

1) What does the district intend to do with the information from The National Math Advisory Panel? How will it impact the state standards?

2) Has Singapore been rolled out in any schools yet? If not, why not?

3) I'm choosing a K in the Central District for 09-10. Availability of Singapore math will be a major factor in my decision. Which Central Cluster schools are planning to role it out by then? Also, I want to get across to the district that availability of Singapore Math is an issue that might cause me to choose private school over public school, if there is no school near me that offers it.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Techymom,

Your chances at this point are very slim. EDM is the primary adoption, Singapore despite talk of being a 25% supplement to EDM is not this year but next year may be different. The best one is likely to see is a 25% supplement as Singapore is not the primary adoption.

Currently North Beach is using 100% Saxon and have a continuing waiver to do so. Still EDM materials are delivered to the school.

Schmitz Park in West Seattle had other time intensive activities so were granted a waiver not to implement EDM in 2007-2008. At SP since a teacher or two had used Singapore math in the past, SP with support from the SP principal went 100% Singapore math this year.

The principal gave up on the SPS central admin and will be at Mercer Island next year not at SP.

The EDM materials have already been delivered to SP for next year's use. Little matter that EDM is a curriculum to be avoided as judged by the NMAP or that Singapore math is the top curriculum in the world, the bullies downtown have spoken.

From my email correspondence with Ms. Fedio:

Now that the National Math Advisory Panel Report is available and it clearly advises avoiding Everyday Math, what are the plans for k-5?

We have not changed our plans for K-5.

Now that the National Math Panel has a clear focus on Authentic Algebra; what is the district's math plan? The SPS put a system in place without a focus on Authentic Algebra --> EM, CMP2, IMP or Core-Plus are 180 degrees opposite the NAMP recommendations.

The high school math adoption is not completed. We have moved the timeline and plan to adopt new high school materials for the 2009-2010 school year.

You had best be scouting out those private schools if you are looking for Singapore Math or home schooling. Far be it for rational thinking to ever get in the way of JSCEE administrative actions.

Good Luck,