Friday, May 23, 2008
Math Standards Thoughts - Good Enough???
It is not sufficient to ask if the K-8 standards are better. Simply put [that means] they are [still] deficient and work remains to eliminate problems with measurability, clarity, specificity and vagueness.
David Orbits writes for the Blog as follows:
Standards are the critical foundation upon which accurate and effective assessment systems are built. These standards are inadequate. Standards with ambiguity, non-specificity, poor clarity and excessive breadth are anathema to a quality assessment system. The desire of many people to get these standards rapidly buttoned up is understandable but this desire should not be satisfied at the expense of clarity or a high quality and meaningful assessment system. The poor quality and expensive Math WASL assessment system should serve as a warning to all of the consequence of building an assessment system atop vague and nonspecific Math standards. The high math remediation rates at WA colleges underscore today’s problems with Math education. Worse still, one can only wonder how many promising students have veered away from a technical career because of inadequate math training.
The SBE accepted the K-8 standards anyway.
Think about the following points.
An inadequate standard leads to inadequate curriculum which leads to inadequate teaching which leads to inadequate student learning which leads to narrowed career options for WA students as they enter High School and later the workforce or College.
It is not sufficient to ask if the K-8 standards are better. Simply put they are deficient and work remains to eliminate problems with measurability, clarity, specificity and vagueness. This could be easily done if the Superintendent of Public Instruction chose to do so.
If any legislators attempt to paint sunshine on this situation, should they not first own up to the role the legislature has played in all this over the last 10 years.
While the legislature has been trying to improve the poor state of math education in WA they also share the responsibility for letting it get this bad. The data below is from OSPI or from reports sponsored by OSPI (WSU SESRC) or the legislature (WSIPP).
1. An on-time graduation rate of
.... 70.0% for Class Year 2004.
.... 74.3% for Class Year 2005.
.... 70.4% for Class Year 2006.
2. The wide and sustained gaps between the graduation rates of White/Asian students and the Black, Hispanic and American Indian minorities.
3. A 20 point deficit for Black/Hispanic students and 25 points for American Indians.
4. There has been no reduction in this deficit over the four years 2003-06. (2007 data not yet available).
5. 40% of WA 4th graders can’t pass the Math WASL.
6. 50% of 10th graders can’t pass the math WASL.
7. This has been going on for the last 10 years.
8. The wide and sustained gap in Math WASL pass rates among fourth graders between White, Black and Hispanic students.
9. This gap of almost 30 percentage points hasn’t changed appreciably in the last 10 years.
10. 50% to 60% of HS students attending 2 year colleges need to take remedial math to prepare them for college work.
11. This has been going on for 7 years (class years 2000-06). See SESRC at WSU.
The standards review process conducted by OSPI, the acceptance of inadequate K-8 math standards, and now the flawed current curriculum review process speak loudly that insular leadership and failing philosophies of the last 10 years are still shaping math education in WA.
How could it be otherwise with the same people in charge?