Math in SPS

Linh-Co said...I know this was posted before by Melissa, but we still need lots of signatures to make the middle school math adoption happen next year. So far we only have 153 signatures we were hoping for at least 1000.

Cliff Mass has helped us out by writing a blog, MJ McDermott made a YouTube video on CMP, and Bruce Ramsey wrote an awesome editorial about dumping bad math. Now we just need parents to sign the petition and forward to as many friends and families. My daughter got over 45 signatures from juniors and seniors at Ingraham. Thanks!


(I will point out that I do not support Common Core standards but I agree with the premise here; it is unfair to test kids (and evaluate teachers) if they are not using materials that align with the testing.)


Anonymous said…
Math tutors everywhere are thanking EDM and CMP for increased business.

Having problems with Connected Math?

Thanks for all your efforts to improve math in Seattle, Linh-Co.

-for real
Anonymous said…
For real -

That is a great link! Everyone should read it. Thanks for posting.

Mathy parent
Anonymous said…
Great idea to share this with current high schoolers. They all hated the middle school math textbooks and are dealing with the deficit right now. I shared it on my FB feed and also sent it to a few friends who have kids in elementary school and are excited to leave Everyday Math behind in the next couple of years. Talk about out of the frying pan...
Linh-Co said…
Thank you Melissa and others for the support.

I can attest to the increase in business. I privately tutor 30 kids a week from 5 different Seattle Public Schools. My students range from 1st through 8th grade. All of my referrals are through word of mouth. Almost weekly, I'm contacted by new families needing help.

We need to make math accessible to all families not just the ones who can afford private tutoring.
Linh-Co said…
I've been keeping track of elementary schools that have dumped EDM through official or "unofficial" waivers. Surely, this indicates there is a huge problem with Everyday Math. Perhaps this may be the reason they are doing a K-5 adoption even though the middle school CMP2 adoption is overdue.

North Beach - Saxon
Schmitz Park - Singapore Math
Boren STEM - Singapore Math
Alki - Singapore Math
LaFayette - Jump Math??
Montlake - Envision
Lincoln - My Math
Beacon Hill - some classrooms are using a translated Chinese math program
Thurgood Marshall- Envision??
Salmon Bay - some classrooms are using TERC Investigations
Thorton Creek - TERC Investigations

Please let me know if you have updates to this list.
TechyMom said…
Mcgilvra switched to Envsion in January. Thurgood Marshall is using it too, and helped train the teachers.
Benjamin Leis said…
My understanding is that TERC is similar in approach to EDM. So I wouldn't count it as a true divergence if you're keeping score on how many schools have broken ranks.
Anonymous said…
FRL% for schools using alternative math programs (the district is 43.2% FRL):

North Beach - Saxon (9.9%)
Schmitz Park - Singapore Math (14.5%)
Boren STEM - Singapore Math (?)
Alki - Singapore Math (33.9%)
LaFayette - Jump Math?? (20.9%)
Montlake - Envision (9.5%)
Lincoln - My Math (? APP@Lincoln still not separated from Lowell/Capitol Hill)
Beacon Hill - some classrooms are using a translated Chinese math program (65.4%)
Thurgood Marshall- Envision?? (35.7% and home to south end APP)
Salmon Bay - some classrooms are using TERC Investigations (13.4%)
Thorton Creek - TERC Investigations (10.5%)
McGilvra - enVision (15.2%)

For all the talk about equity from the district, this should be part of the discussion. The majority of schools deviating from district texts have much lower FRL percentages than the district as a whole.

Linh-Co said…
TERC is a constructivist (discovery) program that the district used before the adoption of EDM. So yes, it's not better math. In fact I like it even less than Everyday Math. It is more similar to CMP2 for the elementary grades. However, these schools did choose it over EDM.

Observer is right, central office should be embarrassed about the inequity in programs. This is what happens when you choose stupid programs. The parents in the know who can afford to, will fix the problem with their pocketbook.
SusanH said…
South Shore switched to Envision for the 5th grade this year, to test it out. Much better than Everyday Math. We have a high percentage of FRL students (can't find the current %).
Anonymous said…
I think folks (Linh-Co) have answered this question before, but if I want to tutor my student this summer, are there workbooks/textbooks you recommend? (For logical, traditional math.) I have a 2nd grader who is 1-2 grades ahead through natural ability but no supplementation outside of EDM at school.

--Aspiring tutor
Linh-Co said…
Singapore Math is excellent. I would recommend buying the Primary Mathematics 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B workbooks. You should buy the Standards Edition which is aligned with California state standards. The California standards is a bit more rigorous than Washington's. 2A and 2B are second grade workbooks, 3A and 3B for 3rd grade, etc.

You can purchase them at or buy them at Math 'n Stuff on Roosevelt Way. These books are more difficult than our US version of 2nd grade. These are the same books that were used in Singapore during their hey day of ranking #1 on the TIMMSS (International math and science studies). Singapore has since drop to 3rd place because they have gone with slightly modified and fuzzier textbooks. The books are written by the Singapore Misnistry of Education, and the entire country uses them. An interesting tidbit, Singapore became a country in 1965 when it separated from Malaysia. It has no resources. The country spent years reforming its education and making it one of the best in the world. If you looked at where the country ranked in the 70's, you would see that it was one of the worse ranked as low as the Phillipines and Malaysia. By the 90's, they had become one of the world's most prosperous nation.

The second grade books focus on multi-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with related word problems, comparing fractions, equivalent fractions,telling time, introduction to elapsed time.

Third grade (3B) focuses on unit conversions from inches, ft, yd, metric system, oz to lbs, grams, to mg, kg, days to months, year, time, etc. It is far more rigorous than what we have in our 5th grade US books.

Saxon is good but not as a supplement because the lessons build on previous lessons. It would be very incoherent if you are skipping around.
Anonymous said…
There has been some questioning of what "aligned to Common Core" really means. Who verifies that it's aligned? Does it really make it better than a non-aligned text? What if the so called aligned texts are inferior, yet CCSS alignment is weighted heavily when choosing texts?
Anonymous said…
NWEA is on top of it with CCSS aligned MAP tests.
Linh_Co said…
Alignment is a soft science. When OSPI did the alignment of textbooks,there was a panel of 5-6 people per textbook. Each person had about 3-4 hours per book. It was a peripheral look to see if the topic was mentioned in the appropriate grades according to the Washington state standards. There is no check for mathematical soundness or coherent development of topics.
Anonymous said…
Linh_Co, our city is lucky to have you.

On the Singapore website, it looks like they have the textbook/workbook pairs for each level. In your opinion, fine to go with the workbook alone?

Aspiring tutor
Linh-Co said…
The workbooks are fine if you are a mathie. And since it's only primary grades you shouldn't need the textbooks. Bar modeling is introduced in 3rd grade and can get quite complex. The use of bar modeling is to introduce algebra in a pictorial concrete way, where the individual "bar" is the unit or x.

If you have tried to introduce the idea of "x" to kids in the early grades, even APP kids, you'll find that it can be very difficult. However through bar modeling, kids are able to solve multi-step equations without the use of algebra.

I have done a tutorial on Singapore bar modeling for parents at the public libraries, and can do that again if there is enough interest. Our workshops are free to parents and educators.
Anonymous said…
Please do not lump EDM in with TERC as the "same kind of math". EDM is a horrible curriculum, it claims to be "discovery" but it is far from it and it is just bad. I wont say that the old TERC curriculum was perfect, it lacked heavily in computational fluency and other areas, but it was miles above EDM as long as the teacher teaching it was competent. Singapore math is not a perfect curriculum either, it has huge gaps too. There are tons of better curriculum out there then EDM but none are perfect, teachers need to be knowledgeable of the standards, be mathematically competent and know how to supplement the holes.
Anonymous said…
It is an equity issue that makes me crazy. All the wealthier schools (PTAs) in West Seattle are buying themselves better math while the rest are stuck with EDM. My first grader is at a K8 where EDM is so bad, the teachers really aren't using it in the K-1 classrooms. I am confused about the issue of k5 adoption vs k8 though. Because k8's have a middle school does that mean we will be not getting a new curriculum in our primary grades when the k5's do? If true, this makes me really angry and frustrated as a parent. At a recent PTA meeting a board member came and indicated new math was coming within a couple years for our school. I would like to know the real story (if there is one.). I signed the petition and posted to my FB and I guess in the meantime, I will be tutoring my child in math since she is already struggling.

Signed: Better Math for All Now!
Anonymous said…
Pathfinder K-8 is using a mix of curricula across the grade levels while searching for a new curriculum to hopefully use. They are using TERC, Bridges, Math Their Way, a bit of Singapore, a smattering of EDM and some other teacher created units designed to meet the common core.

-in the know
Dear Better,
That's a good question about K-8s. I think they are likely to get new curriculum for K-5 but not 6-8.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…

What's your opinion of Math in Focus versus the products? It was my understanding that MIF is the more authentic and deeply research-based Singapore math. Have I missed something?

Anonymous said…
Not Linh-Co, but I found Math in Focus to have too much text/too many pictures/just not as good and straightforward as Singapore when I looked at them both. But they are the same idea, and reasonable minds could absolutely disagree. If someone is calling one more "authentic," they are probably selling you something. The mental math section was pretty bad, as I recall.

I also found that Singapore was better suited to "dipping in," just for supplementation, though, and wasn't evaluating them for school,wide curriculum adaptation, just what seemed to get concepts across to my individual kids the easiest, in spurts.

Mathy Parent
Linh-Co said…
Math In Focus was adopted in Highline SD two years ago (Susan Enfield's district). She can't take credit for it because she arrived after the fact. There were some parents who worked very hard to get Math In Focus.

I haven't looked at it extensively, but it is not the original version. It has been Americanized and is what I call Singapore lite. It is still far superior to EDM and I would be pleased if Seattle adopted it. Bar modeling and decent word problems are still there. MIF comes from Houghton Mifflin not the translated version of the Singapore Ministry of Education.

The original Singapore Math did not come with any Teacher's Guide. This was pointed out by Dr. Yeap Ban Har, who is the guru of Singapore Math, at a recent Singapore Math training in Highline SD. He told us that teachers in Singapore don't need it. Unfortunately, most US elementary teachers do not have enough mathematical expertise and are relying on the teacher's guide for mathematical background and guidance.

I have to say Singapore Math does the best job tying the idea of decimals, fractions, and percentages of all the books I've used. Singapore 4B is excellent in the conceptual development of decimals to fractions. The use of money for the teaching addition, subtraction, multiplying, and dividing decimals is brilliant. For example, .04+.08 = .12 because 4 cents + 8 cents = 12 cents. Contrast this with .4 + .8 = 1.2 because 40 cents + 80 cents is $1.20. They are not just teaching procedurally to line up the decimal points. All problems are initially shown horizontally instead of vertically to force the child to add decimals mentally.

For multiplication of decimals, kids are taught .24 x 2 = .48. Once again if you recognize .24 as 24 cents than you would know that 24 cents twice is 48 cents. We are not just teaching kids to multiply decimals by ignoring the decimal point and then afterward counting how many places it has moved. Same for division of decimals. After this introduction, standard algorithms are taught for bigger numbers.

If only EDM and TERC were this brilliant. The idea is so simplistic and makes sense to all kids.

dan dempsey said…
More about Highline and Math in Focus::

Two years ago Highline did a pilot of Math in Focus text and ST Math software at two high poverty elementary schools. The results were so good that in 2012-2013 these two products were put in use in all Highline Elementary schools. {{These decisions were made prior to Susan Enfield's arrival in Highline}}.

Link to Math in Focus.

Link to ST Math.

Link to check out the difference between the MSP Math performance of
NON-Low-Income vs. Low-Income kids in Seattle.

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data."
-- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)
dan dempsey said…
About the Math in Focus pilot in Highline during 2011-2012 School Year.

Information provided to me by Highline parent and activist Meg Van Wyk.

Seahurst elementary school

MSP MATH scores

Midway elementary school

MSP Math scores

This is from the OSPI site. Check out the 3rd grade scores. Midway used the S-T math program and Seahurst did not. Both used Math in Focus.

Midway results MIF and ST Math
3rd Grade MSP Math
Yr School District State

2009-10 30.9% 45.7% 61.8%
2010-11 57.1% 48.5% 61.6%
2011-12 74.7% 57.1% 65.3%

Midway has 90% of its students on Free or reduced price meals.

Seahurst used MIF but not ST Math
has 83% of students on Free or reduced price meals.

3rd Grade Math
Year School District State

2009-10 49.3% 45.7% 61.8%
2010-11 51.4% 48.5% 61.6%
2011-12 52.5% 57.1% 65.3%

Seahurst used a different software supplement and definitely did not use ST-Math.

It will be interesting see results from one year of Math in Focus and ST Math in Highline's elementary schools in 2012-2013 on MSP Math testing.

When Banda was heading Anaheim CA schools they used ST-Math software and got great improvment.

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