Math: Where Does This End?
"He and his colleagues have noticed a rising number of students in their freshman classes who are unable to solve math problems at even a middle school level, indicating there are serious problems with how the subject is taught in the state, he said.
Physics Department Chairman David Boulware said he co-signed the letter because he's appalled that students don't have a better grasp on math by the time they get to college.
"They're confounded by simple algebra," he said.
The letter is being distributed to state legislators, who last year directed the state superintendent of public instruction to review and revise the state's math standards."But.
"But Brian Jeffries, the graduation policy director for the state superintendent, said that's not really the case. The UW is required to report to the state the number of students who take remedial classes, and figures from 2005-06, the most recent data available, show only about 2 percent of the Washington public high school students who enter the university end up taking remedial math courses, he said."
In the Sound off remarks after the article, this was questioned:
"The 2% number as reported in the story is incorrect. According to The Graduate Follow-Up Study conducted for OSPI, the 4 year college number for the class of 2004 is 9% and 2005 is 10%. More alarming, roughly 50% of students entering the community colleges in WA State need remedial math.
"None of the instructors from the UW's College of Education, which trains future teachers, signed the letter."
The second article, More Time Given to Math Debate, was in today's PI.
"State lawmakers say they plan to wait until the end of the session to approve or reject new math standards, giving everyone involved in Washington's math debate a few weeks to catch their breath."
"Education officials presented their third draft of the new math standards to lawmakers on Friday. Quall, a Mount Vernon Democrat, said they would act by their March 13 adjournment deadline.
They might need that long because they are waiting for another review by an independent consultant, Linda Plattner of the Maryland-based firm Strategic Teaching. The firm was hired by the state to assess its math expectations, and Plattner said she expects to turn in her next report by March 10.
"We're going to rely heavily on Linda Plattner," Quall said. "Because of her recommendations, they did a third draft."Also,
"The next deadline is June, when state officials are supposed to recommend a menu of three or four math programs for elementary, middle and high schools. Revision of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, to conform with the new math standards, is next on the agenda."
But what did Ms. Plattner say about these math standards?
"In a Feb. 5 review of the second draft, Plattner wrote that new standards for kindergarten through eighth grade were much improved, but she found serious problems with the high school standards.
The document was not organized in a way that would be helpful to teachers, parents and students, Plattner wrote, and the standards did not illustrate what students should learn in each high school math course, such as algebra and geometry. They also did not identify what a student needed to learn to be ready for college math.
The third draft appeared to fix those shortcomings. It has a new section outlining what standards fit into each of the most common high school math classes, and states what a student needs to be ready to take calculus in college."It takes a third draft to (1) show parents what students need to be learning and (2) be ready for college math? OSPI needs to get its act together.