Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Math Standards Draft Reviewed by Dr. David Klein

The Richland School District had Dr. David Klein review the OSPI produced first draft of the Washington Math Standards released on Dec 4th.

Here is the Link to his analysis

My take on this is that SHB 1906 told Dr. Bergeson to follow the recommendations in the Plattner Report (from Strategic Teaching) commissioned by the State Board of Education at a cost of $150,000.

Dr. Bergeson did not follow the recommendations (defied the law), instead continuing 11 years of doing her own thing much to the continuing detriment of our children.

Here is Dr. Klein's conclusion:

Mathematics is the most hierarchical of subjects. A flaw in the development of the subject at even just one grade level can have catastrophic consequences for the mathematical education of children at subsequent grade levels. The Washington Draft Standards are deeply flawed. The development is slower than that given by the standards of California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Singapore, and Finland.

Standard algorithms of arithmetic are not required. Mathematical reasoning is artificially separated from content, and pedagogical directives are imposed without justification. Statistics is overemphasized at the secondary level, and the GLEs there are not organized by course.

The Draft Standards are consistent with the most controversial textbooks described by detractors as "fuzzy math" books, and inconsistent with high quality programs such as those used by Singapore.

A viable course of action for the state of Washington would be to adopt an already existing set of high quality mathematics standards. If political considerations preclude that, standards writers with great mathematical expertise and impeccable credentials should be appointed to write new standards. Such a course was followed in California through the appointment of four Stanford University mathematics professors to develop that state's standards in 1997.


Anonymous said...

I'm searching for a knock down message / soundbite / set of soundbites on this standards mess ...

how close are the finland / ma / ca / ... standards?

we may disagree about the best way to teach,
and we may disagree about what should be taught,
and we may disagree about when it should be taught,


IF you don't have the basic skills,

AND if you don't have more sophisticated skills,

you will NOT have a good chance of competing with the rest of the world,

you will NOT have a good chance of contributing significantly to our global village,

you will NOT have a good chance of contributing to changes to improve our global village.

IF we look at our state test results,
and IF we use those state results as 'research'

It sure seems that the research PROVES that our standards fail.

anon on sat

KC said...

Here is some additional information from that supports Dan Dempsey's excellent comments and summary of Dr. david Klein's review of the new math standards draft:

OSPI Pays $770K to Keep Math Status Quo
By editor
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Terry Bergeson hired the Dana Center of Austin, Texas to oversee the revision of Washington State math standards at a cost to taxpayers of $770K, plus undetermined expenses. The Dana Center proposal was nearly six times as expensive as a competing bid from a highly qualified firm. A careful examination of the first draft of the resulting revised WA math standards, released December 4, reveals that OSPI has poorly used public funds, producing a new framework that will do little to raise Washington State’s math to world-class standards.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) was directed by lawmakers to improve math standards as per House Bill 1906, passed in the 2007 legislative session. The State Board of Education (SBE) hired a consultant and formed a Math Advisory Panel to review existing standards and make recommendations for improvements. The consultant, Strategic Teaching of Millersville, MD, issued a final report on August 30, 2007. Current WA standards were compared to those of states and nations considered to have the best, including California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Singapore and Finland, and were found to be lacking in content, rigor, focus and clarity. The Strategic Teaching report specifically recommended that Washington State model its standards after those exemplary states and nations, as well as the NCTM Focal Points. The Math Advisory Panel endorsed the report, and SBE adopted it on September 19, 2007.

House Bill 1906 specifies that the SBE recommendations must be followed by OSPI in revising WA standards. OSPI formed a standards revision team stacked with supporters of reform math, including some with little math background. The result of the combined efforts of the standards team and the Dana Center is a draft far below the world-class levels recommended by the SBE and required by HB1906. Vague language and a lack of commitment to mathematical rigor indicate a consistent effort to preserve the methodologies of reform math. For example, the recommendation to strengthen computational fluency has been ignored. Strategy seeking and verbal explanation remain dominant methods of problem solving, rather than using and mastering standard algorithms.

Bill Hook, a research scientist who led a five year study comparing curricula in California said, “The SBE Report clearly sets out a number of exemplary math standards for the use of the standards re-write team. But it would appear that the Dana Center has created their own versions of the individual math standards in order to promote the use of their favorite textbooks, such as Everyday Math, TERC, etc. A simple cut and paste of existing exemplary standards would have produced a far better result, and would have followed the SBE report recommendations.”

According to Dr. Chris Carlson, member of the LWSD Board and State Math Advisory Panel, “One of the keys to defusing the math wars is to make our standards pedagogically neutral. That is…standards pertain to the content that students should master at each grade level, not how the content should be taught. The first draft of the revised K-5 standards has a long way to go in meeting this goal.”

OSPI requested bids from companies to help draft the new standards. One of the unsuccessful bidders was StandardsWork, an organization that helped rewrite the California and Indiana standards, considered exemplary by the SBE report. The StandardsWork bid to rewrite WA math standards was $130,000. However, Bergeson selected the Dana Center, whose bid of $770,000 was nearly six times that of StandardsWork. Additionally, OSPI is paying an undisclosed amount for additional expenses.

The Dana Center has supported the adoption of reform math curricula in other states, including TERC/Investigations, Connected Math, and Everyday Math. Dr. Uri Treisman, Director of the Dana Center and leader of the WA revision team, served on the advisory board for Connected Math. Dr. Susan Hull, another Dana Center leader of the WA revision team, was on the advisory board for Connected Math 2. Treisman was also influential in the adoption of Everyday Math in Texas and New York City.

OSPI has been entrusted with solving a problem they created through the imposition of reform math standards and curricula on Washington State. For years they have ignored protests of parents and teachers, as well as declining math performance of students. Now Terry Bergeson and colleagues at OSPI are undermining the intent of HB 1906. By selecting the Dana Center, a like-minded contractor, OSPI appears determined to further a reform math agenda at an exorbitant cost to taxpayers. But the bigger cost will be paid by our children, whose math education will remain inferior to their peers in other states and nations. The public has until the end of December to voice their concerns to their state representatives and the State Board of Education. The draft of standards revisions and related information can be accessed at OSPI’s Project Website

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