Saturday, May 17, 2008

More from the Dana Center - Your Thoughts??

Try the following and see if you can deduce why it was worth OSPI paying the Charles A. Dana Center of the University of Texas at Austin $770,000 instead of $130,000 for the low bidder.

Adapted from:
Mathematics Instructional Materials Analysis: Supporting TEKS Implementation
Copyright 2006, 2007, Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin

Components of Quality Instructional Materials

Simply checking the instructional materials’ topics against a scope and sequence chart is not sufficient for determining the quality of the materials. For materials to earn a rating of high-quality in the Instructional Materials Analysis, they should:

• include the major goals of developing student’s problem-solving, reasoning, and communication skills;

• emphasize the development of conceptual understanding and connections among topics;

• allow ample opportunities for students to apply mathematics in realistic and meaningful situations;

• reflect high expectations for all students;

• include appropriate student assignments;

• promote students’ active involvement in learning mathematics;

• reflect an appropriate developmental sequence;

• provide alternative assessment instruments and methods;

• integrate the use of technology;

• reflect current research in mathematics education;

and above all,

• teach all the TEKS (including Basic Understandings or Introductory Paragraphs, Strands, Knowledge and Skills, and Student Expectations)

• meet the needs delineated in the curriculum documents for the Houston Independent School District (Vertical Alignment Matrix, Horizontal Alignment Planning Guide, TEKS/TAKS Correlation)


The above aligns perfectly with the decade of math nonsense promoted by Dr Bergeson.

If fairy tales could come true they might happen to you - is apparently the OSPI math direction.

You will note the absence of any emphasis on arithmetic skills. Seemingly numbers are hardly needed in Math Classes. This Dana Center recommendation stands in almost total opposition to the 2004 MSSG document that speaks to how to revise State Math Standards.

• reflect current research in mathematics education;
I wonder what that means? Perhaps it means that everything that comes out of the Dana Center is current research so do what the Center tells you to do.

This sound more like a Science Fiction Movie than a plan to improve math performance in one of the world's math laughing stock nations. USA PISA math scores are terrible and still falling - pretty easy to understand why with math leadership like this.

When do you suppose that the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations will enter the OSPI psyche if ever?


Anonymous said...

I think you are right - this little piece of punditry sounds very weak.

You wonder how much heart is left in two-bit hucksters, like Uri and Phil.

What research?
Who cares anymore?

Anonymous said...

The rationale for EDM is especially sinister when combined with group learning, since it presumes first that students are born with a limited potential intelligence.

That is they only rise to the level of their potential. This is why, for instance, five methods of subtraction are taught but the first four are non-standard algorithms and only work for natural numbers (ones you count with fingers). It is a perpetuation of failure in classrooms that leads to students dropping out of school. It is not a decision made arbitrarily or without justification.

This reform movement does the worst disservice to children and arguably the most racist aspect of EDM, since experienced teachers will immediately see through the deception and teach the standard algorithm first (only using non-standard methods to augment instruction, for instance when illustrating how to regroup.)