Friday, February 8, 2008

Fact Sheet of 19 points

Fact Sheet from

1) U.S. ranks at the bottom in international testing: By 8th grade US students are 2-3 years behind global peers. This gap widens as grade levels rise.
In 2006, the U.S. performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in math literacy and problem solving was lower than the average performance for most participating countries. We ranked 25th out of 30 countries. The normally top 5 performing Asian countries did not participate in the 2006 test, thus inflating our abysmal standing.

2) U.S. declines in engineering graduates: “We have lapsed, and lapsed dramatically in a remarkably short period of time. U.S. engineering graduates have declined 20% to 59,500 in the past twenty years. Our middle school and high school students are unprepared in math and science and correspondingly uninterested in these careers. Of the nearly 1.1 million U.S. high school seniors who took the college entrance exam in 2002, less than 6% had plans to study engineering. That is a 33% decrease from 10 years earlier.”

3) Tutoring is on the rise in the United States: “Tutoring is a $4 billion business, and that figure is rising. It has become a staple of the middle class, with millions of students in both public and private schools using one-on-one tutors as well as supplementary education centers like Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Kumon.”

4) Tutoring is on the rise is Washington State:
Tutoring and educational services in Washington State rose by 340% from 1994 to 2004. Washington State Department of Revenue

5) Washington State students can’t pass a basic math skills test:
In April, 2006. 46% of 10th grade students in Washington failed the math portion of the WASL. “To pass the [10th grade math] WASL, students are required to know mathematics content that is taught, on average, in the late 6th grade or early 7th grade internationally.” Achieve Inc, an organization brought together by the nation’s governors and prominent business leaders.

6) Washington State has high math remediation rates: More than 50% of Washington State high school graduates attending two year colleges need remediation in mathematics.
Almost 40% of remedial math students never take an additional math course and are less likely to succeed in subsequent courses.”

7) Washington State students are below average in college readiness: In September 2003 the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research reported that the national average for graduates with college readiness is 32%, Washington State is 24%, a full 25% less than the national average.

8) Washington State math standards graded “F”: The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, based in Washington D.C., published “The State of State Math Standards” in 2005. The average ranking is “C”. Washington State received an “F”. Our state standards are “poorly written, needlessly voluminous, difficult to understand, and at times have little to do with mathematics. Standards devoted to problem solving are of especially low quality.”

9) What is Reform Math? Reform math lets students discover math on their own. Consequently, the books will purposely hide facts and theorems. The teacher’s role is limited as Reform math avoids teaching by example, practice, memorization, standard algorithms, and de-emphasizes correct answers. Instead students do series of activities, during which they hopefully notice patterns, which lead to independent discovery. Students deepen their understanding by writing about what they are doing. Reform math is also known as Discovery math, New New math, Constructivist math, Whole math or Fuzzy math. Some specific curricula are Investigations in Numbers, Data and Space (TERC), Connected Math Program (CMP), Contemporary Mathematics in Context (Core-Plus), Everyday Math, MathLand, and Integrated Math Program (IMP).

10) There are no reliable studies verifying the effectiveness of reform curricula: In 2004, the National Research Council evaluated all studies of reformed math programs and concluded, “On the basis of the committee’s analysis of these 147 studies, we concluded that the corpus of evaluation studies as a whole across the 19 programs studied does not permit one to determine the effectiveness of individual programs with a high degree of certainty, due to the restricted number of studies for any particular curriculum, limitations in the array of methods used, and the uneven quality of the studies.”

11) Singapore Method outperforms reform curricula: In 2005, after a 5-year implementation of Singapore Math in North Middlesex School District, Massachusetts, 10th grade students performing at the advanced level on the state math assessment increased from 9% to 57%, while the failure rate declined from 39% to 2%.

12) Singapore curriculum prepares students better than CMP: “The level of the mathematics in both CMP (Connected Math) and MIC (Mathematics in Context) is not as advanced as that in the Singapore curriculum… It is also our prediction that students wishing to take calculus before the end of their 12th grade year are likely not to be on track to do so after completing 8th grade CMP or MIC, but would be ready to do so after completing Singapore’s SL2. … Moreover, we are skeptical about the possibility of maintaining the interest of high-end students while progressing at the pace necessitated by the “discovery process”.” University of WA Report: Pp 163-164, Nov 2000

13) Over 200 mathematicians and scientists, including four Nobel Prize recipients wrote to Secretary of Education Riley, in December 1999, asking for withdrawal of the Department of Educations endorsement of curricula around the NCTM standards. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published its Curriculum Standards in 1989. A second edition was published in 2000 as Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

14) Mathematicians in California create “gold” math standards: Stanford University mathematicians successfully wrote a North American version of the well-proven Singapore, Japanese and Polish world-class international curriculum, featuring rigorous, focused, and coherent standards, and adopted by California in 1998: Results show five-year improvements of 30 to 40% for low-income and ELL learners on the SAT 9 relative to a control group using NCTM “reform” math.

15) Pearson, the author of the WASL, has a conflict of interest: Pearson Education is both the distributor of the curriculums used in many of our schools, including TERC/CMP, and under contract with WA State to develop and implement the WASL. This is a major conflict of interest. Pearson is selling us our curriculums and is in charge of testing our students to see if their own curriculums are working.

16) Poor curriculum worsens the educational gap: “Poor math curriculum is one of the reasons for the racial education gap in math. There is too much flexibility in math standards, requirements and instruction.” Dr. William Schmidt, February 27, 2006, Seattle School District Meeting

17) Reform curricula are not recommended by top mathematics professors: “ The NSF funded curricula generally encourage overuse of calculators, do not give students sufficient support to achieve automatic recall of basic number facts, do not teach algorithms properly, and pay insufficient attention to the arithmetic of fractions. We regard the K-5 program "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space" (TERC) as especially deficient.” R. James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University; Wilfried Schmid, Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University March 2006

18) We need standards that align with those of top-performing nations: Washington State needs math standards and curricula that are rigorous, academically focused, and coherent, identifying what all Washington State students should know and be able to do at each grade level. As our students progress from grade to grade there should be requirements in place for increasingly advanced knowledge and understanding of mathematics and for increasingly complex applications and problem solving.

19) “After a half century of advocacy associated with instruction using minimal guidance, there appears there is no body of research supporting the technique. In so far as there is any evidence from controlled studies, it almost uniformly supports direct, strong instructional guidance rather constructivist-based minimal guidance during the instruction of novice to intermediate learners. Even for students with considerable prior knowledge, strong guidance while learning is most often found to be equally effective as unguided approaches. Not only is unguided instruction normally less effective; there is also evidence that it may have negative results when student acquire misconceptions or incomplete or disorganized knowledge.”


Anonymous said...

Look at the validation committee for the WASL - 3 were evaluators for the standardized curriculum. Another is a software developer. The standardized curriculum has nothing to do with any state standards. In a fraction of studies done on the middle school curriculum, only 10 met review standards for research and all of these studies were flawed since the protocols were either ignored or modified. So for instance, only students in upper math tracks were tested with units and not textbooks. Most student populations, the children had been trained with traditional textbooks. Teachers were allowed to supplement materials and this was not documented. The piloting and evaluation used teachers in training programs, as with PIT in Pittsburgh.

The researchers were only interested in getting good reviews because that's what NSF wants published. Many of these people were former colleagues holding positions in Project 2061, MAA, NCTM and AAAS. That's what ties them all together.

The charter reformers, like the Broad Foundation know its bad curriculum, but it enables them to carry out their goals - take control of school districts, privatize support services, and close urban schools. Each of the school districts they've controlled has been run into the dirt with huge deficits and outsider consulting fees with no-bid contracts.

Phillips and Goodloe are perfect. Bersin, etc for example.

If adults would force themselves to think and read these lousy books they would see for themselves what our children have been facing their entire lives in school. The most ridiculous way to teach children anywhere in the world exists right here in the US.

And too, haven't you created a shortage of engineers and technicians by not educating children. Doesn't it allow politicians to do what the Abramoff's of this world want - open US borders to hire trained workers. Could our government and leaders be so shiftless as to undermine our country and sell it out from beneath us? Which Republican was it that said - Let them eat the whole cake?

Had students actually taken a real algebra class, perhaps they would have passed a test that required little more than a knowledge of fractions and division.

Anonymous said...


and follow up analysis.

one thing one political party has learned VERY well,

and the same thing another political party has NOT learned,

is that most people will kind of pay attention to the analysis,

IFF the soundbites get their interest.

I've been trying to interest / sell very politically active Dems on this math fiasco, and they'll only listen cuz they are polite people and cuz they know me.

After 20 seconds, just like after 20 seconds with adolescents, you can see their eyes wandering and you can hear them checking out.


anon till 4 july

Anonymous said...

Oops, Seattle hasn't got the money to pay for textbooks.

What are the odds that OSPI provides an assistance grant to pay for textbooks, provided the district selects one of the DOE's exemplary?! textbooks? So much for a Democracy.

This is a common ploy. So lets pretend our society is colorless and see what happens. This is no different than apartheid and the less objective and opaque we are, the angrier our society will become.

This will be no different than the demonstrations that started in the 60's once minorities realize fewer of their children are finishing high school, much less going to college. More now than ever before. It won't take much to light that match, but once it starts it won't stop. The DOE can stop tracking students, but it won't change reality. It is easy enough to take a sample by simply asking a 100 people if they finished four years of high school. Times are a changing. My count was 1 in 10 finished at the same school they started and their worst subject was math.