Sunday, March 23, 2008

R.I.P. planned for Segmented Math
March 2008

March 2008 - R.I.P. planned for Segmented Math.

There will be no Segmented Math for the 2008-2009 school year.

The legislature has chosen to end all funding for the PAS program of which Segmented Math was apart. The data analysis from Wade Cole showed this to be an ineffective program.

A bit of history as I know it. The original math modules were created by OSPI to assist students to pass the math WASL. These were used in the summer programs (2006 & 2007) and to a lesser extent in schools during the 2006-2007 school year. The WA Institute for Public Policy data analysis by C & B showed that students involved in that program that retook the Math WASL had a passing rate not statistically significantly higher than those who retook the Math WASL but were not involved in the program.

OSPI math module creation was done principally by Ron Donovan, of OSPI with some assistance by Dr Jerry Johnson, of Western Washington of University. These materials used Dana Center Materials as a base. The original modules were designed to get level 2 students to pass. An implementation problem may also be part of the poor results.

These modules were then altered to attempt to make them accessible to low level 2 students and level 1 students. The Segmented Math curriculum was going to be the foundation for taking the Math WASL in three segments at spaced thirds of the school year. I believe that preliminary analysis of a portion of the segmented math students done after the first segment revealed that it was not working as expected.
Note how much focus there is on trying to pass one test rather than providing a content rich cohesive math curriculum. OSPI's actions are the equivalent of trying to cure measles or chicken pox with Cover Girl make-up. I think WA math may have reached the small pox equivalent. It is easy to see why the Cover Girl, Dr Bergeson, is having difficulty covering a decade of incompetent math mis-direction.

So another expensive custom-made intervention did not work. Is anyone surprised? Why we continue not to buy off the shelf proven materials preferring to expensively create our own defective stuff is beyond me. (I know Dr Bergeson thinks of this as the Washington way of doing things - that being the case hoppefully a majority of us are looking for effective new leadership). I liked the Segmented curriculum – it just happens to be entirely inappropriate for use with most all of the students for which it was designed.

Too many topics remain a continuing theme with everything that comes out of OSPI. The skill level was still far beyond the majority of the students that used it.

The good news is that the dollars at the school level that went into this discontinued program will now be available for districts to use with less centralized direction from OSPI. WOW!!! Discretion at the local level, who knows, perhaps we may eventually be allowed to teach children as if they are unique individuals. I definitely like the idea of less OSPI control and more local control. I certainly thank the legislators for this section of the budget.

Perhaps someday we will be allowed to use proven math materials that have been thoughtfully developed over decades instead of the defective curriculum materials that OSPI found as most aligned to the Math WASL. Check the data for TERC/Investigations, Everyday Math, Connected Math Project, Core-Plus, and Interactive Math Program --- Would anyone have bought this stuff based on relevant data without NSF incentives for purchase or OSPI pressure?

Our problems are compounded by the lack of Mathematically knowledgeable decision-makers. This is really apparent when job descriptions for math decision-makers include no requirement to know mathematics. Knowledge of Math education is required, but that hardly implies knowledge of Math. It may take more time to get a BA in Education, and MA in Ed, and a PhD in Ed than to get a BA or BS in Mathematics. The knowledge of math in the above PhD in Ed path is minimal - but it gives one the power to make absurd decisions in regard to math curricula, witness the last decade. The District office level is now filled with many math phonies, as are the politically correct math coaching ranks.

Let us all hail the visionaries at Monroe High School. For the 2006-2007 school year, Monroe adopted the Math program that was rated “Least Aligned with the WASL” by OSPI. Their rationale was they wanted books that the kids had a chance of learning useful math from, so the kids would eventually have a successful shot at learning collegiate level math.

That required a lot of guts given where the math politically correct were in the Spring of 2006. Dr Bergeson did not announce the State-Wide Math Meltdown until August of 2006. Nice to see that in Monroe they try to do the right thing for kids regardless of OSPI confusion and pressure. Too bad Seattle(EM), Issaquah(EM), Olympia(CMP2), and Bethel(EM) still had not figured this out by the Adoptions for 2007-2008. Now we get to see the really slow learners in Seattle probably continue digging their hole to math oblivion, with the coming High School math adoption.


Here is a look at the Budget passed by the 2008 legislature:
Click above

Student learning opportunities get about $18 million and the end of the PAS program saves $19.3 million.

Here is the link to the Full Report by Wade Cole of WSIPP on the PAS program.
The entire report is a .pdf download.



Anonymous said...

do you have urls for the following?


'The legislature has chosen to end all funding for the PAS program of which Segmented Math was apart.'


'The WA Institute for Public Policy data analysis by C & B showed that students involved in that program that retook the Math WASL had a passing rate not statistically significantly higher than those who retook the Math WASL but were not involved in the program.'

thanks if you do.


also, I know a math teacher who took OSPI training in June 2006 to teach the summer 2006 WASL boot camp classes. who knows what the training was called and what the classes were called, but the classes were supposed to be for kids who had flunked the math WASL that year, and

he was told:

- use only group work, no direct instruction.

- do NOT answer questions, make the kids help each other

(how are kids who fail such basic math supposed to help each other ...?)

- teachers shouldn't even have a pencil!

aside #1.

that was the first batch of 35,000 give or take, out of 70,000 or so, who failed the sophmore WASL, and these were the kids who were supposed to be graduating this year!

aside #2.

I remember most of my 140 or so math high school kids were basically couldn't function with fractions, decimals, percents, orger of operations, story problems, single step equations, and many were reclassified back to freshmen because of credit shortages ... good thing they didn't take the math WASL, Federal Ways scores would have been worse!


anon because those responsible haven't been held accountable.

Anonymous said...

The last poster was correct - the teacher who had this unhappy challenge of using segmented math was given the same strict guidelines - no direct instruction was to be given. Students were supposed to discover math for themselves.

The common attitude of teachers I listen to, is its not my fault if my students don't learn. If the principal says teach this way then I will. I think this kind of environment is sick for students and teachers.

Bergerson and her cronies should be fired. I have never heard of such nonsense. It is an assault on children.

dan dempsey said...

The url for the budget shows the funding for the Student Learning Opportunities.

There was no appropriation for the PAS program. Ergo No money No program.

My mistake the Math Module analysis was all done by Wade Cole of WSIPP.

The urls are now listed at the bottom of my original posting.

dan dempsey said...

FYI - from the principals meeting I attended to find out about all the stuff coming down the pipe -- Like will I have a job next year at AI High School.

Here is information from a hand out:
Estimated by School District Impact of Conference 2008 Supplemental Budget for FY 2009

Student Learning Opportunities 2SSB 6673 as + and PAS elimination as -

Seattle +612,000 - 697,000

Bellevue +96,000 - 202,000

Lake Washington + 99,000 - 205,000

Shoreline + 61,000 - 137,000

Tacoma + 631,000 - 568,000

Clover Park + 305,000 - 264,000

Mt. Vernon + 232,000 - 142,000

Wahluke + 206,000 - 46,000

Royal +115,000 - 27,000

The above appears to be a method to fund districts that have a high poverty population somewhat better through Student Learning Opportunities. It is quite apparent if we look at the dollars a district gained or lost and compare that with Low Income percentage from the meals program. I think that ELL may also be a factor. (Just guessing as to why the numbers are the way they are)

Mt Vernon...90000...55%

State Avg.............36.80%

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to compare these numbers with previous years. I think it would show Washington State is not only becoming more diverse, but increasingly segregated. Mount Vernon and Tacoma (South Bay phenomena) have become magnets for the exodus of Latinos and African Americans from nearby communities.

Education has no impact. The key issue in communities is literacy and until school reformers acknowledge the low quality of the curriculum, their policies will be nothing more than added burdens to a miserably corrupted, disenfranchised school system. It serves absolutely no one, except the personal interests of petty administrators.

dan dempsey said...

I think you make an interesting point about literacy. This can be seen as the demise of Core Knowledge.

In short we don't seem to care much about teaching anybody much of anything as that just requires too much work on the part of everyone.

The Parents, the Teacher, the Kids and the Administrators would all have to get engaged in producing improvement.

It is just easier to give Johnny and Suzie some A grades and pass them to the next grade. That keeps the parents happy which in turn keeps the administrators happy.

Look at the total nonsense coming out of the UW's College of Education -- how can this be considered as leadership in education?

Unfortunately for many of us who have dedicated our lives to helping children learn this is a most unsatisfactory condition.

I think you will enjoy the recently posted interview with the head of NAMP, Larry Faulkner.

How could the schools have lost sight of ( the importance of fractions )?

Well, they did.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting that you mention fractions, because I believe one of the strongest linkages can be shown between proficiency with fractions and literacy.

How that relates to textbooks and teaching is, as yet, unanswered?

The reason, I believe, for this lack of interest is that the book writers don't see this as a pressing issue - they simply don't understand that the kids who matter most, don't understand the textbooks that they're given to read.

Having made this observation many times, it is asinine that teachers are being told to let students be more self-directed. It seems intentionally cynical. Naturally, as a parent and a teacher, I am angered by what I can only perceive to be intentional negligence on the part of school officials.

I am very disheartened and irritated by these officials. People should not allow themselves to be treated so poorly. Its their government and their money funding this stupidity.