Tuesday, March 11, 2008

High School Math: not adding up in college
• More than half take Remedial Classes

High school math not adding up in college
• More than half take remedial classes

By Sarah Koenig
Enterprise reporter

At Edmonds Community College, new students take a placement test for math. Of about 1,100 high school graduates who enrolled for 2006-07, only 48 percent tested into college level math and the rest had to take pre-college math to catch up.

Statewide, 46 percent of high school graduates who enter two-year colleges right out of high school need to take pre-college math.

The transition to college math can be rocky for several reasons, said Pat Averbeck, Edmonds Community College math instructor.

"The catch is that some of our math is geared traditionally toward the science/math/engineering track," he said.

In contrast, high school students throughout the state are taught reform or "inquiry-based" math, which relies on student exploration and real life context rather than direct instruction and drill.

The issue isn't confined to community colleges.

Click on the article author to continue your reading
in The Enterprise Newspaper - Mill Creek edition


Anonymous said...

More spin trying to balance traditional with inquiry-based method? or rather like trying to dress up this pig. Truth is what kids do with their time during class and after class at home.

At least getting them to admit that their approach does not work for engineering and scientists is aiming their freight train in the direction of Sinking Gulch and drowning.

dan dempsey said...

It appears that rather than bring up the level of K-12 math performance, Edmonds wishes to bring down the community college level.

Interesting that the developing world is focused on producing engineers and high tech gurus, professions which require powerful math skills.

In the USA we appear to be the only nation interested in going in the exact opposite direct. We are doing that quite well as we seem to have a free fall in math skills.

Anonymous said...

Edmonds is an interesting case. They just hired an Assist Sup to take over Curriculum and testing. One of the first things they did last year was create an alternative school.

Those kids did not take the WASL and Title I funds don't move with the students. And well naturally test scores went up. This has been happenning all over the place. Its a loophole in the law and administrators are taking advantage of it to make their districts look better. Its an instant promotion.

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 8:15,

This reminds me of the alternative school in Omak. It was used to make sure and keep the high school in the appropriate sports classification.

If your school enrollment grows and is about to move you into the next sports classification, then open an alternative school and move students there to keep your regular high school enrollment numbers below the cut number.

Useful for the WASL also.

Anonymous said...

You would sure hope that wasn't the case. But considering what I've seen it doesn't surprise me. We have a court school (community day school) that doesn't have any kids attending.

If you screw up in elementary school they send you to 'success academy' where you get to confess your sins on the lap of a counselor - they make sure you don't qualify for any support services. Then you get two choices - alternative school or community day, either way, you are history within a year. Very efficient way to run a school district.

Too bad their academic programs suck big time - the best most students can do in this pit is pass second year Core plus. Their idiot principal thinks her students are learning calculus.

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 6:24,

To what district is your reference to Core-Plus? Edmonds?

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say ... they are rather vicious and I'm not sure it would do any good anyway. I reported them and wrote letters, but it hasn't seemed to do any good.

I finally realized it was better to resign, then fight these people. They have too many connections, but one things for certain, they can't hold onto their math or science department. And it shows. Staff morale is at its lowest and there is a great deal of fear. The laws need changing, otherwise districts operate with impunity.

For about 10 years this school was teaching intelligent design in science class before the teacher and principally were finally ordered to stop. The community allows their school district to operate like this, because it preserves the 'racial purity' of the community.

Absolutely insipid stuff, how do you get rid of it? I'm not sure, except start by exposing it. There should be a big warning sign out, minorities and disabled students beware.

I think things have really gotten out of hand. To some extent there is, the kids know it has a reputation for being racist. Its like living with the bully on the block.

In other communities, the majority of students are minorities in Washington it is only 13% state average. When the number of minorities starts to overtake the white populaton that's when things start to happen in school.

People are restless, they want an education, but from their point of view, its like Mount Everest. School puts way too many obstacles in front of kids and for what - a high school diploma that says you sat in school for 12 years. It is meaningless for most kids.

So I don't have patience any longer with white people who keep saying school is great for their kids. Yeah and they probably like pulling legs off flies too.

The interesting thing about Core Plus is the white kids despise it most. They can describe how bad math really is. And their is a group of kids who measure their success by the latinoes who are failing school. Talk about narrow-minded - these are neanderthals...

The Latinos can't read it, so they can't comment on something they don't understand.

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 2:42,

Hang in there. Great changes are coming and sooner than you might think. The National Math Panel report has specific references to programs like Core-Plus.
The new Washington Standards will be taking the National Math Panel report into account and that is a good thing.

The NMP report makes specific reference to what algebra should look like. That leaves Core-Plus and IMP et al. out in the cold. There is also a specific recommendation made that programs that use spiraling of the kind used in Everyday Math are to be avoided.

Read my posting of the National Math Panel report on the Save Seattle Schools Blog.

Anonymous said...

Its really a shame - these guys should be hung by their toes for a fraud that has been going on for decades. You would think someone would have said this is unreasonable, it doesn't make sense, why are all these kids failing.

It is stupifying when you realize how many children's lives have been adversely affected by these cold-blooded losers.

They deserve to be humiliated and ridiculed, that's what they've been doing and nothing will shake my belief that these are racial bigots who conspired to prove themselves superior to other people.

This is why the US needs to change the way it evaluates curriculum. With this regime anything goes - bandwagon is an apt description. The leadership in the NSF, NCTM, MAA, and AAAS deserve most of the credit for keeping this creepy conspiracy alive. Where were the safeguards.

Why wasn't there more interest from professional educators. Racists - that's all I can say - a bunch of *$##@* racists - and when you read about the history of the KKK, you find so many of the same parallels - it makes you wonder who is running our society.

Anonymous said...

Math really ought to look more like what an engineer should know - aside from algebra the other huge obstacle is awful geometry we teach - its not analytical - I am ashamed to call it formal proofs. So many kids fail in this part of geometry and its not even taught properly. The teachers do not understand proofs and yet we fail kids needlessly because of poor curriculum (textbooks, teachers, supplemental garbage, etc.) Its diabolic.

If we thought first about the types of careers and what type of math they needed (as with Singapore) we would not be sitting here 30 years behind everyone else trying to figure out what are the properties of a quadrilateral.

Words do not describe how I feel about our backward education system. And to see how our children have changed because of it. Wasteful and purposeless.

And I read today that the healthcare system in the US rates below Botswana's and it is the most expensive in the world. Sounds like our schools to me. elected bureacrats and petty dictators that's what our government has become. This isn't any different than Hell...

dan dempsey said...

Hey Folks,

Change may be on the way. Although the SPS and Dr Bergeson have continually ignored rational thought processes, let us see how far they get should they attempt to ignore the National Math Panel report.

The first major shoot out in the North West is Scheduled for March 26th at 4 PM at the JSCEE when the School Board has a work session on the high school math adoption.

It is believed that the administration will recommend IMP, unless they have come to their senses, which would be hard to believe.