Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MIF/new Scope and Sequence

Have at it - this is one subject I'm not up-to-date on except for the number of parents who say Math in Focus is not being used at their school.

129 comments:

Math in UnFocused said...

Yep, my second grader is taking home "my math" McGrawHill worksheets for homework nightly. Last year his math teacher told us how important Singapore math (mif) was and we spent countless nights going over the new jargon associated with that program spending time watching his little hand try to draw our bar models etc. Sigh. No announcement but was told at curriculum night that they are using "both" textbooks because it was discovered MIF does not adequately cover
The common core. What a mess.

Outsider said...

My child has a MIF book at school, but is forbidden to bring it home. It's fairly clear that the school doesn't want parents to see it. Hmmm... wonder why. Maybe parents would think MIF is ridiculous if they actually saw it.

Math in UnFocused said...

I ordered hers last year on Amazon so I could teach along side at home. Text book itself isn't bad. Once you got ahold of the jargon it does seem higher quality than the worksheets she is taking home now.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I work at a school where the administration trusts its teachers to continue to use MIF, without the distric's scope and sequence, because when you teach MIF, each unit builds on the next. The scope and sequence has everything out of order, it doesn't make make sense to teach these lessons out of order. And the curriculum does follow common core.

MIF is good

Anonymous said...

Can't you people leave the teaching of math to the math teachers? So many experts. Teachers also need to follow our actual law. And that is common core. if you don't like the law, then spend your efforts changing that not whining over math books.

Reader

Ann D said...

Common Core doesn't start a sequence snd it is not curriculum. SBA is the state-adopted assessment test which is also not curriculum. There is a process for adopting curriculum for use in the classroom which involves the public and our elected representatives. Evidently the SPS Math Department feels they are above this.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the curriculum when it was on display for public comment.
MIF was in my top two and then finding out that it was considered better for ELL students made it my first pick.
I watched the board meeting where MIF was voted in, and was very excited after years of torture with the spiralling and enigmatic language of Everyday Math.

My younger students second grade teacher seemed to like MIF when I spoke to her on curriculum night and I asked her if it would be used exclusively. As far as she knew it was and now we are getting a mix of worksheets coming home. Topics change every few days and nothing is mastered before moving on.Oops, We've got our old friend spiralling back again.

If the district had made a statement justifying the need to run roughshod all over a curriculum that so many were enthused about, it wouldn't be so frustrating, but this just feels like they want to ignore the outcome of the vote, because they didn't get what they wanted.

Dead Horse

Ann D said...

Correcting:

Common Core Does not state a sequence and it is not curriculum.

Anonymous said...

I also reviewed the textbooks when they were on display. I liked MiF because it was straight forward math, without busy word problems and gimmicky illustrations. There was enough of that with the confusing Everyday Math.

Why did a couple of central office staff members overturn an approved math curricula? Why is the current board allowing this?

Looks like a clear case of insubordination to me. The staff members win and the kids lose.

S parent

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed seeing bar modeling in MIF. I loved the idea that math could still be taught to those with limited English. Some of the story problems in the 5th grade MIF work book were completely inappropriate for that math level, requiring systems of algebraic equations to solve properly, but overall the sequence seemed very logical and text seemed great. When I told my child to chill out and not try the poorly vetted problems it seemed great. It seemed like a curriculum designed to close the gap. Too bad my kids school is not using it now. The books MIF were sent home as optional supplements this year . Homework is torn out of some other text, and in a different order, but also seem to be appropriate.

West

Anonymous said...

My 3rd grader brings home her MIF book every night to do a marked off page for homework. I agree that it seems like a really good math program. It makes the kids think about math as well as doing traditional subtraction, adding, etc. I hope the district doesn't go back to more simplified math like Everyday Math. Even if I don't always understand MIF concepts, my daughter does so her teacher must be doing a great job as well.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Reader,
Thank goodness I didn't leave teaching math to the "math teachers" (i.e., elementary school teachers who may or may not have a good understanding of basic math). Both my kids are doing great in math in 6th and 8th grades now, and most importantly, they LIKE math and are confident in math class.

I knew EDM stunk, even tho the "math teachers" told me it was all that and a bag of chips. I supplemented at home with Singapore and told them I didn't care if they ever learned Lattice Multiplication or Partial Quotients Division, and feel free to miss those problems on the test. I had them skip their math homework to make room for 20 minutes a day or so working with me and having fun with it.

Bar modeling is not some faddish thing. It is worth learning as a parent and you can help your kids with it. It uses the spatial aspect of math to help kids understand what they are doing and why, helps them untangle complicated story problems, and is a great bridge to algebraic thinking.

The school district wants the kids to pass the SBAC, this year apparently, because I can only see problems in the future if the foundation does not get laid properly. YOU want your kids to understand and like math. Unfortunately, these objectives are at odds with one another.

No, I'm not the perfect parent, and my kids will have plenty to talk about in therapy when they grow up, but I do believe I got the math part right. If you want to preserve the option for a career requiring math, you'll need to get engaged and involved in your kids' math education. Otherwise, doors you kid may want to walk through in the future (engineer, scientist, etc.) are slamming right now.

Mathy Mom

Math in UnFocused said...

We really focused on bar models last year and this year I was helping her with homework and I said "let's make a bar model to help" and she said "there are no bar models anymore". How confusing for the kids. And yes, I also with we could "leave it to the teachers". Their hands are tied as well...

Anonymous said...

The district flat out says it is not following MIF because it does not have the 'right' sequence to cover SBAC topics. Again, SPS in its infinite downtown wisdom, threw out a book approved by board and community and recognized as internationally sound in order to boost scores on a test that has questionable if any value other than in education politics.

The teachers I know are disapproving of downtown's reasoning and angry about MIF being sidelined after a full year of working it into their classes. I have talked to a lot of teachers about this issue and not one supports downtown's edict.

Singapore Math and MIF does meet Common Core requirements. It is the (@*@*&! SBAC score worries that is driving this decision.

I resent this not only on behalf of my own family but on behalf of the majority of families who do not know what has happened: an inappropriate grade school curriculum so poorly implemented that it isn't even developed for the full year. So poorly implemented that parents cannot partner on math learning at home because the whole thing is haphazardly worksheet based with zero context.

This is an indictment of the downtown bureaucrats and it is an indictment of the SBAC. This test should not be driving SPS curriculum. It it the reason that again this year my family will

Opt Out

Anonymous said...

I feel like there's some revisionist history happening here. The board, acting alone, adopted MiF over the recommendations of the committee and the staff for another curriculum. Our principal and our teachers were frustrated by this decision, because they had to invest a lot of time and planning to fill in the gaps that MiF left for students. I think that it is possible that the district is actually responding to the pleas of the teachers to provide them with a better alternative.

- trust teachers

Anonymous said...

As most of you know, I've covered the demise of MiF this year.
If you need the "Elementary Math Scope and Sequence" being imposed by Heath and Box you can find it here.

There are big problems with CCSS-M and its thrust nationwide. CCSS-M is not internationally competitive. Tom Loveless has an excellent article on Instructional Time HERE.

The 4th grade NAEP Math scores after continually rising for years were down this year.
NAEP scores 2015 released today. NAEP home.
For grade 8 math the groups of math student scores in decline =>
Male
Black
Hispanic
Eligible for Nation Student Lunch Program
Suburb
Students with disabilities

For the future I would say things look even worse for SPS math.

I'd been particular encouraged by annual test gains in math as seen in OSPI posted results. But I see no reason to support the "scope and sequence" of Heath and Box.

As I Commented in "Get that Ballot in"
====
It is a great disservice to destroy a cohesive text to accommodate tests, especially when the main fault is that the students will learn too much too early. The new Scope and Sequence is a huge jumbled mess entirely lacking in coherence when paired with MIF, not just introducing 1 or 2 topics to cover the SBAC.

The CCSS are not internationally competitive. CCSS moves slowly.

The jumbled "scope" sequence is a disservice to the students, who otherwise would have a coherent text that covers the material necessary. If SBAC is to be accommodated, it can be done by adding a few lessons, and not destroying coherency. The idea that a text is a string of disconnected facts that can be taken apart and effectively put together in another way, and that rubrics of coverage are an effective way to evaluate texts, seem unique to educators, especially those in the central office. In the case of MIF, this is a heavily sequenced and coherent text that can only be degraded by the indelicate rearranging of central staff led efforts.

===

Let's get back to Learning through the use of appropriate well developed coherent materials.

Hopefully it will not be too late for newly elected directors to require that the MiF adoption be implemented. Then the teachers can be supported in the use of MiF materials through district actions that focus on the delivery of a coherent mathematics program as well as improving teacher knowledge of mathematics.

==

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

At my school's curriculum night the teacher could not give a map of the year "because downtown hasn't given it to us yet." Not OK.

Not one parent home-supplementation resource has been sent out. See above. Not OK.

As others have posted, the message at our school for why math is rolling out this way - which has nothing to do with the approach of last year, or the year before: We have to be ready for the SBAC. Not OK.

Not OK

Anonymous said...

The district is searching online for random worksheets because MiF introduces some topics eaier than the CCSS - not because it's a bad program. Our PTA purchased Envision for the whole school and my child hates math now. Too many story problems and not enough practice with numbers. Luckily for us, they sent the MiF workbooks home. I guess I'm her math teacher now.

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

Spread the word to other parents that this is happening re math and ask your child's teacher what math curriculum they are using in that grade/school this year ( and are the supplementing it with other material).

I want to get what I paid for - which was the tried and tested textbook math curriculum that the district paid for (therefore, which I as a taxpayer helped pay for).
I want to get what I selected out of the several curricula offered (I didn't personally choose it of course, but the committee members that vetted and made recommendations and board that voted to adopt it did so on behalf of their constituents and community - and to the person that said board acted alone and went over the committee recommendation- no, MIF was the number 2 choice of the committee largely on basis that it would cost more than Envision. They agreed it was a good solid curriculum but the vetting process was heavily swayed by district staff toward choosing envsion by introducing cost as a consideration. The board reflected the concerns and interests of the community (especially relating to excessive wordiness disadvantaging ELL) by adopting it anyway, despite supposedly higher cost).
MIF is aligned to the CCSS - I am sure that every single math curriculum on sale in the US is now aligned with the CCSS.
At no point has a district developed math scope and sequence been put forward for public discussion or vetting or board approval.

Some questions I would like answered by the district/board....

Why did we have a curriculum adoption process and waste countless parent/community member hours on vetting the material if it is not being used?

Why were they not aware of any "supposed shortfalls" in MIF or any of the other curricula in regard to scope and sequence prior or during the adoption process?

What are these supposed deficiencies in the MIF scope and sequence and what are their implications for students learning math? Note - I believe the shortfalls are purely in the eyes of district staff with SBAC scores in mind and not a true reflection of any real weaknesses in the actual scope and sequence of MIF.

At what point was it decided that the district needed to develop its own scope and sequence ratther than follow MIF, on what basis, and by whom?

How much did it cost the district to buy the MIF curriculum?

What schools are using what materials? And does it now vary school by school, teacher by teacher? IF so, how can the district ensure quality math instruction is being received by all students? How is this equitable (SPS favorite buzzword)?

Why does the district math staff feel that math instruction will be improved by deviating from a tried and tested textbook scope and sequence where units follow a logical progression that requires mastery of certain skills in earlier units that will be needed in later ones and replacing this with a district developed one where topics are presented out of order and replaces consistent textbook material with random worksheets and individual teacher-supplied material. Has it piloted this approach or tested it in anyway to determine whether math outcomes are improved? No- our kids are the guinea pigs.

How can parents be partners with teachers/schools in helping their child with math if we now no longer can access the home-learning component of MIF online (the district didn't pay to renew access I heard)?

If math scores go down in the next year or so, will the district revise or ditch their scope and sequence in the face of this evidence?

Where are our board members on this?

How can this happen with no public notification or consultation leaving parents and board to have no say in it? It really does confirm that any public engagement is either just window dressing or stalling tactics with SPS.


Math Matters

Anonymous said...


Parents - find out what is happening with math at your school and post it here (note school and grade). SPS is trying to fly under the radar on this. We need to know what schools are using what curriculum.
Ask your teacher/principal if your school is still using MIF (as published? covering topics in a different order? with supplementary material - how much and what?) or is it using other material/curricula - if so what, who decides what?
What sort of homework is your child coming home with (MIF workbook homework sheets vs other stuff? I know that with any curriculum sometimes the homework will be supplementary teacher-provided material but is this all that is getting send home?)
Ask your child what math workbook (if any) they are working from in class (is it the same as last years?)
What do your teachers think of this situation (though they are probably not at liberty to say)?
Share your findings here...

Math Matters

Anonymous said...

Trust,

MIF was one of the 3 recommended choices that was deemed to meet CCSS. It may not have been the top choice of the committee, but was the top choice for parents and others based on the 3 choices that were recommended. This was a curriculum that was thought to be a good choice for those with limited English with a clarity of text. Visual modeling of complex problems is very helpful to organize thoughts and information. Bar modeling is an efficient way to visualize information and a fine approach to teach. The board made a solid choice and listened to recommendations from the panel, teachers, math and science professionals, and parents. They chose 1 of 3 recommended curriculums.
West

Anonymous said...

Maybe a bit off-topic, but does anyone know where we can find the percentiles for the SBAC results? They were supposed to be posted by OSPI by mid to late October, and I haven't seen them, but I'm not sure I'm looking in the right place. Thanks!

--searching

Anonymous said...

The love of story problems instead of math goes back many years. We had too many people in power who loved an English language approach to teaching math (Terry Bergeson, Carla Santorno, etc.). Unfortunately, it was confusing to students with ADHD and others who did not have a command of the English language. Fundamentally sound math textbooks, like Singapore or Saxon, were criticized for being “drill and kill.” I remember when we were told Singapore materials could be used alongside Everyday Math. That was a myth.

FINALLY the directors voted in a good textbook for elementary students. The central staff and Banda had a hissy fit it but the decision was studied and vetted by the public and the board. Now MiF has been withdrawn before it could even be evaluated. Teaching to the test became the main criteria and we are back to a messy approach to math.

I agree with Dan and hope the new board reverses this lousy decision by a couple of central office staff members. It is another example of SPS going off the rails.

S parent

Anonymous said...

West Seattle parent above said her school PTA purchased envision for math this year.
So does this mean any school can now use any curriculum they choose for math as long as they cover the material according to the district developed scope and sequence? Do schools still need to go through the extensive waiver process to be able to use non-district approved curriculum (like in the bad-old days of EDM).
Does this mean we don't have a SPS-wide elementary math curriculum now?

This might be fine if you happen to approve of the curriculum your school chooses to use (will you get to vote on it via PTA?) but what if its inferior to MIF or other good ones? You can't just change schools to send your kids to one with a good math curriculum.
The whole point of having an district wide curriculum adoption is to ensure math instruction is consistent, equitable, and hopefully good, throughout all the schools of the district.
The district is just so wrong to place SBAC performance (assuming this is what it is all about in the absence of evidence to the contrary) above everything else in this. I thought this kind of 'teaching to the test' only occurred in hick-town districts in places like Kentucky, Tennessee etc - are we going to let this happen in Seattle - really??!

So what now?

Math Matters

Math in UnFocused said...

http://www.edreports.org/reports/series/index.html

I found this link interesting reviewing all the different curriculum vs common core and has response from publishers.

It does seem like each individual school is winging it at this point. I will be working on MIF at home to keep the jargon and bar modeling fresh (it's a nice easy to work thru text). I have come to conclusion that my job is to teach and the schools job is to assess. At least it feels that way right now.

Po3 said...

Interesting that when CMP and Discovery math was "installed" the district sent "math coaches" to schools to make sure all the students were, in fact, using the curriculum.

Now, we have the wild west of K5 math, because the selected curriculum was not the staffs choice.

Just more insubordination.

Anonymous said...

My child was in 2nd grade when Everyday Math was rolled out. It took a while for me to catch on to how poorly math was being taught and by then my child needed years of home supplementation to get back on track. I learned to preemptively teach standard algorithms so the lattice method became more of an interesting topic rather than the default means of hand calculations. I essentially took over the job of math teacher. And the WASL/MSP scores for my children? The school got credit for those.

I was so glad when the district finally adopted new elementary math texts. After years of dealing with the poor choices of SPS (EDM, CMP, and Discovering), I thought there was finally hope. I have tutored many SPS students and have seen the gaps left by the district chosen materials. Why, oh why, are they messing with MIF after only a year's time? As a parent, tutor, and taxpayer, I'm incensed.

Parents, write the Board and the Superintendent. Opt out of SBAC. Be the voice for frustrated teachers. More importantly, make sure your child is learning math in some coherent fashion. Math-n-Stuff is your friendly neighborhood math store. Give them your business. Ask the school for the MIF books for home use. Just do something so your children progress and maintain an interest in math.

-incensed

Crickets said...

We haven't heard Peaslee and McLaren's voice on this issue and they ran on a promise to bring better math into SPS.

Cliff Mass is promoting McLaren with a promise for better math and we've not heard a thing.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, interesting observation and one I'll pass along to the Board.

Anonymous said...

@math in unfocused - it's great that you have the time, ability, and relationship with your kid that allows you to teach math at home but not all of us have that luxury or want to undertake it. Many parents or kids don't have time to do math lessons outside of school hours, parents may lack the skills to conduct them, kids often will not concentrate or work with parents like they would teachers, professional tutoring may be financially impossible. Besides, we should not have to - that is what we send them to school for. That is what we pay taxes for and elect school board members for and participate in community meetings and committees for. If we are going to start absolving schools of the responsiblity to actually teach math properly, where is it going to end? If we pick up the slack on math then what else, reading, science, spelling - it's not school at all if parents have to do it all again at home to do it properly. It's daycare.
No - our kids go to school to learn math and I expect SPS to teach them properly, according to an acceptable, proven, curriculum - the one that was adopted.

Not my job

Anonymous said...

I love math n stuff - but agree it is not my job to pick up and work through supplementary material at my expense for my typical kids (ie, not in need of any special enrichment or special help). It is the job of SPS, their school and teachers to provide them with appropriate curriculum (which we finally had with MIF) and instruction (in fact it is also the job of SPS- not the parents- to address the needs of kids needing advancement or special remediation but I am just saying this is not the case in my situation).

Something is rotten

Anonymous said...

Really glad this is being daylighted.

It's Heath and Box downtown, under Tolley, that have thrown this stinking pile of poo on us in the name of equity and SBAC success. Equity apparently from the thought that every child no matter which K-5 school they access, can get the same mush of worksheets and no one will have the "bonus" of help from parents. It evens the playing field! Crud core curriculum for all!

Parents, I've heard the same thing as other posters: the district told teachers they must use the downtown scope and sequence and any deviation had maybe 2 weeks to be submitted and argued by an individual school and teacher. A few weeks before school started. The intent to undermine any dissenters was so clear with that edict. And with that command, MIF was set aside.

Parents, ask your teachers if the district scope and sequence materials are available now through the end of the year. Hint: They are not. Downtown literally making this up as they go along.

Seen It

Math in UnFocused said...

Could not agree more. It is an outrage.

Anonymous said...

...it's great that you have the time, ability, and relationship with your kid that allows you to teach math at home but not all of us have that luxury or want to undertake it.

That's absolutely right, @Not my job, which is why parents should be incensed.

-incensed

LFPMathguy said...

Anonymous - if by "percentiles" you mean test scores from past state tests you will find state math test results at the OSPI web site, specifically at this address: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=1&reportLevel=State&year=2014-15. Use the drop down box to find SPS, press GO, and then select your school from the new drop down box. It is a pretty decent site for sorting the data in several ways.
LFPMathguy

Math in UnFocused said...

In total agreement. This is a total scandal that should be covered widely on the news. I believe parents are just starting to realize that MIF has been dropped. It took me a minute due to no announcement or explanation

Anonymous said...

My student's teacher made everyone sign up for Khan. So they'll do district worksheets and Khan. Since I had given up on SPS and am basically homeschooling my students in math, this is not disruptive. I'd purchased our own materials. Singapore based. We already supplemented with Khan. Therefore, I have Okd my students to do no class worksheet homework. SPS is adding no value. In fact it appears to be subtracting value.

The idea that Khan is a supplement for all is also ridiculous for schools, mine is one, in which a significant portion of the population has no home access to online resources. Again, SPS is doing students a disservice, not a service.

As Opt Out recommended above, our house has already decided my students won't test. This is specifically a protest about SBAC driving class lessons. My students get good grades. I sincerely hope their nonparticipation in SBAC does its small part to drop the school and district score averages. I can't think of another way to stop the cray-cray beyond parents and students saying no to the test.

One Parent



Anonymous said...

...Equity apparently from the thought that every child no matter which K-5 school they access, can get the same mush of worksheets and no one will have the "bonus" of help from parents. It evens the playing field! Crud core curriculum for all!

The reality is that some parents will go to great lengths to ensure their children are getting an adequate education. If they don't have the option of moving or private school, they will hire tutors or supplement at home. Attempts at equity that result in mediocrity for all will only increase the gaps. There will always be families that can provide more, and the lower the base level expectations get, the more those families will step up to fill the gaps.

Anonymous said...

Math unfocused,

Those Edu-reports are interesting. The low scores in the report for MIF do highlight what I saw as the only real trouble with the MIF books my kid had, that in places questions assessed knowledge out of grade level. A little vetting by the editor should have removed these outliers. BUT even with some of these inconsistencies the basic scope with a focus on deep numeracy, visual representation of complex information and efficient algorithms for arithmetic in an easy to follow instruction, made me still appreciate the books we had. A textbook should not be chosen just for grade level of material, but should be chosen for clearly teaching fundamentals of mathematics. No textbook should ever be chosen because standards are checked off in the right order if it does not have clear instruction of basic algorithms and numerical literacy as well as clear conceptual advancement that allows for relevant and practical problem solving.

Grade level coherence of text is great, and the more I study the CCSS the more I appreciate it, but the rigidity to standards means that children need to be working on the correct book for their current knowledge base, and tutored in school to fill in deficiencies in knowledge. The elimination of Spectrum as a cohort makes this nearly impossible for a large portion of students.

Yes, I also feel burdened as a taxpayer and worker, when I also have to teach my kids at home.

West

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's not the parents' job to teach math. But, it is the parents' job to make sure the kid is getting what they need. SPS not providing what the kid needs. So you can fight for what they need, or teach your kid math yourself, or hire someone to do it, or let it slide and figure who cares about math since we all have calculators and your kid probably won't want to be an engineer anyway.

This will just increase the dreaded achievement gap, as parents with more resources will be able to get their kids what they need more easily than will parents without.

Insanity

Math in UnFocused said...

I'm not familiar with the elimination of spectrum. My child is in advanced math at her home school which has meant they are teaching 3rd grade math instead of 2nd to her. She also gets pulled out for literacy once a week. She does have district advanced learning /spectrum recognition. Are the advanced learning opportunities going away?

Math in UnFocused said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, from what I hear spectrum in many schools is being "transitioned" into blended classrooms and walk-to math is being eliminated. This trend means that in order to have your child working on a math book above or below grade, as appropriate that 1 teacher then has to split their instruction time between 2 or 3 math courses in a single hour. Everyone then gets less math instruction.

Basic math. 1 math instructor hour divided by 3 math lessons = 1/3 the math instruction of our children. Maybe this is why other nations score better on international math measures: 3x the instruction in every class!

West

Math in UnFocused said...

Wow. I don't know what to say. This seems shocking. what will happen to the math specialist our pta funds?

Math in UnFocused said...

i just never thought I would consider private schools. I never did. Here I am , looking at the amount of time/ effort (and money to pta) that is takes to get poor quality education and I am feeling pretty hopeless. Anyone have good private school recommendations lol?? Half joking.

Thurgood Marshall parent said...

Following this discussion with interest. My oldest child is in K at Thurgood Marshall so I am new to SPS. TM is using enVision via a waiver, which I believe expires this year. We have been supplementing with MIF at home.

I've got an email out to the principal to see if I can find out what they plan to do about renewing the waiver. I would prefer to see them move to MIF, and I'm hoping there may be a chance for parental input in the process. I was enthusiastic when the district adopted MIF and I'm disappointed to hear that it sounds like the rollout is being sabotaged.

dan dempsey said...

Arne Duncan and others call NAEP – “the Nation’s Report Card”

Should the SPS be presenting each student with the opportunity to maximize the learning of math or be attempting to maximize SBAC math scores?

Is the SPS trying to produce equal outcomes or teach each student well?

About the “must get ready for SBAC” justification from Heath and Box…..
Administrators look above to bigger administrators for direction and who bigger to look at than Obama/Duncan. The problem is for the inconsistent jumbled “scope and sequence” Heath and Box are creating and mandating, there is NO mathematical or rational justification.

The CCSS is not covering the same math material as might have been covered in the past. The argument for CCSS is that it covers it better. Apparently the better argument is not true. {NAEP still tests math as in the past and does not focus on the Common Core}

Overall the NAEP 2015 results are a train wreck. Both fourth- and eighth-grade students score lower in mathematics than in 2013

After years of steady NAEP Math improvement
… in 2015 at grade 4 => 3 states up and 16 down
… in 2015 at grade 8 => 0 states up and 22 down

Two of the really early adopting and implementing CCSS states were Kentucky and New York.

See NAEP 2015 results for KY and NY in comparison with 2013

4th grade Math down in NY
8th grade Math down in KY

Melinda Gates recently spoke on how Kentucky’s CCSS action has resulted in KY’s greatly increased graduation rates. Critics said it looked more like increased social promotion through graduation. …. 8th grade KY NAEP Math results were down by a significant 3 pts same as the nation. Are KY students headed to greater math competence through CCSS-M or just more likely to receive HS diplomas in the system?

As Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy …. Heath and Box got some splainin’ to do.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the Thurgood Marshall waiver doesn't expire this year, so TM will stay with Envision for the foreseeable future since the teachers also prefer this curriculum. This seems like a very good, stable thing given the MIF/district curriculum fiasco. My kids have been at TM for a few years using Envision and it has been a great curriculum in our experience. I'm happy the staff is sticking with it, and I think you'll find the majority of TM parents feel the same way.

Another TM parent

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to see an accounting of how many schools have waivers to use different curriculum (and which ones) other than MIF. Not saying schools should be able to get a waiver through some sort of transparent, open to all, system if a different curriculum truly meets their populations needs better, just wondering how many have this currently. Is the waiver system still the same as in the past? Who pays for the alternative curriculum - district vs PTA vs varies depending on circumstances?
Also is there any word from the math department about 6th grade math placement; what they intend to use to determine this for this year?

Questions

Anonymous said...

Another TM parent makes a fine point:

"This seems like a very good, stable thing given the MIF/district curriculum fiasco. My kids have been at TM for a few years using Envision and it has been a great curriculum in our experience. I'm happy the staff is sticking with it, and I think you'll find the majority of TM parents feel the same way."

The district math leadership is incapable of competent leadership. If a school can escape the fiasco, go for it.

At this time, Bottom-up certainly beats Top-down in TM's case.

It will be particularly sad ... if Heath and Box are allowed to continue the SBAC test prep emphasis. CCSS-M Geometry standards are a disaster.

Check out what the LWSD International School has for:

Honors Geometry
The geometry curriculum is easily divided into two parts, one part covered each semester. The focus first semester is on deductive reasoning, which is taught using the framework of geometric concepts, formal proofs and constructions. The specific concepts of a geometric proof (for example, that the two acute angles of a right triangle are complementary) will not necessarily arise again in a student’s later math career, but the process of writing a proof - finding all the information, definitions, earlier theorems and postulates and communicating them in a organized, logical order - is a skill that will be used frequently later in life, both scholastically and otherwise. Second semester covers more specific geometric concepts and content including the geometry of circles, area, volume and surface area, special right triangles, similar shapes, and trigonometry. During this course students will have the opportunity to complete the LWSD Quantitative and Scientific Reasoning graduation requirement, plus learn the content and skills needed to pass the EOC exam in Geometry.

... meanwhile look for Tolley, Heath and Box to focus on test prep covering the grossly inadequate Common Core Geometry Standards.

Here is the link to the LWSD International Community School's Curriculum Guide.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Given the NAEP results that have not improved or have worsened in recent years it seems obvious passing the CCSS exams like SBAC is not necessarily the same as achieving true competency in math ie being able to do well in a traditional examination of math skills - which are the same as they ever have been. Math has not changed, nor is it going to. What has been changing over past decades is how we teach it according to whatever the current educational fad is and what tests we use as a state to determine proficiency. That is where the problem lies.
SPS messing around with the scope and sequence in order to polish up the district SBAC results, if it even succeeds at doing that, will likely not result in any actual improvement in our students competence in math and may even make it worse in the long run. That they can circumvent the adopted curriculum in the pursuit of this dubious goal at the expense of our kids getting quality math instruction is appalling.
Has Cliff Mass or any of the "Where's the Math' team commented on this development and it's implications.
Looking to elect board members with real focus on the educational best interests of students not on appeasing the downtown players. But, will they even be able to turn this ship?

Where's the MIF


Lynn said...

Spectrum in elementary schools was originally a full-day self-contained program. Instruction at the appropriate pace and level for six hours or so a week is not equivalent. That's what people mean when they say Spectrum has been eliminated.

Lynn said...

searching,

Here's a link to the 2015 SBAC score percentiles: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/pubdocs/Frequencydistributions2015.xlsx

These are the scores that will be used for advanced learning qualification this fall.

Anonymous said...

To LFPMathguy - thanks for the link. What I'm trying to find is the percentile that goes with my children's scores. In other words, if my son's math score on SBAC was xxxx, what percentile does that equate to? With MAP, we always got a percentile, and that percentile was used for determining AL eligibility. Supposedly they are using SBAC percentiles for AL eligibility, but we don't know what those percentiles are! I couldn't find this information at your link, but maybe I just don't know how to manipulate the information? Thanks for any help.

--searching

Anonymous said...

All parents who are somehow supplementing their child's math instruction owe it to all the other kids in the district to opt out of the standardized testing. Go ahead and have your child take the reading portion if you really want to, but not the math. Including your child's math scores in the district's results would likely inflate the scores, and they would interpret this as evidence that their untested, pieced-together, SBAC-driven "curriculum" is working--even when any successes would likely be due to an increased level of supplementation brought on by the district's apparent inability to implement proven curricula with fidelity.

Additionally, parents should opt their kids out of the district's testing if their teacher is using anything other than what the district thinks the school is using. The district says "use the new scope and sequence, and here are some worksheets." If teachers are having kids sign up for Khan Academy, or if teachers are using MIF despite the district's edict, opt out--otherwise the district will incorrectly attribute your child's MIF- or Khan-based scores to their new scope and sequence. Those at schools with waivers should be fine testing if they like, since the district should (in theory) know to exclude those scores when evaluating the new approach.

HF

Anonymous said...

Envision probably is a great program if your child doesn't have ADHD or dyslexia and isn't an English Language Learner. For the rest of us, it is worthless.

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

Switching to a new curriculum, then switching again to a mashed up, unfinished scope and sequence is about the most disruptive thing you can be doing. Even worse, if a school was to decide, "enough with this bleeping scope and sequence, we're going back to MIF, the district adopted materials (!)" wouldn't it be difficult to complete a the year's curriculum at this point?

-grrr

Anonymous said...

Melissa - I'd really appreciate you advice about who to contact and what concerned parents should do next about this issue.
The district is wrong on this as it is wrong with so many things, but of all things for parents to push back against, this is a really important one, more important than the firing of a single principal, and probably more than the staff cuts/reassignments as it affects the math education of students in all schools and all grade levels.
After all the years of dissatisfaction with everyday math and ensuing uproar surroinding the math in focus adoption, I can't believe we can just let it go out with a whimper like this.
But unfortunately that seems to be the case with every protest parents make - we let off steam, nothing changes and we all go back to business as usual. Reference - did the district ever really respond about the staff cuts or back down?
How can we for once actually force the district to change course. Would the media report it in terms of the wasted money spent adopting math in focus only to toss it aside after one year. Not example of good or wise stewardship of taxpayer money.

battle weary

Anonymous said...

Battle Weary wrote:

"How can we for once actually force the district to change course."

Only way I know is to elect directors that will direct the district.

I suggest Burke, Geary, Harris, Pinkham

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I want to know if our school can sell the Math in Focus workbooks on eBay and add the proceeds to our discretionary funds.

Also - any tips on where I can find Saxon math textbooks?

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

West Seattle -- I'm sorry to hear that Envision is worthless for your family. I know that TM has many kids that are english language learners and many kids diagnosed with ADHD. My understanding is that Envision has been successful in these populations, if test scores are to be believed, but not sure if teachers are doing something differently. You might want to see if there can be an exchange between your school's teachers and TM's to see if there are some best practices that have been learned by the TM teachers over the last few years.
Another TM parent

Chris S. said...

Suddenly throwing the test seems more appropriate than opting out. Too bad it's so hard to explain that to little kids. Of course, we may be the same result naturally if all the supplementers opt out...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Another TM Parent re: Envision.

We are at another school that has a waiver to use Envision (predating the switch to MIF, I believe, but still in force). I followed the curriculum selection process a couple years ago, and wrote to the board expressing my support for MIF at the time. So when our daughter started last year, I was concerned to hear that the school was on Envision, but I had heard great things about the school from our neighbors so I decided to give it a chance.

Now that I've been exposed to Envision for a little over a year through my daughter, I'm happy to say that it seems to be working great. It's a bit different than the way I remember learning math when I was a kid, but it seems effective, and my daughter enjoys the math she's learning. And we've had curriculum stability at the school, which is good for teachers and students.

Elementary Dad

Anonymous said...

--grrr wrote:

"wouldn't it be difficult to complete a the year's curriculum at this point? "

The bigger question is whatever happened to a focus on learning mathematics.

An emphasis on SBAC test preparation and the CCSS-M motivated the casting aside of a coherent presentation of topics through the use of MiF materials. Is this the five-year plan?

The fact that this was done in secret and the "Elementary Math Scope and Sequence" of Heath and Box design has not been publicly released, shows how far off the rails this crew has gone. Transparency = NONE. --- Mr. Tolley how about a statement.

Realize this... Doing MiF takes effort and time on the part of teachers new to the program and especially so to those at the higher grades. Instead of supporting teachers and providing support for the MiF adopted texts the admin bailed.

The admin tried a public confrontation over MiF shortly after adoption, which did not work. This time the revolt has been concealed from public view.

Apparently the Central Staff does not have the interest or ability to implement a program, which requires them to pay attention to detail in the delivery of support to teachers. It is just easier to focus on teaching to the SBAC test than training, supporting and assisting teachers in delivering MiF. Providing students with the opportunity to maximize their learning not important -- test prep really important.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Another TM parent,

TM had only 13 students with 504 plans and 47 who qualified for transitional bilingual services last year. (Too few in each tested grade for their scores to be reported.) I don't think it's possible to know how well Envision is working for these students.

West Seattle

Anonymous said...

When TM was deciding whether to seek a waiver for envision or switch to MIF, the principal and staff noted the success the English Language Learners had had with Envision. I trust the teachers know how well it's working for their individual students. I'm sure it's not the best curriculum for every student, but no curriculum can meet that expectation. Regardless, I hope you find something that works for your family.
Another TM parent

Math in UnFocused said...

http://kuow.org/post/surprise-move-seattle-schools-approve-singapore-math

Interesting old article talking about how MIF was adopted included the proposed cost vs the program that the committee had recommended. Clearly they knew it was not aligned with common core when it was adopted. Article talks about the board members who wanted to go with it despite committee recomendation and why etc.

Anonymous said...

Math in UnFocused wrote:

"Clearly they knew it was not aligned with common core when it was adopted."

Looking at 2015 NAEP Math results not being in Common Core alignment may be a plus.

From 2013 to 2015 WA 8th graders dropped 5 points in Math.

Perhaps great alignment with CCSS-M is not a great idea.

Check NY Times and USA Today.

-- Dan Dempsey

Math in UnFocused said...

Absolutely true. I am only saying this could have been predicted. Wish we could just stick with MIF without regard to common core concerns.

Math in UnFocused said...

This this this!

Anonymous said...

Trust your teacher,

A strong teacher knows what it takes to move each child. The textbook is not nearly as important as the person in front of the room. Do you want to support math instruction for all the students in your child's elementary classroom? Offer to volunteer during math time. If the classroom teacher has another person in the room during the math time, she can then do small group instruction while you help the other students who are stuck on a problem.

Let's all calm down. Most of you successful math people did just fine without Envision, EDM, or MIF. You succeeded because of the teachers.

Volunteer

Anonymous said...

As a new district employee, I have access to all of the Scope and Sequence documents that have been put out to district teachers. Full year at a glance documents were available before the start of school. Unit plans are being posted as they are developed. I do not know why it is not public. I do not know why the order has been re-arranged. I do think it is important, however, to clarify that every developed portion of the scope and sequence refers to sections of the MIF curriculum as the backbone of the instruction (explicit textbook pages and workbook pages are listed for each teaching point). The MIF online access is referred to often and directions on how to allow parent access are supplied to the teachers. I have not tried parent access, so I can't verify if it works this year. Supplemental materials listed include links to Engage NY materials, links to sample Number Talks, relevant online videos, and things like lists of books for literary connections or math performance tasks developed elsewhere. Engage NY is the most commonly referenced source other than MIF, but it is secondary both in quantity of citations (and in location within the documents)as a source of instructional materials. Concrete experiences with manipulatives and symbolic representations such as bar models are part of the unit plans. I've looked through K through 5 Unit Plans and have seen nothing that suggests a worksheet focus, use of worksheets from other curriculum, or use of Khan Academy. The Unit Plan documents clearly tell the teacher what materials to utilize and what activities should be taking place--and those activities are linked to MIF. I am new enough that I don't understand the need to change from simply MIF with fidelty, but I think it is important for families to question why random worksheets appear to be the focus for their child's math education. This type of experience is not a directive coming from or "allowed" by the district's scope and sequence documents.

Why Worksheets?

Anonymous said...

there is so much which elementary teachers do which I would never dare question. sadly, too many of them are too far out of touch with the REAL world where you're road kill without math fact fluency. In the privileged worlds of the leafy neighborhoods - those 30,000,000 or so of households with over $100,000 a year in money income - any kind of skill deficit for our brutal economy means just another trip to "What Color Is Your Parachute" and a new graduate degree.

If you're in those almost 60,000,000 households with money income under 50k, or those 80 million under 75k a year - life is NOT another edition of "What Color Is My Parachute!".

A lot of the clueless fought the school board on MIF, and the school board was doing the right thing for real kids heading towards reality, not for kids playing pretend in their silly groups.

And now the utterly clueless math-u-crats of downtown are doing more damage to the future of a bunch of our kids than the Walmarts could

DeliberatelyDo

Linh-Co said...

Leave nothing to chance. Your first graders should have their single digit addition from 0+0 to 9+9 memorized. By second grade they should know corresponding subtraction facts to sums of 18. By the end of third grade, students should memorize multiplication facts to 10x10. By then end of 4th grade, students should know all the corresponding division facts to products of 100. They should be able to divide efficiently any number by a single digit divisor and multiply multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithms. They should know equivalent fractions, and go from mixed numbers to improper fractions. By the end of 4th grade, students should know how to add and subtract with fractions with like denominators and be able to add/ subtract "friendly" fractions like 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, 1/5, 1/6, 1/10 with unlike denominators. Fifth graders should be able to add/subtract any fractions and mixed numbers, multiply fractions, convert fractions to decimals, percent and vice versa. They should be able to divide fluently with 2 digit divisors.

There are other strands like geometry, measurement,algebra, etc. that I haven't touched. The previous paragraph is the short list for basic arithmetic foundation for first through fifth.

If your teachers tell you they are teaching higher order thinking and your students can't do these skills with standard algorithms, and by that I don't mean partial product, lattice method, big seven division, and partial quotient, then your kids are behind.

Saxon and Jump Math are solid curriculum that teach solid foundation without all the fluff. You can get cheap used Saxon Math on Amazon for $10. It teaches all the properties of mathematics like commutative, associative, distributive, identity property of multiplication, zero property etc. Your kids will not only be fluent with standard algorithms but have a thorough understanding of the properties of mathematics. I have an end of course placement test for 3rd through algebra. They are 50 multiple questions and for each grade level. From there, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of your child's skills. If you're interested let me know. These are basic skills tests. Parents are often shocked when they see the results.

It is not rocket science. Unfortunately, the math department can't figure it out. It would be nice if we could get people with math degrees running the math department downtown.

Lynn said...

Linh-Co,

That is really helpful - thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

@Why Worksheets. I am an elementary school teacher.It is true that MIF is now referenced on the Scope and Sequence document. The math dept put MIF references on the Scope and Sequence document after I wrote to the Board and complained about how the district had dropping MIF in favor of the Scope and Sequence. Referencing MIF chapters on the Scope and Sequence is just CYA.

The whole MIF pedagogy is destroyed by bouncing around from one chapter to another.That does not make for good math instruction.

I totally understand why parents are getting random worksheets. As teachers we were told clearly in training that we are to teach the Scope and Sequence. We are at liberty to teach the Scope and Sequence however we want, as long as we are teaching it.

The district created some units that reference MIF, engageNY, and other curriculums as reference tools. Using the units is optional, using the Scope and Sequence is not. MIF is definitely NOT the backbone of the units at my grade level or many other grade levels. It is just one of many resources. The units at my grade level are awful. Thank goodness the units are optional.

It is really frustrating to me as a teacher that I am not allowed to use the adopted math curriculum in the way it was created. Is it a perfect curriculum; not at all. However, it is a curriculum. It was developed by professionals who write curriculums, not by random classroom teachers or math coaches.

There is all this talk about equity. How do you think this is going to work out for kids whose parents can't teach them math or pay for tutors?
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

Volunteer,
One of the reasons that successful math people did well in math is because their teacher was teaching from a curriculum. The teacher wasn't making it up as they go. I totally support teachers supplementing and tweaking curriculums to meet the needs of their students, but it makes a difference having a curriculum.

I do love your idea of having parents volunteer during math time. Some years I've used parents like that and it really facilitates working with small groups of kids.
Frustrated Math

Math in UnFocused said...

My child seems to be using MyMath exclusively.

Anonymous said...

@ math in unfocused
what school and grade

Math matters

Linh-Co said...

My Math was one of our least favorite from the given selection. It is a bloated and not rigorous. I know that Lincoln was using at as a pilot before the adoption.

Anonymous said...

This math scope and sequence is a big mess. The units reference Math in Focus to appease the board and to cover themselves when the public learns of it and raises a ruckus - so they can say it's still the curriculum. They are looking for teachers to write unit 4… right now. They are hoping to stay a unit ahead of where the teachers are. That should work out well. And, they change elements of the current unit AS YOU ARE TEACHING IT. They don't send out updates… they just stick them on the website. Somebody, or many, should be fired over this. It might be common core aligned but it's not rigorous enough for all students and MiF, flawed as it might be, should be taught in order with suggested supplements per chapter. It's a solid curriculum if left intact. And, yes, all schools and grade level teams, are all going rogue… as long as it fits the scope and sequence. How's that for equity?!

Mad about Math

Tresanos said...

@why worksheets and @trust teachers--

I am a teacher. The scope and sequence at my grade level is nonsensical and disjointed. I would like to simply teach the adopted curriculum, Math in Focus, rather the scope and sequence (Math in Chaos). If I want to supplement MIF in my room with a math game or two, great. But let's give MIF a chance-- let's not strip it of continuity and common sense by popping between chapteers. I would like to see the Board ask the Superintendent to reinstate MIF.

Anonymous said...

Coe. 3rd

dan dempsey said...

Correction from 6:01 PM

Looking at 2015 NAEP Math results not being in Common Core alignment may be a plus.

From 2013 to 2015 WA 8th graders dropped (not 5) 3 points in Math.

The 5 point drop was in 8th grade Reading.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I don't teach elementary, so I am only commenting on what I see when I look at the scope and sequence documents. I am missing something big here. As an outside person glancing at them, they don't seem unreasonable. I honestly have never seen anything as detailed or as structured for secondary. I am not sure what elementary teachers are used to accessing for guidance. I don't get how a teacher goes from those documents to handing out random worksheets from different sources and assigning Khan Academy. If the scope and sequence is useless, why aren't people defaulting to MIF with fidelty? I am not clear on what is going on, but honestly I can't as easily connect the dots between the scope and sequence documents and utter random worksheet math. Isn't there some sort of oversight at the building level? Can an elementary teacher comment? Thanks.

Why Worksheets?

Anonymous said...

Volunteer wrote:

"Let's all calm down. Most of you successful math people did just fine without Envision, EDM, or MIF. You succeeded because of the teachers."

When I had a lousy teacher, I needed a decent book. In high school I had two years with a lousy teacher and a lousy book. That background made college math really difficult.

Let's not get too calm believing that the world is full of math teachers that can produce successful math students with inadequate math books.

I am still trying to figure out why the system keeps putting people like Ms. Box in her position over and over again. SPS math has had an ongoing mess since at least Math Program Manager Rosalind Wise in 2006.

While SPS math scores have been acceptable (unless a student is low income and can't get outside help). This system is grossly inadequate when it comes to selecting math managers.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Why Worksheets?
There are a few issues:
1. Scope and Sequence doesn't match the order of MIF. We were told we can't default to using MIF in the order it was written. We have to the use Scope and Sequence. That's my primary issue. I want to be able to use MIF as written.

2. In regards to just the Scope and Sequence. At some grade levels there are complaints about the sequence in which the districts wants teachers to teach the standards. At my grade level, the sequence is a little odd, but okay. However at other grade levels,teachers complain that the sequence makes no mathematical sense.

3.I'm wondering is you are looking at the units, not the scope and sequence. The district-developed units are more detailed. The units list a range of resources that folks can use to teach math, including MIF, engageNY, etc. The units require teachers to bounce around from resource to resource to teach math.

To top it off some of the MIF resources listed make no sense. They tell you to do certain pages, but not others. However the pages you are supposed to do reference activities on other pages that you aren't supposed to do. In other words, the pages are meant to be done together even though the units recommend skipping them. As Tresanos says it truly is Math In Chaos.

Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

Why Worksheets?
One last thing...the units are optional. Scope and Sequence is not optional. If one was to use the units, you would still have random worksheets; a few engageNy worksheets, a few MIF worksheets, etc.

Teachers were told that they can use whatever they want as long as they are teaching the Scope and Sequence. Many of the units are also poorly written and don't make sense. What else would you expect teachers to do? They aren't allowed to use the MIF scope and sequence so they are doing their best to come up with resources in which to teach math.

Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

Has anyone contacted the MIF publisher to see what they say about using MIF out of order? It could be valuable evidence in making the case to stop this nonsense.

Half Full

CautiouslyOptimistic said...

I spent yesterday looking at the documents and as a parent trying to support my kids at home, I think it's a good direction.

The Math in Focus curriculum, properly applied, does wonders for struggling students and is great for bilingual kids. But I have no faith that SPS can do this over the long term. Also, as I understand it, the publishing company botched the rollout last year by not providing free informational PowerPoints or youtube videos that explain TO PARENTS what the heck is the what with the bar models. The PowerPoint I watched when I went to a parent orientation was great. But I couldn't share it with anybody.

The Scope and Sequence documents appear to roughly match what a lot of school districts all over the country are doing. That's important for kids who move around.

They roughly match what's on Khan Academy, which any kid can pick up and learn from -- for free. And they roughly match the textbook I got when I walked into Math'N Stuff when I said, "I just want a textbook that matches what's expected in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade." (BTW, that textbook showed me that my kid had entirely missed learning about percentages and probabilities, which should have been learned.)

And they appear to roughly match the kind of mathematics that parents learned -- I'm hearing form parents that standard algorithms are being used.

Side note: I recommend the book _Winning the Math Wars: No Teacher Left Behind_ by Martin Abbot, Duane Baker, Karen Smith, & Tomas Trzyna.



Anonymous said...

@cautiously optimistic. Not sure how you determined what school districts around the country are doing or which ones you referenced_ but that does not reassure me at all give the poor results on the NAEP. Washington state is actually doing better than many states so unless the new math scope and sequence copies that of districts in the higher performing states it is not good news at all. Do you want to dumb our kids down so they will fit in better if they move to Louisiana?
The fact that you even had to visit MathnStuff to get a textbook for home use illustrates the problem. The schools should be teaching our kids math, providing the textbook or workbook in class and the corresponding home-study material. It should not be up to individual parents to do this even if they are able to, and many of them won't be able to - what about their kids? How successful in math are kids going to be if they don't have parents who buy supplementary textbooks and work through them with the kid or sign them up for Khan academy (what if they don't have access to a computer at home?) or read books about math for leisure?
How successful are the kids going to be who don't relish the prospect of sitting down with a parent in the evening to do math or spend an hour or 30 min on khan academy or completing a workbook (and fair enough when they already had their school math class and math homework). I know it would be a huge source of conflict in our house and I shouldn't have to do this.
The other problem is with the process. We had a math curriculum adoption process and now 1 year later this. Why didn't they develop a scope and sequence before the curriculum adoption if this is so important. Then alignment to the scope and sequence could have been one of the factors to evaluate the curriculum options on. And if fidelity to the district scope and sequence was viewed as the most important thing and the teaching materials secondary (and flexible as they are now) then why did they need to 'adopt a curriculum' at all - just provide the options as they do now and let schools and teachers use whatever they want. Might have saved a lot of money, and although it's pretty haphazard and potentially unequitable it is basically what they are introducing now, after we have already paid for a curriculum. That is the problem with the district - they do so many things ass-backwards.

Not my job

Anonymous said...

Parents should be able to trust that SPS is using the best math materials. Many parents, including us, were not versed in different curricula choices.

When our youngest son went to Ballard we were told by his teacher that better textbooks were out there. When I got involved with Where’s the Math? I realized how inadequate math was at SPS.

When can we support teachers with fundamentally sound textbooks and allow parents to stop obsessing with online materials or outside tutors?

SPS needs to get its act together and stop messing with math. Use MiF and improve middle and high school curricula.

The new board members should make this a priority.

S parent

CautiouslyOptimistic said...

@Not my job - Good point, I don't actually know what's "generally taught." As for the NAEP results, I'll just say "correlation is not causation." Lower scores could have to do with poverty levels, to an excess of high-stakes testing, to a decrease in money going to schools. What I want, really, is to know ahead of time what's going to be taught to my kids. This scope and sequence document is the first time I've ever seen that. It definitely should have been done before the elementary math adoption. But now the middle school adoption is apparently coming up and the scope and sequence could support that.

I've been watching this math drama for the last five years and remember the attempt to recall the school board because they adopted a math curriculum apparently after looking at it and saying, "sure, that looks fine." The judge wouldn't let the recall go to a vote, and it wasn't because the school board neglected their work but because in Washington State there has to be ill intent to file a recall.

This is a definite improvement over that.

CautiouslyOptimistic said...

Also, just for the sake of being specific, I've looked closely only at the 6th and 7th grade scope and sequence documents.

Anonymous said...

Cautiously optimistic, are you looking at the
actual unit materials, or just the scope and sequence? Sure, the S&S is nice to show which broad topics they are covering in which order, but it tells me nothing about how they are covering them, to what depth, etc.

And the grade I checked lists an MIF chapter for each unit, although out of order. If MIF addresses them all, why not proceed through the curriculum in the intended--and proven--order? In math, things build...

SPS is being very short-sighted. Give MIF a few years of PD-supported implementation, with fidelity, and we'll likely see big math gains. Tweaking things to get short-term gains instead will likely negatively impact long-term outcomes.

Half Full

Math in UnFocused said...

This is all so true and so frustrating. Now there are huge differences class to class grade to grade. Im glad I am here to help my child but I know so so many students are not getting home help. That's why as a community we should be outraged.

Wondering said...

"The new board members should make this a priority."

Where are the voices of existing directors?

Anonymous said...

Wondering, I suspect existing directors are getting inundated with emails about the popular principal dismissed from the Queen Anne elementary school. Math curricula is not on the front burner even though it is really important.

I recently asked a teacher friend of mine why SPS keeps shooting itself in the foot over these blunders. In her opinion they are clueless in the central office about how their decisions affect families. Michael Tolley is in his own bubble and Nyland seems not to care. So they get PR explosions and bad math.

S parent

Anonymous said...

My 1st grader at North Beach does seem to be using MIF in class and as homework.

NB Parent

Wondering said...

S Parent,

I hope you write to Peaslee and McLaren. Both ran on a platform to bring better math into SPS. I'm sure they are concerned...with or without the Queen Anne Elementary principal issue.

A new board will be installed and it is imprudent to wait.

Anonymous said...

According to Policy 2190 (Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials), “School Board-adopted Instructional Materials, regardless of medium, are the primary instructional resource(s) to support the curriculum as outlined in state and college readiness standards.”

Is Math in Focus the primary instructional resource to support the curriculum?

Also according to Policy 2190, “each adoption shall be accompanied by an appropriate professional development schedule. After the materials are implemented, it is expected that staff shall systematically collect and evaluate student performance data to determine if the outcomes sought by the adoption were successful, and report that information to the School Board.”

Was sufficient PD provided? Was there already an evaluation of student outcomes conducted, with results reported to the School Board?

According to the “Anti-Bias” component of Policy 2190, “the Adoption Committee shall use the Seattle Public Schools document “General Criteria for Evaluating Textual Materials for Cultural Relevancy and Anti-bias” as a guiding document, and shall identify which specific criteria outlined in that document shall be used for the specific adoption.”

Have the new Units developed for use with the new Scope and Sequence been reviewed for bias?

According to School Board Policy 2015 (Waiver of Basic Instructional Materials), “basic instructional materials are intended to be research and evidence based, and appropriate for all students.

Are the newly developed (and yet TBD) Units evidence-based? Is there evidence that the SPS-developed sequence of topics is effective, AND that covering Math in Focus chapters out of order produces good outcomes?

HF

Anonymous said...

@ HF: Since SPS is apparently requesting teacher volunteers to develop the very next unit to be taught, should our collective guess to all of your questions above be shorthanded to

'No' ?


Not OK

CautiouslyOptimistic said...

@Half Full - if I had actual unit materials, I would be looking at them. So no. Last year, there was a textbook, and I got to look at the unit materials, but I had no idea what the overall plan was. This year I do.

Anonymous said...

Wondering, I did write all the directors about the math. I even included some comments from this blog from frustrated parents and teachers.

Only Marty responded, probably since I helped her on her first campaign. I give her great credit for choosing MiF, but I do not think she believes the staff are undermining this decision now. She thinks it is only a few teachers and principals who did not like the curriculum. She said she is looking into it.

Unfortunately, now we have something entirely different that is happening. It is my understanding that Michael Tolley told all teachers to use Scope and Sequence.

Rick Burke and the new directors who want stronger math will have to fight the central staff for it.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Anna Box needs to leave the Seattle Public Schools if our children are going to do well in math. She doesn't actually understand any of the math curricula (I know this from communicating directly with her). She's frantically wringing her hands over "common core alignment" without really understanding what that is. She's in way over her head and guess who suffers - our kids. And she's supported in everything she says and does by Michael Tolley.

The board needs to take action and restore order. It is time for Heath, Box and Tolley to go. It doesn't matter how many talented dedicated committees of parents and teachers are formed and consulted regarding SPS curricula. These people will destroy their hard work. Great education for Seattle's children starts by removing these three from the district. They have no idea what they are doing. They have no idea what goes on in the classroom. They don't understand standards and curricula even though they wave them around like talismen. Positive change for the district begins by getting rid of these three. I'm just so sick of their mismanagement. It truly hurts kids.

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

So here's one thing that's curious to me: the Advanced Learning office said it has no authority to require teachers to teach a particular curriculum. The person in charge of LA at the district said they can't require teachers to teach any particular texts, novels, etc. Our principal said she couldn't require teachers to teach anything specific either. People have been told time and time again that administration provides guidelines, but they can't require anything specific. So why is the new math scope and sequence suddenly the law of the land, rather than just guidelines?

Half Full

mother goose said...

My fourth and fifth graders are both doing MIF again this year. The worksheets coming home are mostly MIF and they say the textbooks are the same brand as last year. It's an odd sensation to be afraid to say which school they attend, for fear that these teachers will get in trouble for actually teaching the approved text.

Anyhow. It's the end of October and both kids are REALLY mad that what they've been doing in math so far this year is entirely material that was covered last year, and as far as they can tell there's nothing nothing new on the horizon. They're wanting to be challenged, but it's just not happening in either of their math classes.

I really liked MIF last year, but now I'm wondering: Is there tremendous redundancy in the MIF curriculum from year to year? Is this a fluke? What's going on?


Anonymous said...

...and at another school some students are getting no math homework, but being told to do Khan Academy 20 minutes a night.

weird

Linh-Co said...

The first units of every textbooks 3rd through 5th involve place value, reading, writing large numbers, rounding numbers. It's not specific to MIF. It does seem like overkill but you would be surprised how many kids are unable to do this. Most students are able to write one million, four hundred thirty-two thousand, five hundred forty six correctly. However, many students have a hard time with 4 million, five thousand, ten because they don't know where to place the zeros.

Try this with your 3rd,4th,and 5th graders. You'll know right away if your child knows his/her place value.

Anonymous said...

The first units of every textbooks 3rd through 5th involve place value, reading, writing large numbers, rounding numbers.

I agree remedial coverage of topics in all areas of school is a fact of life and a necessity, not for all students but for the majority of students after a summer learning gap. But my elementary student hasn't received a single one of the items Linh-Co says in the first unit of every textbook. My student is a recipient of the worksheet packet and no adherence to any particular curriculum as far as I can tell. We are making do, but it isn't pretty as I don't get where the class is headed and how it will get there. We've moved to a lot of supplementation at home and math is not my strong suit.

SavvyVoter

Math's Tricksy said...

My son and I met with his 7th grade teacher today to get some perspective on what's going on and where things are headed. I also asked her opinion of the curriculum, as a long-time math teacher, and she said she felt that the worksheet packet solution was working for her.

@Weird - My elem school is one where my child is being asked to do Khan Academy for homework and this is the first time ever that math homework is not reducing my child to tears. I don't have to say, "Go do your math homework" -- I have to tell her, "You need to stop your homework after 20 minutes." She also doesn't have to endlessly repeat math she already knows. YMMV, of course. I'm not letting my son do Khan Academy just yet (and his school is sending home worksheets).

@SavvyVoter - you can look at the Scope and Sequence documents to get an idea of where the class is *supposed* to be headed and what is supposed to be taught this year and next. Also I'd suggest asking the teacher what the general idea is.

Anonymous said...

If teachers want to supplement with worksheets that is their choice. If a school wants to apply for a math curriculum waiver that is the choice of individual schools.

But it looks like a free for all system right now where anyone can do anything. The MiF elementary math curricula that was vetted and voted on by the Board does not look like the current math foundation. It is a hodgepodge, thanks to Heath, Box and Tolley. No discussion with anyone or data to back up their decisions.

Not good enough for the students.

S parent

Maureen said...

Re Math's Tricksy: 7th grade wouldn't be doing MIF. They may be better off with random worksheets and Khan than they would be with CMP (or maybe even the Discovering books.)

Linh-Co said...

Right on Maureen. Anything and everything is better than CMP2.

Wondering said...

S. Parent needs to testify at a board meeting. This information should be brought into public light!

Anonymous said...

Oh Wondering, I have testified several times with Dan Dempsey before past Boards. I even went to Olympia to testify about math to Terry Bergeson, who really pushed bad curricula. Now we have Bill Gates, who is much more powerful.

My kids are out of college now but I still write letters to the Board. I volunteered to help Marty with her PR efforts and she did bring us a good elementary textbook, MiF. Of course the staff members are dismantling it now.

Parents now are much smarter about math, thanks in part to this forum. But I agree with one person on this thread who said that Box, Tolley and Heath need to go or get overruled. Rick Burke might be the guy to do it since he really understands math. Let’s hope the pixie dust doesn’t get in his eyes so that he falls in love with staff. It seems to happen once they are elected.

S parent

Linh-Co said...

Don't worry about the pixie dust.

Anonymous said...

Some quickies: I use worksheets made by me because MIF doesn't give good homework - it asks students to "show their work" but few do and parents aren't monitoring to see that they do know how to think. One of my parents from last year emailed a big thank you because his daughter hates math this year because no one is challenging her thinking.

I sent MIF homework recently without teacher explanation that should have spoken for itself but parents were reteaching incorrectly the learning. Apparently a lot of my parents don't understand front-end estimation. I hadn't heard of it but it is meant for a quicker estimation when you have lots and lots of data to estimate. So, parents retaught it rounding up and down hundreds. MIF teaches no rounding but simply taking the left-most value. So I googled "front-end estimation" and honestly, the answers are all over the place. But MIF teaches no rounding. I'm sure my kids are really confused now. I don't understand why parents who were given the website address and can access the student book don't do it.

As for the scope and sequence - I don't like it mostly because it means a minimum hour of prep every night to cover all the reference pages required. I do teach other subjects you know. Esp. science - a true time killer given the prep required. But I was told it was mainly because there is too much to teach and I think that might be true at my grade level - third. Also, I tried to access those linked websites and few of them worked!

Yes, you must help teach your children. not my job - as a parent all of it is your job. I have several friends with children in Spectrum and APP and they teach their kids. I know not every family has time but your kids are not luxuries - find the time to at least go over the math with them. I know of no teacher who gives out so much homework that you can't do that.

Children need to understand place value. Memory works for most kids but not all. And even those with good memories need understanding. I returned to bonding to show two-and-three digit addition because kids understood it and most preferred to show the bonds - it is a visual representation and supports mental math. In the future given Linh-Co's advice, I will have them do it both ways for every problem because it is practice, practice and more practice in math.

Math in Focus uses story problems. I don't get the negatives about story problems. They are there and they are important.

Math in Focus is good math. But it has holes and gaps in understanding. It just does. Parents you see it with an awful lot of math experience behind you that your kids do not have. The student book is too full of verbiage while the practice pages don't give enough help and clarity. I try to supply the missing step. Sometimes the student book is more detrimental than helpful.

But parents, you should check out the student book online before you change a teacher's teaching. Also, the book helps us adults! Thank you.

Also, You will get the resources page under Online Student Resources for Academic Support and you will see the MIF logo for elementary. Then you need your student number I believe.

Liking MIF...

Anonymous said...

I'd love to help go through math in focus with my student who is exclusively using MyMath. I had bought the MIF Book to use with her at home but it's not being used. At all.
-Oh well.

Anonymous said...

My Math is dreadful as was Go Math in my opinion. Actually, I liked the old smaller singapore math books from seven-or-eight years ago. Only Americans are in love with million-dollar textbooks.

Liking MIF

Anonymous said...

How are they getting the MyMath text/workbooks if the district didn't buy them. She comes home with actual workbook pages not copies.

MIF teaches front end estimation as well as rounding in the third grade book and differentiates them but does not do a good job of illustrating to student cases of then they would choose which method.
-oh well

Anonymous said...

Publishers sent packs of each grade level to schools before the decision was made to purchase MIF. We got both go math and my math. Our secretary told us we had to return my math but the go math was never retrieved. Go figure . . . By the time she asked for the my math return, I doubt she got them all. Also, I did purchase some of both go math and my math through amazon and they were fairly new books and not that expensive. I wanted to see them for myself.

Not hard to get math books. Lots of them out there and publishers love to get them into schools.

liking mif

Linh-Co said...

A good resource for high 5th graders and middle school students is kutasoftware. It starts at pre-algebra and goes through calculus. A lot of middle school and high school teachers use it. I love it. Their slogan is "No fluff, No jargon, Just Math". The free worksheets are wonderful for teaching skills.

I would love to pitch this to the math department and buy the subscription for all middle school math and high school math teachers. A lot of them are buying it themselves at $200+ a pop.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of things one can blame the district for doing wrong and this thread is a clear example of how poorly the district communicates about the great work that has been and is being done. Let's get some things clear:
1) The math CCSS dictate what kids need to know by the end of each school year from grades K-12. The standards are much deeper than previous state standards and truly reflect coherence and rigor.
2) Math in Focus, EnVision, MyMath...any curriculum is a tool that is used by teachers to teach to the standards. Curriculum doesn't teach children, teachers teach children. These tools come in varying degrees of quality. Math in Focus is based on the Singapore math method which has been around for a long time and is evidence based and mathematically sound. That is more than one can say for other curriculums. Curriculum should always be thought of as a product put out by publishing companies that want to make money.
3) A scope and sequence is the method educators use to determine how they will use the product in hand to teach to the standards. In our case at SPS the district adopted curriculum is Math in Focus and our standards are CCSS.

I hope that clarifies things for some of you. That being said, writing a scope and sequence that brings in other resources in no way undermines the quality of MiF. It simply says there are gaps between the product and the standards. In addition, a scope and sequence takes into account the fact that at each grade level there are big ideas that kids absolutely need to know in order to be successful. For example, in 4th grade kiddos absolutely need to understand the concept of equivalent fractions and be able to operate with them. The SPS scope and sequence rearranged the MiF chapters so that children have more opportunities to be successful with those big ideas. There is a lot more to a scope and sequence and if you aren't an educator, maybe read up on what scope and sequence actually means. SPS also cut out some of the material that is not aligned to CCSS. This is especially good for teachers of kids that are struggling and need as much time as possible to master the essential standards. The last thing I will say about it is that every state and or district produces a scope and sequence for themselves, regardless of the text they are using.

Rick Burke cannot "fix" this "mess". None of the school board can. What a crazy idea! And yes, I'm voting for Rick.

If you haven't worked at the JSCEE and haven't worked alongside the dedicated people working in Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. Instead of ranting about how terrible people and their ideas are, educate yourself on some of the issues you think you understand. From reading this thread its clear that most of you don't.

And if your child is coming home with a bunch of My Math, the teacher is ignoring the scope and sequence AND the district adopted curriculum.

Fulana

Anonymous said...

So far
The MyMath text book seems to be teaching the scope and sequence topics so he doesn't seems to be ignoring the districts scope and sequence. Is using that text book really of great concern given curriculum doesn't teach students , teachers do? I like that my child is at least using a consistent curriculum instead his random patched together worksheets like others. I was under the impression that MIF is not intended to be used out of sequence. Thanks for your input.
_oh well

Anonymous said...

My comment is if Fulana is actually using it all she would know the online hot links don't work. makes me wonder . . .

Liking MIF

Anonymous said...

True. And it is clear students are not getting a consistent curriculum across different schools. I would love to just "trust the teachers" and for
The most part I do... But we all know there are bad elementary math teachers in this district. I don't doubt that most people (teachers, "downtown" , board members) feel they are doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Fulana,
The district scope and sequence undermines the MIF curriculum. The district scope and sequence asks teachers to bounce around from chapter to chapter and heavily relies on non-MIF supplementation materials. You are right that most school districts have a scope and sequence, but rarely do they have a scope and sequence that undermines their adopted curriculum.

At my grade-level, the district scope and sequence recommended MIF chapters include non-aligned CCSS material. We chose as a grade-level not to do those chapters last year. Now we find these chapters on the scope and sequence. The folks downtown may be dedicated, but they have made a MESS of math.

I think a lot more people understand the issues than you think. They just don't agree with you.
Frustrated Math

Math in UnFocused said...

Wish there was a "like" button here 😀