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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Salmon Bay Math

As requested by Abby G:

"I have concerns about what’s going on at Salmon Bay. The 8th grade is using the 9th grade math curriculum, with the thought that, the kids who don’t do well will just get to do it again the next year and the other kids will have a head start for high school. This sounds like tracking and a VERY bad idea. The struggling kids will waste a year and be set up for failure. I can’t find any research that supports that idea, can you?

Having kids doing higher level math is not the problem. The problem is that the math instruction in not being differentiated to meet the needs of all kids. The 8th grade this year was doing CPM in 7th grade (on grade level) last year and now they have skipped to 9th grade math without district or parent buy in. When asked about it, the teacher said" the kids who don’t do well will get it again next year". That is not doing the kids any good. How is it less like tracking then offering kids and parents a choice between 8th grade & 9th grade math?"

8 comments:

hschinske said...

(Apologies for repeating from the other thread)

As I recall, the 8th-grade CMP materials are actually widely used to teach Integrated 1, so the difference between what they'd ordinarily be teaching in the course called "8th-grade math" and what they'd ordinarily be teaching in the following year is not nearly as great as one would suppose.

Helen Schinske

dan dempsey said...

Abby,

While this situation at Salmon Bay in math is wacky, it seems to be par for the course in WA state.

Ballard offers no classes below “Discovering Algebra” so this is just Ballard lunacy moved down one-step for Salmon Bay. Remember the SPS high school math adoption included no instructional materials below “Discovering Algebra”.

Now onto State lunacy:

From RCW 28A 305.215
notes….
Intent -- 2008 c 172: "The legislature intends that the revised mathematics standards by the office of the superintendent of public instruction will set higher expectations for Washington's students by fortifying content and increasing rigor; provide greater clarity, specificity, and measurability about what is expected of students in each grade; supply more explicit guidance to educators about what to teach and when; enhance the relevance of mathematics to students' lives; and ultimately result in more Washington students having the opportunity to be successful in mathematics. Additionally, the revised mathematics standards should restructure the standards to make clear the importance of all aspects of mathematics: Mathematics content including the standard algorithms, conceptual understanding of the content, and the application of mathematical processes within the content."

Posted at OSPI on Oct 1, 2009:
See What’s New
Under measurements of student progress. There you will find the following to be evident…

The new state tests will not be testing quick recall of basic math facts or proficiency with standard algorithms. (The fact that these are state standards does not mean OSPI will test these… for this draft says the state will not test many things in the standards … math facts and standard algorithms were not important in the Bergeson years and since Mr. Dorn elected to keep all of OSPI math folks in place … the current OSPI response is to hell with the laws passed by the legislature … we do what we want to do.
I say DUMP DORN in 2012. The electorate has no power as the career bureaucrats have stolen it from the electorate and the legislature.

Clearly OSPI has no intent to test the students in any meaningful way that would expose the 12 years of Bergeson math farce that these folks authored.

It seems Mr. Tolley's grad GPA of 1.0 is right in line with the state's plan to teach very little to many.

Dorothy Neville said...

Helen you are forgetting that they are no longer teaching Integrated Math. I suspect the leap from 7th grade CMP to Algebra I is a bit larger. Not impossible, but not as similar as in the past with CMP8 and Integrated 1.

SE Mom said...

TOPS is doing the same thing this year and as a parent, I don't have any issue with it. It would be fab if TOPS could offer two different math classes for 8th graders but it cannot due to only having two classes for each grade. I know Ecstein offers more math class alternatives but they are obviously a much larger school.

There is also an optional, after school and parent funded math enrichment class for 8th graders at TOPS in Geometry.

I think this system works better than trying to differentiate in regular classes with over 30 kids per class.

The goal of the 7th/8th grade TOPS math teacher is to have as many kids as possible start high school
with sophmore level math, and it usually works out that way.

Yet other avenues works well also in that kids can have a double dose of Algebra if they want and other kids get a true advanced enrichment math class.

hschinske said...

I know they're not doing Integrated 1 any longer, but I don't see why algebra 1 would be any bigger a leap. Less, if anything. I mean, say Integrated 1 teaches algebra concepts A, B, and C (usually taught in 9th grade), and geometry concepts X, Y, and Z (in a traditional math sequence, usually taught in 10th or 11th grade, depending whether you do alg/geom/alg or alg/alg/geom). Algebra 1, by contrast, would teach algebra concepts A, B, C, D, E, and F (traditionally taught in 9th grade).

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

By the way, I'm not at all against the idea of having a choice of math levels in eighth grade -- far from it. I only meant that doing algebra in eighth grade doesn't necessarily constitute a full grade skip in math. There's a lot of controversy over what middle school math curriculum should include, so the whole business is not very straightforward.

Helen Schinske

Jennifer said...

In theory not a big leap, but for a 13 year old middle of the road student it is a big leap. It is again not consistent and the lack of consistency is why our kids are failing in math. Why by new district wide curriculum if school are going to do whatever they want. I worry about the struggling students and families that can’t manage their child taking after school classes just to get proper instruction time. Shouldn’t Salmon Bay have opened this up to the families before making a decision?

Maureen said...

Abby, if you are still following...Have you brought this to the Site Council or BLT? Maybe they could fund some tutoring (in school or after school) for kids who are struggling. In theory, Alternative Schools like Salmon Bay have a history of 'shared governance' that should give parents more input into curriculum than at neighborhood schools.