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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Elementary Math Curriculum

At the prompting of a blog reader, I contacted Carla Santorno and asked her a few questions about the elementary math curriculum decision. Here's her response:

"I will be recommending Everyday Mathematics along with Singapore as a supplement to the Student Learning Committee this afternoon. It will be introduced on May 16th with a final vote scheduled for a special Board meeting on May 30. Beth, these are excellent materials with a balance of concept building mathematics along with computation practice. The Singapore supplement will also provide a foundation for fluency. (basic facts and algorithms)"
If you are interested in this discussion and able to attend the Student Learning Committee meeting this afternoon (4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Stanford Center), please post comments on this thread about what you hear and learn.

And if you want to know more about Everyday Mathematics, take a look at these links:

- Everyday Mathematics Center (Univ. of Chicago School Mathematics Project)

- What Works Clearinghouse (US Dept. of Education)

- Arc Center Curriculum Studies (Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications)

12 comments:

Michael Rice said...

Hello

I find the comments of Ms. Santorno very interesting. The reason I feel this way is because of what I just in the SEA Newsletter that I just received. Here is what the newsletter said: "Carla Santorno will be presenting the choices to the School Board at its May 8th meeting to be voted at a special School Board Meeting on May 16th. The reviews and critiques of the two programs that were sent to elementary schools were tallied. There is a dead heat between Turk Investigations and Everyday Math. Carla said at the Joint Professional Development Steering Committee that regardless of which program is chosen, it will be supported with all the tools and supplemental materials."

This is not the same as of what Ms. Bakeman posted what Ms. Santorno told her. I will leave it to the elementary teachers, but I am under the impression that Everyday Math and Investigations are classic "Fuzzy" math curricula. For the sake of all of my future high school students, I hope all that all this is is that the SEA Newsletter has old information and not Ms. Santorno telling one thing to one group and and another thing to another group.

Is it possible to get some clarification to all of this? I really would like to know what math the elementary school students are going to be taught. What they learn in elementary lays the foundation to do the higher level math I have to teach in high school. My feelings about 'Fuzzy" math are well known, I hope the district will not make the mistake of continuing to teach it to the young students of this district.

Anonymous said...

Everyday Math is a great middle of the road choice between the more constructivist Investigations and "traditional" programs. That it is being supplemented by Singapore Math is a brilliant move in my opinion. This is a really impressive outcome- the more so for a large district.

Anonymous said...

Michael,
I have been involved with improving math in the Mt. Baker district. As a member of the math study team, we looked at schools who improved performance on the math portion of the WASL and sustained the gains over time.

We discovered that the elementary schools who performed best were all using Terc, or investigations along with quality staff development. We also found that no curriculum matches the state standards at 4th grade. We found that the real key to student performance is teacher training.

With any program, students can succeed of fail. It is not the program, it is the quality of the teacher asking questions during the math instruction and practice. The big question for the student during instruction is, "What is your brain doing when you are finding the correct answer to this question?"

Anonymous said...

As to Everyday Math's success stories, you might want to take a look at this:
Glendale Unified School District http://www.wrightgroup.com/download/em/Glendale_CA.pdf and then make sure you carefully review the latest results before the California Board of Education after a decade of implementation of Everyday Math. http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr07/documents/mar07w10.doc GUSD has only been approved use of EM with supplementation over the past years and in March 2007 received their final approval. By Spring 2009 they will have to drop the program completely because "all twenty schools experienced declines from 2005 to 2006 in one or more grade levels of the percentage of students that scored at “Basic” or higher on the Mathematics CST. Four schools had drops of at least 10 percentage points scoring at “Basic” or higher in at least one grade level." Not quite a "Success Story".

Anonymous said...

I did look at the results of Glendale Unified SD in CA. I do not see the declines in scores. In fact, In the vast majority they were higher. I looked at the CA Standards test results, API and DARC. For anyone that would like to look go to
http://www.glendale.k12.ca.us/Internal/statistics.htm For clarification, the CA state adoption process for math has just started. No one can predict the programs that will be listed. That will determine what districts will be allowed to purchase with state money. Is anyone as weary as I am of the inaccurate information that is constantly being passed around? By the way Michael Turk is a group of people, TERC is the project that became Investigations. Frankly, most individuals that are expressing concerns about any of the programs being considered have had little or no exposure. All information being passed around has been generalizations. As a math teacher I would think you would like to know accurate, well supported details.

Anonymous said...

There is much misinformation regarding the subject. But it is important to look beyond the scores you quoted. GUSD has been petioning for a waiver to continue using EDM for at least the past five years during which time requirements for supplementation with other material (NOT EDM) and additional teacher training would have to be met in order for them to be allowed to continue using the program. It would certainly not be accurate or well supported to claim that any increases in scores were because of EDM. In fact, it is more clearly the case that any improvements would be in spite of it. Here is an earlier waiver petition to the California Board of Education for your own review and consideration: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr05/documents/nov05w2.doc

Anonymous said...

To further clarify Weary's point, it is true, no one can predict the programs that will be approved by the CA BOE. At least not until January 2008 when the final printed resrouces will be submitted. See Schedule of Significant Events http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/im/mathfnltimeline.asp
We do know, however, which mathematics publishers are state board adopted from 2001-2007 and Everyday Mathematics is NOT on the list. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/math2001pub.asp

While we cannot predict the programs that will be listed in January 2008, it is not likely that EDM will be one of them unless the 2007 third edition has been radically rehauled to meet California's rigorous and more internationally competitive mathematics standards.

I am weary of inaccurate information too. I think most of us are educated enough to do our homework, avoid the hype, and check credible resources of information treating them not as isolated documents but as parts of the whole puzzle. Parents have traded in their pitchforks for knowledge. You know what they say about that...knowledge is power.

Anonymous said...

My son has learned a ton with TERC math. In fact, it is the only "investigations" type learning strategy that has ever worked for him in any subject. And he is incredibly fluent with all math facts at his level and several years above. This was completely unexpected for me.

The real problem he is having now is with the "explain" your work assessments. While TERC (and investigations) have worked well for actually teaching him mathematics and problem solving, it hasn't done anything for his communication skills or his mathematical communication, which is, unfortunately, all anybody cares about now.

If we're going to put such an emphasis on mathematical communication, then we need to have curriculums which directly address this skill.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see, what they ought to be teaching is technical writing. It would be useful in both the testing world *and* in the real world. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, the students not only have little instruction in technical writing, the models in front of them are frequently bad. You couldn't *get* worse technical writing than in some of the textbooks I've seen ... and as for the WASL itself -- *groan*.

Helen Schinske

Jet City mom said...

Re "new new math".
How many parents can afford to pay for tutors to teach math to their kids?

http://arborheights.wikispaces.com/
message/view/home/285387

Anonymous said...

North Beach doesn't just use Saxon -- last I heard, they also use cross-grade groupings to teach kids at their own levels. I suspect that practice may have had some effect as well.

Helen Schinske

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