Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tacoma Before Saxon Math and After
Urban Legend dies

I just ran a spreadsheet of WASL data looking for the year to year change from Spring 2006 to Spring 2007 in WASL Math pass rates at grades 3,4,5,6,7

I took the Tacoma change and compared it with the state change.
If Tacoma went up 8% and the State went up 5% I recorded this as a 3% gain for Tacoma.

There seems to be a belief held by some that Saxon is difficult for minority students.
Data from California certainly suggests otherwise.

So I thought it would be interesting if the monumental Hook-Bishop-Hook study from California holds up in Tacoma.

It does. Reform math is trash for minority kids in fact almost every kid.
Why the USA continues to push this trash is beyond me. Clearly a great number of district level math curriculum folks would be loosing their jobs if this was a meritocracy. We all know it is a kakistocracy, so this is just more proof.

Here are the Changes for the last year before Saxon Math.
Spring 2005 to Spring 2006.

grade ... All ... ... Blacks ...White ..Low Income ...Hisp
4th ... -5.10% ...-0.40% ... -6.40% ... -4.50% ... -7.60%
7th ...... 0.20% ... 1.00% ... -1.20% ... -0.10% ... -3.30%

All Grade
average -2.45%.. 0.30%.. -3.80%.. -2.30%.. -5.45%

And from the Saxon Year.....

grade ... All ... ... Blacks ...White ..Low Income ...Hisp

3rd .. 6.70% .. 8.60% .. 5.30% .. 6.60% .. 8.60%
4th .. 3.50% .. 0.70% .. 3.30% .. 5.80% .. 10.20%
5th .. 4.30% .. 4.70% .. 4.20% .. 4.80% .. -2.40%
6th .. 7.50% .. 5.70% .. 7.70% .. 8.70% .. 12.60%
7th .. 4.20% .. 0.80% .. 5.60% .. 3.20% .. 5.50%

All Grade
average 5.24%.. 4.10%.. 5.22%.. 5.82%.. 6.90%

Saxon is a clear winner after year one.....
It is too bad we only have the WASL ... we need a math test.

Anxious America ... how about Foster High School?
or just WA State Education's continuing Fiascos

Thomas Friedman wrote the following in the New York Times:

Here is a classic quote from his editorial:

"My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working."

Friedman looks at the politics of today and finds it incapable of doing anything.

The nation is confronted by major obstacles and the substantive response is nothing.

He does not mention math or education.

You could certainly insert those topics along with Dr. Bergeson, the SBE and most school boards and produce an excellent fit with Mr. Friedman's thesis.

As our education system continues its decline it is amazing to watch more of the same presented as a solution. I just have a really hard time arguing against Tom Friedman.

Consider this from The Tukwila School District:

POSITION: Secondary Math Instructional Coach at Showalter Middle School and Foster High School

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The position provides instructional development in content to accelerate professional learning. The coach creates a partnership environment where teachers engage in collaborative conversations. The coach establishes a relationship with teachers and facilitates instructional growth though observation, analysis, dialogue, demonstration, problem solving and application of best practices, highly effective and research-based instructional strategies. The coach is supervised by the Executive Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Programs and takes direction from the building principal. The position will serve both Foster High School and Showalter Middle School.

Salary: based on placement on 2008-2009 Certificated Salary Schedule
FTE: 1.0 FTE
Type of Contract: Provisional contract
Union Affiliation: Tukwila Education Association
Benefits: Employee medical/family dental/family vision/long term disability/retirement/sick leave/personal leave/emergency leave/$1200 per FTE for classroom supplies or payment/TRI program (ranges from $4,600-$8,500 per FTE in additional compensation)/Longevity/Retention Incentive (ranges from $400-$2,300 per
FTE)/National Board stipend of $1,000 per FTE (in addition to the state stipend of
$10,000 per FTE)

QUALIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform the responsibilities satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the requirements that would enable an individual to perform at appropriate levels. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with
disabilities to meet the required responsibilities.

1. Valid Washington State teaching certificate with Math certification and/or appropriate endorsement to be highly qualified.
2. Minimum five years highly successful experience as a middle or high school classroom teacher.
3. Knowledge of and experience with Understanding by Design and cognitive coaching preferred.
4. Significant multicultural experience and expertise preferred.
5. Ability to work and plan effectively with groups.
6. Training and experience in problem solving and group process methods.
7. Experience in initiating, developing, and presenting instructional and informational programs for staff.

8. Experience with analyzing assessment data and applying it to program planning.
9. Willingness to work in collaboration with teachers and administrators in developing and delivering standard-
based curriculum.

10. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
11. Knowledge and understanding of state and federal rules and regulations impacting school improvement
planning and implementation.
12. Knowledge and understanding of district goals and their impact on school improvement planning and
13. Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain successful and positive working relationships with students,
staff, parents, and the community.
14. Demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize responsibilities and assigned tasks for efficient use of time.

If a person could effectively do #8 above..... How could they possible consider #9 delivering standard-
based curriculum
as a reasonable course of action.

It should be noted the grade 10 WASL Math scores have been falling in TSD relative to the state. The state math scores at grade 10 have risen 2.2% in passing rate from 2005 to 2008. The grade 10 WASL Math passing rate announced for Spring 2008 is just below 50%.

WASL MATH grade 10

Year .....District ... State
2004-05 ... 35.0% ... 47.5%
2005-06 ... 34.1% ... 51.0%
2006-07 ... 28.1% ... 50.4%

Spring 2008 rate from OSPI not yet available for Foster High School etc.

It would seem a different approach is needed.
Tom Friedman could speak in King County and his words would certainly apply.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summary: Washington’s Math Problem

Summary: Washington’s Math Problem

Under Terry Bergeson’s administration, inquiry-based math was instituted in 80% of WA schools. Inquiry-based math stripped proficiency of basic math skills from the classroom and encouraged rampant calculator use and dependence. The results have been disastrous for WA students.

• 1..After a decade of OSPI’s pushing inquiry-based math on WA schools for the sake of increasing WASL scores, 50% of 10th graders still can’t pass the math WASL.

• 2..Over 50% of WA 2 year college students need remediation in math, costing students and taxpayers extra time and money.

• 3..Over 60 UW professors signed a letter to the legislature attesting to the declining math skills of incoming students over the past decade, forcing them to simplify the math content of their courses.

• 4..Tutoring has tripled in the last decade.

WA math education is hurting minority, low-income, and ELL students the most:

• 2007 math WASL passage rates were only 22.5% for African American students, 25.6% for Hispanic students, 10.7 % for ELL students, and 30.5% for low income students1.

• Over the last decade the achievement gap has continually grown.

• Inquiry-based programs purport to make math more accessible to disadvantaged students but school districts that have faithfully adhered to inquiry-based programs have widening achievement gaps.

WA students need to be internationally competitive:

• The National Science Board indicates that the growth of jobs in the mathematics-intensive science and engineering workforce is outpacing overall job growth by 3:1.

• Math is the universal language of technology, which drives our economy and national security. The National Math Panel warns that it is “fundamental to recognize that the safety of the nation and the quality of life—not just the prosperity of the nation—are at issue”.

• “For the high tech industry, it's about attracting the "best and the brightest" from overseas as the U.S. educational system struggles to produce graduates skilled in math and science. Microsoft has 3,000 U.S. job openings that it can't fill because it can't find qualified people or can't hire them from overseas because of existing immigration restrictions, Krumholtz said.”

Despite legislation to correct the current math failure, Terry Bergeson’s math education agenda continues to be driven by ideology rather than data, and is concerned more about process than results.

• OSPI has manipulated the standards and curriculum selection process to allow curriculum choices that will continue the status quo7. OPSI repeatedly minimized public input and stacked decision making committees with pro-inquiry, non-math specialists. Without a change in this biased and unprofessional approach, it is likely the result will be another decade of the same failing curricula and the same disastrous results.

• After spending nearly 1.5 million dollars, OPSI’s draft standards were so poor the State Legislature took the responsibility away from OSPI and gave it to a private consulting firm under the direction of the State Board of Education.
(See SB 6534)

• Pro-inquiry educators claim that their methodology is “research-based”; however, the National Math Panel report cited more than 16,000 studies on math instruction which were found unsuitable because they were not conducted with scientific rigor, thereby preventing any significant conclusions about math instruction methods.

We need a State Superintendent who is willing to follow the National Math Panel’s recommendations to improve math. Without a major shift away from inquiry-based math, WA children will be doomed to mediocrity in our global economy.

• Continued use of the same math programs is not the answer. The new, “updated” editions of inquiry programs still allow excessive calculator use and downplay or ignore the importance of standard computation methods that the National Math Panel cites as critical for success in “authentic” algebra. Why continue this harmful experiment when there are products that have proven success?

• The students in China’s gifted program exceed the total US K-12 population. India’s for-profit, private school population also exceeds the entire US K-12 population.

• The math curricula of top performing countries outpace our newly revised standards by roughly two years11. This cuts short future career opportunities and the millions of higher skilled workers around the world will take the best jobs.

Summary: Washington’s Math Solutions

Washington State has a golden opportunity to lead the nation by incorporating the recommendations set forth by the National Math Panel12 in the WA math standards revision and curriculum recommendations. Anything less will short-change our children.

Where’s The Math’s Specific Suggestions:

1. Clear, rigorous math standards that are pedagogy-neutral and keep pace with top countries.

2. Quality textbooks that are coherent and focused on proficiency of key topics at each grade. They should have clear examples/explanations and balance conceptual understanding; computational fluency and problem-solving skills. Textbooks that do not fully support the level of computational fluency recommended and described by the National Math Panel (automatic recall of basic math facts, fluency of the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and fluency with fractions) should not be endorsed by WA.

3. Useful assessments that require answers in math terms and provide diagnostics.

4. Safety nets for students with learning gaps and opportunities for students to excel.

5. Find ways to attract and retain more math teachers. Require professional development in math content.

6. Options for 3rd year of High School math other than Alg II.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teacher Preparation ??? Math for Elementary School Teachers

Dave Orbits has this to report:

This is an extraordinary report.
See their web page for the executive summary.

The people trying to tell everyone how to teach K-12 students don’t seem to know how to teach their own college students so they can competently teach elementary school math. After 100+ years of compulsory educations the uneven quality of math instruction in elementary schools is just stunning. It appears the root of that problem is in the ed schools. It makes you want to cry. I’ve pasted the 8 findings from the exec summary below. Neither UW or WSU were among the sample of 77 ed schools they considered. Too bad, I wonder how they would have measured up? I also wonder what OSPI is doing in terms of establishing teacher training standards? The combination of findings 4 and 5 (see below) along with the high math remediation rates of HS grads suggests that some teachers may only have the math competency of a middle school student.

Finding 1:

Few education schools cover the mathematics content that elementary teachers need. In fact, the education schools in our sample are remarkable for having achieved little consensus about what teachers need. There is one unfortunate area of agreement: a widespread inattention to algebra.

Finding 2:

States contribute to the chaos. While most state education agencies issue guidelines for the mathematics preparation of elementary teachers, states do not appear to know what is needed.

Finding 3:

Most education schools use mathematics textbooks that are inadequate. The mathematics textbooks in the sample varied enormously in quality. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the courses use no textbook or a textbook that is inadequate in one or more of four critical areas of mathematics. Again, algebra is shortchanged, with no textbook providing the strongest possible support.

Finding 4:

Almost anyone can get in. Compared to the admissions standards found in other countries, American education schools set exceedingly low expectations for the mathematics knowledge that aspiring teachers must demonstrate.

Finding 5:

Almost anyone can get out. The standards used to determine successful completion of education schools’ elementary teacher preparation programs are essentially no different than the low standards used to enter those programs.

Finding 6:

The elementary mathematics in mathematics methods coursework is too often relegated to the sidelines. In particular, any practice teaching that may occur fails to emphasize the need to capably convey mathematics content to children.

Finding 7:

Too often, the person assigned to teach mathematics to elementary teacher candidates is not professionally equipped to do so. Commendably, most elementary content courses are taught within mathematics departments, although the issue of just who is best qualified and motivated to impart the content of elementary mathematics to teachers remains a conundrum.

Finding 8:

Almost anyone can do the work. Elementary mathematics courses are neither demanding in their content nor their expectations of students.

Math Panel Meeting June 12, 2008

Math Panel Meeting
June 12, 2008
Puget Sound ESD, Renton
Members Present: Bob Brandt, Jane Broom, Dr. Helen Burn, Dr. Christopher Carlson, Timothy Christensen, Bob Dean, Danaher Dempsey, Dr. Elham Kazemi, Linh-Co Nguyen, Dr. Larry Nyland, Amanda Shearer-Hannah, Dr. Kimberly Vincent
Board Members: Steve Floyd, Dr. Terry Bergeson, Bunker Frank, Linda Lamb,
Warren T. Smith

Staff: Edie Harding and Brad Burnham

Draft Report on Math Standards Revision for Algebra II
Linda Plattner, Strategic Teaching
Linda reviewed some of the questions that have been posed or exist for Algebra II in the work of the Math Panel and Strategic Teaching, such as the role for Algebra II in preparing students for college math. Algebra II serves at least three groups of students: those heading toward math-intensive careers such as engineering, those heading toward college or other training that require limited amounts of mathematics, such as journalism; and those for which Algebra II may be their last formal mathematics course.
Linda also discussed the process used by Strategic Teaching to review and recommend changes to the Algebra II standards. Strategic teaching modified some of the structure, added a “solving problem” section, similar to Algebra I. They reorganized the document so that Algebra II is parallel to Algebra I and stresses the types of functions that are studied. The language is also simplified in language of some sections. Content was added in a few key cases based on three documents that have increased in importance since the March 5 draft, Achieve, National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and the Washington College Readiness Standards.
Linda also highlighted similarities and differences between the March 5 version of the standards and Strategic Teaching’s recommended revisions. She also invited the panel members to send her comments via email by June 18th to augment what was discussed during the meeting. The presentation included the following information:
Similarities in Content
 Includes all of the functions in March 5 version
 Includes statistics
 Includes Core Processes
 Adds “solving problem” section
• Parallel to Algebra I
 Expands functions
• Logarithm functions - Achieve’s Algebra II Exam
• Sine, cosine, tangent functions – Introduced in Geometry
• Simple rationale functions - National Math Panel
• Includes adding and subtracting functions – Washington College Readiness Standards
 Adds probability
• Moved up from grade 9
 Compacts statistics
• Restricted “inferences,” “bias,” “analyze…misleading,” “defend conclusions”
 Simplifies Core Process language
Questions and comments during the presentation and after the breakout sessions:
The Math Panel members and Linda discussed the inclusion of some strands in the standards, such as statistics, which would possibly move the standards away from traditional Algebra II. There was also discussion of the inclusion of logarithms, inverse functions, probability, exponentials, complex numbers, and discreet data. All agreed of the importance of the strands but there was disagreement about whether they should be included in the Algebra II. The inclusion of these strands may help students not taking any additional math in high school or college, however, some strands may not be necessary for students continuing in mathematics through high school and into college.
Some panel members were worried about any additional requirements deviating from traditional Algebra due to the added number of topics the teacher would need to cover and the added complexity they would create for some students. The inclusion of them may make it more difficult for struggling students to do well in the course. Some thought that some of the strands were related to each other and would need to be treated together, such as logarithms and inverse functions. A majority of the math panel members believed that complex numbers should be given some attention in Algebra II but not fully developed. Computation with complex numbers should be saved for Algebra II.
Some panel members thought that the inclusion of some statistics would benefit most students but to take out the higher level elements of it in the standards. Some panel members thought that students would need an introduction of statistics in math classes to be prepared for some science classes. The discussion of the inclusion of statistics ended with a discussion of having the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the SBE Science Panel consider including statistics in the science standards.
Linda stated that the Algebra I and Geometry standards had changed very little done since the last version. Next, Linda explained how Strategic Teaching approached the introductory piece of the standards and highlighted some areas that were pulled out to be addressed more specifically. One new area in the introduction, which panel members appreciated having in the document, was a statement about what the standards were not intended to be.
The discussion moved to the Comments/Examples column of the document and whether it should be stated to be an official part of the standards, which are the column under Performance Expectations or a supplement to those standards. Some panel members recalled other states’ standards including some or all of their comments in the standards. Some panel members thought that the inclusion of the comments may help clarify parts and lessen the variation in lessons that students receive from teachers. Other panel members pointed out that the comments/examples were not written with the intent of inclusion in the standards. Other panel members were concerned about the comments being included because pedagogy occasionally appears in them. There was further discussion of whether the examples should be at random levels of complexity or illustrate the maximum degree of depth for students to learn. Linda maintained that she felt the standards pertain only to the performance expectations as examples will continue to grow over time.
Math panel members reviewed and commented on Strategic Teaching’s draft language about calculator use. Many panel members liked some of the language that Strategic Teaching used to address their use, such as paragraph four and five. Some panel members were concerned that the language was not strong enough and should be explicit about calculators not being used in grades K-5. These panel members were worried about students’ reliance on calculators for simple math. They see students turning to calculators in high school for simple multiplication and division. Other panel members were worried about dictating how a tool should or shouldn’t be used and that the teachers or schools should be able to determine when a tool is appropriate for use in the classroom. It was agreed that the technology language needed further work but that an outright ban on calculators was inappropriate.
The State Board of Education will consider approval of the Strategic Teaching report on the high school mathematics standards at its July 23-24 Board meeting. The public is welcome to submit comments to the Board prior to that meeting or to provide public comment at the meeting.
The Math Panel will resume meeting in the fall of 2008 to review the new OSPI proposed curricular menus for elementary, middle and high school. The Board is in the process of advertising nationally for a consultant to assist them and the Math Panel with this effort and expects to make a decision on the consultant by mid July.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Professional Development in MATH???

In looking around at jobs that involve Math Coaching and also listening to OSPI discuss professional development I am becoming convinced that OSPI et al. have no idea what should be happening.

I received the following from Steve Wilson, PhD. of Johns Hopkins University; think about professional development in the light of Steve's letter.

Sat with a Korean mathematician friend today
on our boat trip. He explained to me the
math courses that an elementary school
teacher in South Korea must have:

Euclidean Geometry
Linear Algebra
Real Analysis
discrete math

and those a high school teacher must have

the above, and
complex analysis
year of abstract algebra
numerical analysis
number theory
more topology
differential geometry
non-Euclidean geometry

are we catching up yet?


The WASL and the IOWA tests ITBS

Click on either chart above to enlarge it.
The WASL improvement at either grade 10 or grade 7 is not reflected in any corresponding improvement in IOWA scores .

Grade 6 ITBS and Grade 7 WASL appear in the top chart.
Grade 9 ITED and Grade 10 WASL appear in the bottom chart.

Dino Rossi said:
We have a plan to make several meaningful education reorms, including replacing the WASL with Aamerica's best standardized test and require (sic) students to meet fair and rigorous standards to graduate. The incumbent still supports the failed WASL test with no math and science requirement.
The Gov said:
Record investments have been made in K-12 education, preparing students for the global economy. These investments have paid off, as more than 90 percent of high school seniors recently passed the WASL.

No wonder we are in the mess we are in ..... Leadership in Education and in Energy in this nation is non-existent.

From the News Tribune:
For Rossi, the WASL is a neat wedge issue because the Washington Education Association, the state's largest teacher union and a reliable supporter of Democrats, detests the WASL. The WEA is out to defeat the re-election bid of state schools chief Terry Bergeson, the prime architect of the test.

The WEA isn't backing off its support for Gregoire, however. The group invited her to speak to its recent annual meeting in Spokane. Bergeson wasn't invited.

For the record, Rossi is correct that the current WASL does not include math or science components, which lawmakers delayed for a few years. The 90 percent pass rate Gregoire cited would certainly have been lower had that not been the case.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Standards-Based Plan is everywhere and undisputed ... Why??

Here is what I see most everywhere in job applications for math teaching or coaching see #9 below....

This one is for Math Coaching in Tukwila:

6. Training and experience in problem solving and group process methods.
7. Experience in initiating, developing, and presenting instructional and informational programs for staff.
8. Experience with analyzing assessment data and applying it to program planning.
9. Willingness to work in collaboration with teachers and administrators in developing and delivering standard-based curriculum.
10. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

So why would these folks be waiting any longer for this standard-based plan to work?

Check it out below.

2006-07 WASL Results (Administration Info)
Grade Level ... Reading .. Math .. Writing .. Science
3rd Grade ...... 49.0% .... 45.4%
4th Grade ...... 56.0% .... 30.0% .. 49.0%
5th Grade ...... 56.9% .... 40.7% .......... .... 29.0%
6th Grade ...... 38.9% .... 19.4%
7th Grade ...... 49.8% .... 32.2% .. 46.8%
8th Grade ...... 42.3% .... 26.3% .......... .... 24.2%
10th Grade .... 58.3% .... 28.1% .... 68.2% .. 12.7%

4th Grade Math

Year ..... District ... State
1996-97 ... 7.5% ... 21.4%
1997-98 ... 21.7% ... 31.2%
1998-99 ... 28.6% ... 37.3%
1999-00 ... 24.2% ... 41.8%
2000-01 ... 26.2% ... 43.4%
2001-02 ... 39.9% ... 51.8%
2002-03 ... 26.7% ... 55.2%
2003-04 ... 37.6% ... 59.9%
2004-05 ... 42.7% ... 60.8%
2005-06 ... 47.9% ... 58.9%
2006-07 ... 30.0% ... 58.1%

7th Grade Math

Year ... District ... State
1997-98 ..... 4.6% ... 20.1%
1998-99 ... 13.6% ... 24.2%
1999-00 ... 21.4% ... 28.2%
2000-01 ... 18.0% ... 27.4%
2001-02 ... 25.0% ... 30.4%
2002-03 ... 22.1% ... 36.8%
2003-04 ... 28.4% ... 46.3%
2004-05 ... 27.5% ... 50.8%
2005-06 ... 32.5% ... 48.5%
2006-07 ... 32.2% ... 54.6%

10th Grade Math

Year ... District ... State
1998-99 ... 18.7% ... 33.0%
1999-00 ... 18.8% ... 35.0%
2000-01 ... 12.8% ... 38.9%
2001-02 ... 14.4% ... 37.3%
2002-03 ... 17.6% ... 39.4%
2003-04 ... 28.5% ... 43.9%
2004-05 ... 35.0% ... 47.5%
2005-06 ... 34.1% ... 51.0%
2006-07 ... 28.1% ... 50.4%

Math WASL score Difference between Tukwila and State in Spring 2007:

grade 4 .... -18.1%

grade 7 .... -22.4%

grade 10 .... -22.3%

How long is it wise to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results?

Idaho Math Happenings

Idaho Hopes to Improve Math Instruction -- HERE

Idaho hopes to improve math instruction

- The Associated Press
Edition Date: 06/20/08

.......Brendefur has patterned his approach on research on Dutch arithmetic instruction and has already brought math instruction training to a few Idaho schools. He has now been asked to transform his small program into a statewide plan.

"It is daunting," Brendefur told the Idaho Statesman.

The state wants every math teacher trained within five years and has agreed to pay for the training for teachers who complete the program within three years. Teachers who do not complete the training in that time must foot the bill.

Under the old way, teachers would present math as abstract numbers and ask students to relate the numbers back to real life with "word problems."

Using Brendefur's approach, teachers shouldn't tell kids how to do math, but build problems they can understand and teach them why and how math works.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sudhakar and Dave discuss
.................2 Million Minutes

A conversation about Jay Mathews’ debate
with Bob Comption of Two Million Minutes

I sought permission to create and then forward this compilation of messages discussing a recent debate between Bob Compton, Two Million Minutes executive producer, and Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews.

The two correspondents are active in Where’s the Math? in Washington state and have continuously offered special insight in the math and/or general education issues. Sudhakar Kudva is a retired Intel scientist/engineer/senior manager. He has a PhD in Engineering and an MBA. David Orbits is a retired hardware/software engineer, who specialized in writing specifications.

The last message from Sudhakar, a native of India, is loaded with data that compare the human “capacity” of China, India, and the United States. If you just look at the numbers, we have a major problem staring us in the face.


1) From: Bob Compton
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 4:17 AM
Subject: CNBC - Compton Debates Washington Post Reporter

Two Million Minutes Executive Producer, Bob Compton, was invited back for a second time to Erin Burnett's show Street Signs, this time to debate veteran Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews. Jay has been the most vocal critic of Two Million Minutes starting with his February 11, 2008, article “One Dad's Campaign to Save America” and continuing in a 2,500 word essay in the recent Wilson Quarterly entitled “Bad Rap on the Schools.”

Keep in mind I have deep respect for Jay's knowledge of American education, but as Jay confesses, on the show, his understanding of Indian and Chinese education comes only from vague references to conversations with unnamed "correspondents" who allegedly keep him informed on the rapid educational changes occurring in the two most populous countries in the world. Jay has never been to India and was last in China in 1989, nearly 20 years ago.

When Jay wrote the excellent book Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools, he did extensive, in-depth primary research, going so far as to take the grueling IB exam himself. I admire that level of immersion in a subject before writing about it.

But when it comes to reporting on education in India and China, for Jay to rely solely on third party "correspondents" as his source of information, is simply not up to his historically high standards.

From: On Behalf Of Sudhakar Kudva
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 5:31 PM
Subject: [wheresthemath] Fw: CNBC - Compton Debates Washington Post Reporter

Interesting CNBC interview. I agree with Bob's recommendation to Jay Mathews to "get out more".

2) From: David Orbits
To: 'Sudhakar Kudva' ;
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: [wheresthemath] Fw: CNBC - Compton Debates Washington Post Reporter

The position that Jay Mathews took was pretty astonishing. It basically amounted to a claim that our system of government / freedoms will trump the superior education that relatively few are getting in India and China because our systems promote and reward innovation / invention.

This is bunk. Similar claims about lack of innovation/creativity were made about the Japanese back in the 60s and 70s. In the 60s "made in Japan" was often synonymous with shoddy products. Nobody says that today about products from Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Sharp, Lexus, Toyota, etc. Not to mention products made in Korea and Taiwan.

I never understood why some people claimed back in the 60's and 70's that we didn't have to be worried about competition from Japan because western folks had the edge on creativity. Tell that to the US auto companies today. Back then they were willing to cede the low end of the car market to Japan because they couldn't make a profit on econo-boxes. Well, Toyota could and the rest is history. Some may recall the early 80's when the Auto industry was demanding relief from auto imports from Japan. "The quotas were imposed in response to pleas by the U.S. auto industry that it needed time to grow strong enough to compete with the imports on the free market." (see )

The biggest reason to be worried about the people of India and China is they are unblocked by their governments and they are hungry. I have no numbers but I strongly suspect that they have more students eager to advance and win in the harder technical subjects than we do. More importantly I suspect their rate of increase in technical graduates is higher too. Meanwhile lots of US freshmen are spending time taking remedial math.

We in the west have no special advantage, granted us by evolution, on learning math or learning science or creativity or leadership or desire. In my opinion our biggest shortcoming is simply lack of desire.

3) From: "Sudhakar Kudva"
To: ; "David Orbits"
Subject: Re: [wheresthemath] Fw: CNBC - Compton Debates Washington Post Reporter
Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 5:47 PM

I noted some inconsistencies in Jay's arguments as well, and sent them to the host Erin Burnett. Jay mentions that they need a strong middle class in India to buy American goods. But the last time I checked, Indians were buying anything BUT American. The most popular car is a Suzuki. The most popular phone is Nokia. The most popular truck is made by Tata, locally. The most popular TV is a Sony. The most popular fridge is a Lucky Goldstar (Korean). The most popular movies are made in Bollywood in Bombay. The most popular game is Cricket, a British sport. Conversely, almost nothing is manufactured or engineered in America any more. Clothes and electronics are made in China, Korea or Taiwan. Expensive luxury goods are made in Japan or Europe. So, I kept wondering, what exactly is Jay expecting the well-off middle class Indians to buy from America? The second inconsistency I saw is that he mentioned that it was people like Bob who were the driving force of the US economy. And there was Bob, effectively telling Jay in his face, that his creativity is nothing without experienced computer programmers from India and China. I thought this guy Jay lived on Mars, because he seemed to by completely out of touch with reality.

4) From: "Sudhakar Kudva"
To: "nikihayes"
Subject: Re: Jay Mathews bunk
Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:48 PM

I don't think many people have looked into the numbers behind this problem. Bob Compton started to bring them up, but he got shut down by Erin.

I firmly believe that we have crossed the turning point in history when a majority of innovations (creative or otherwise) came from the US. And the momentum is favoring the emerging economies. Bob mentioned that India has about 212 million people in their K-12 system, and China has about 194 million people. One anomaly you will notice right away is that China has a larger adult population and total population (around 1.3 billion) while India's total population is about 1.1 billion. The us has about 53 million people in the K-12 system. According to the movie 2 million minutes, about one third of India's students are educated in private schools, and can be expected to pass high school with a rigorous curriculum. And about one third of China's students are in the gifted programs, and they can be expected to pass high school, and go on to higher studies. If we add up only these two numbers from India and China, it amounts to about 134 million high school graduates who have received excellent education over a 13 year period. If we even assume that 83% of the US students receive world class education and pass high school (a highly optimistic figure, in my opinion), the number of high school grads over a 13 year period comes to about 44 million. Now compare 130 million to 40 million. That is a workforce over 3 times the magnitude arrayed in competition with our graduates, from just two countries. Now factor in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Finland, Singapore, Russia, Brazil, Western Europe, Eastern Europe... the numbers climb even higher. This kind of lopsided equation has never happened in modern history. I think all other historical comparisons between the US and USSR, US and Japan, US and the British Empire, etc. pale in comparison with the current situation. In every case, the number of trained people in the US workforce was either roughly the same, or higher. The impact of such an imbalance is only starting to get felt, with global food and commodity shortages. I think this is far from over. As they say, "you ain't seen nothin' yet".

There was a study conducted by the Bill Gates foundation, called the Silent Epidemic" (attached), which looked into some of the reasons why high school kids drop out. One of the most consistent responses (about 80%) was that the students felt the work given in their classes was not challenging enough. These are the STUDENTS talking, not the teachers, parents or administrators. So, why then do we have an erosion in rigor over the last few decades? Is it the system, which acts like it is made for adults and not children? Is it the overworked parents who are too tired to follow up on their kids' progress? Is it the culture that values sports over academics? My take is all of the above, and then some.

Where is Singapore Math??

In looking at the resent posts, I find it interesting that there is very little mention in the media of Singapore Math.

Could it be that there is not enough money to be made on pushing the Singapore Math Curriculum?

I just know that if results entered the media decicison making equation matrix we would be hearing a lot more about Singapore Math.

Top Students Stagnate Under NCLB

From EdWeek...


Achieve + Dana Center = ????

June 16, 2008
Mapping Out the Math

A new Web site takes a stab at spelling out the essential grade-by-grade math standards that students need from kindergarten through high school.

Not only that, the site provides model course sequences, model classroom activities, and even sample test questions for math-oriented educators who want to put those standards into practice.

It's the product of a partnership between Achieve, a Washington organization that advocates higher academic standards, and the Charles A. Dana Center, an education research hub at the University of Texas at Austin.

The new site builds on math benchmarks Achieve created for the American Diploma Project, aimed at describing the skills students need for college and the workplace. The site back-tracks and sets expectations through early grades, essentially showing what it takes to get to a level of high school preparation.

Obama's Education Adviser

Obama has selected Jeanne Century to be his education adviser.

Check her out here:

She holds a K-8 teaching certificate, an undergraduate degree in general science, and a masters and doctorate in Science Education Curriculum and Teaching.

{That is a common background for many who bring forth reform math and push it. Check your local school district office.... the PhD may be missing but the lack of High School experience and the lack of a Degree in a high level math intensive field is often the case.}

She worked with NSF grants for inquiry based science curricula.
Century's past work includes her role as a curriculum writer on two NSF-funded comprehensive inquiry-based curricula, one focusing on K-6 (currently published as Insights) and the other focusing on middle level.

CEMSE is U of Chicago's front for math and science education "research" and grants.

Andy Isaacs is one of the co-directors of CEMSE.
He is also one of the developers of Everyday Math.

Notice that on the page that describes Ms. Century on the right side appears this:

Project Sites

* Everyday Mathematics
* Fidelity of Implementation
* Sustainability of Reform


* CEMSE participates in Science in the City 2007
* Everyday Mathematics Restructuring School Project enters its second year


It appears another Federally produced disaster is in the making.....

Remember Inquiry = Cognitive Curriculum

and the Graph HERE
from Project Follow Through

NY Times on SAT & High School grades .....
............. [ WASL?? ]

Tamar Lewin, in the today's NY Times, wrote an article called
"Study finds little benefit in new SAT".

It describes how the addition of the writing test "did not substantially change how predictive the test is of first-year college performance. " She then goes on to quote in detail a SAT foe and note that many colleges have dropped the requirement for standardized test scores.

As you may know often reporters do not have the background qualifications to analyze statistics properly. The following comes from an eminently qualified research scientist viewing this situation.

Looking at the studies in question.....

It is clear that these are some of the best educational assessment studies ever conducted. Each student population is analyzed with respect to each individual institution rather than the whole: 151,000 students and 110 colleges. The results are then amalgamated and weighted by size of the institution. There is no study of high school math achievement that is in the same galaxy of methodology. No WASL study is in the same universe. The 2 studies show remarkable predictive power. SAT scores are as predictive of freshman college grades as are high school grades. The correlation of the SAT is r=0.53 and high school grades 0.54, and together are 0.62 (a high
correlation >0.6). The SAT+HS is especially predictive in the subgroups of selective colleges (0.65) and small colleges (0.67). The second study examines how close the predictions are and finds males are slightly underestimated and females overestimated by both the SAT and high school grades. All minority subgroups correlate better for the SAT than high school grades, and using both, are predictive for every subgroup above 0.54.

In summary, a 3-3/4 hour test can predict how you will do in the freshman year of college better than high school grades, in all groups except males, where they are very close, and together they are very predictive. Ms. Lewin is way off base here, as the data don't support her bias against standardized tests, specifically the SAT. The WASL would show very different findings.

These findings suggest that while colleges may not require the SAT, and may be willing to look at your math achievement notebook instead, you would be very unwise to forgo a standardized test without very good reason, if you want to get into college.

High Achieving Students in the NCLB world

From the Fordham folks comes this

Blog Bonanza from Ed Week

Here is a link to EdWeek blogs and recommended blogs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jay Matthews with Bob Compton
2 Million Minutes

Sudhakar makes some great points...

I noted some inconsistencies in Jay's arguments as well, and sent them to the host Erin Burnett. Jay mentions that they need a strong middle class in India to buy American goods. But the last time I checked, Indians were buying anything BUT American. The most popular car is a Suzuki. The most popular phone is Nokia. The most popular truck is made by Tata, locally. The most popular TV is a Sony. The most popular fridge is a Lucky Goldstar (Korean). The most popular movies are made in Bollywood in Bombay. The most popular game is Cricket, a British sport. Conversely, almost nothing is manufactured or engineered in America any more. Clothes and electronics are made in China, Korea or Taiwan. Expensive luxury goods are made in Japan or Europe. So, I kept wondering, what exactly is Jay expecting the well-off middle class Indians to buy from America? The second inconsistency I saw is that he mentioned that it was people like Bob who were the driving force of the US economy. And there was Bob, effectively telling Jay in his face, that his creativity is nothing without experienced computer programmers from India and China. I thought this guy Jay lived on Mars, because he seemed to be completely out of touch with reality.


What is Missing from Math Standards ??

HERE is National Math Advisory Panelist William Schmidt's view.

What's Missing from Math Standards?

Focus, Rigor, and Coherence

By William H. Schmidt

Why do some countries, like Singapore, Korea, and the Czech Republic, do so much better than the United States in math? I've heard all sorts of reasons; diversity and poverty top the list. But after some 15 years conducting international research, I am convinced that it's the diversity and poverty of U.S. math standards—not the diversity and poverty of U.S. students—that are to blame.

The single most important result of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is that we now know that student performance is directly related to the nature of the curricular expectations. I do not mean the instructional practices. I mean the nature of what it is that children are to learn within schools. (In the U.S., the curricular expectations are usually referred to as standards; in other countries they are known by various names.) After all, what is more central to schooling than those things we, as a society, have chosen to pass on to our children?

The TIMSS research has revealed that there are three aspects of math expectations, or standards, that are really important: focus, rigor, and coherence. Let's take a brief look at each.

More follows HERE

Bob Dean says.... NO NO!!!

Sorry about the formating but if you wish it as a correctly formated word doc write me at


Comments on the Algebra II Edited Expectations
Developed by Strategic Teaching

A Report to the State Board of Education ... June 2008


In general, strong content standards provide clear guidance to teachers, curriculum and assessment developers, textbook publishers and others, so that one person’s interpretation of the central knowledge and skills students should learn at a particular grade will be comparable to someone else’s.

American Federation of Teachers

Sizing up State Standards 2008

What makes a good math standard? How is it used? What makes a bad math standard? What are the affects of bad standards? I hope to answer some of these questions in the brief report that follows.

I will start by saying I am deeply disappointed in the revised Washington Standards as edited by Strategic Teaching. I find the standards to be unsatisfactory and although slightly better than our existing Washington standards, they are a long way from being good standards. Good standards direct teachers to a common target. These standards fall far short of that goal.

The table below contains examples of both good and bad standards. The good standards come from Indiana and the American Diploma Project. The bad standards come mostly from the Strategic Teaching Algebra II edited expectations.
You should note the specificity of the strong standards. They include immediate examples in the standards. They are clear and directed and will insure that teachers are targeting students towards the same content. The weak standards provide no examples as part of the standards. They also are so vague that they provide teachers no clear direction. Teachers around the state using the weak standards will not teach students the same content. It is impossible to make an assessment from the weak standards that will fairly measure what all students might have been taught.

Examples of strong and weak content standards
Strong Standards Weak Standards

Examples from American Federation of Teachers MATH Understand how real and complex numbers are related, including plotting complex numbers as points in the plane. Example: Plot the points corresponding to 3-2i and 1+4i. Add these complex numbers and plot the result. How is this point related to the other two? (Algebra II)
Model and analyze real-world
situations by using patterns and functions. (Grades 9-12)

WA Algebra II Standards A2.1.A Select and justify functions and equations to model and solve problems.
WA Algebra II Standards A2.1.B Solve problems that can be represented by linear functions and systems of equations.
WA Algebra II Standards A2.1.C Solve problems that are represented by quadratic functions, equations, and inequalities.

WA Algebra II Standards A2.3.B Solve quadratic equations and inequalities, including equations with complex roots.

Indiana Algebra II Standards A2.3.4 Graph quadratic functions. Apply transformations to quadratic functions. Find and interpret
the zeros and maximum or minimum value of quadratic functions.

Example: Find the zeros for y = x2 - 4. If y = x2 - 4 has a maximum or minimum
value, give the ordered pair corresponding to the maximum or minimum point.

American Diploma Project Algebra Standards J3.5. Solve quadratic equations in one variable.

Example: Solve x² − x − 6 = 0 by recognizing that
x² − x − 6 = (x − 3)(x + 2) can be factored to obtain the two solutions x = 3 and x = -2

Example: Solve x² + 4x + 2 = 0 by using the quadratic formula or by completing the square.

The Edited Expectations contain few standards that measure up to the strong standards listed above. When standards are weak, assessments made from those standards are weak. The major flaw in our existing math WASL test is that the existing math standards are so vague it is impossible for a teacher to know what might be on the WASL test. This makes it impossible for the teacher to know what they must teach students.

I have given an example below that is typical of what teachers face with weak standards. The example is a WASL release problem from OSPI’s website. First, consider the standard that the problem is derived from.

Use concepts and procedures from multiple mathematics content strands in a given problem or situation; relate and use different mathematical models and representations of the same situation.
Washington GLE 5.1.1 & 5.1.2

After reading the standard, try to imagine what type of problem a student might be given to illustrate mastery of the standard. Now look at the problem below.

There is nothing wrong with the problem above. However, how would anyone know that this is the problem a student was supposed to know after reading the standard? How would a teacher know what to teach students? The plain fact is they wouldn’t know. In fact, teachers could teach almost anything and comply with the above standard. This is the major reason why students have not performed well on the WASL. Teachers have aligned to the standards but the standards have given no direction to teachers or students as to what they needed to learn. The example I have given above is typical of WASL problems.


The Washington Revised Standards that were presented by OSPI on March 5th contained the same flaws that I have pointed out above. Unfortunately, Strategic Teaching was instructed to revise those standards instead of totally rewriting them. This flawed foundation has led to flawed standards. The edited Algebra II standards are even worse than the March 5th standards. These standards should be rejected and rewritten in clear and concise language that anyone can understand. That is exactly what the original report by Strategic Teaching called for.

I want to go on record as being strongly against these standards. It is my recommendation that the State Board of Education reject them because of their lack of clarity and specificity. There are numerous other flaws in the revised standards but due to time limitations I will not bring them up in this report.

If the State Board of Education believes that it would be a drastic action to reject these standards after the time and money that has been spent on this process thus far, I would offer the following: We have spent over a billion dollars during the last decade trying to get students to pass the WASL. Much of the problem has been caused by poorly written math standards. Can we afford to start another decade with poorly written standards in order to come to a political compromise? Can we afford to have curriculum chosen and purchased based on these flawed standards? I think not…… I think the children of this state deserve better……. I hope you do too.

Bob Dean
Math Dept Chairman
Evergreen High School
State Board of Education
Math Advisory Panel
OSPI Standards Revision Team

SBE needs to Just Say NO
to vague Standards as presented

Dear Decision Makers,

As most of you are aware, I filed a Complaint in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to have OSPI and SBE obey the laws as written.

The k-8 Math Standards process was accelerated beyond what the law in SB 6534 specified. It is my contention that resulted in specific portions of SB 6534 being violated. As a result standards were approved that were of lower quality than what are needed to produce large and significant improvements in student mathematics performance. Currently "The World Class Internationally Competitive Standards" sought cannot become a reality in Washington.

Mr. Bob Dean sent you his analysis of the Algebra II standards. I am in agreement with him.

Mr Dean is concerned about a lack of uniformity of what will be taught in the classrooms of this state using these standards. I am also.

I have a further concern as to what Instructional Materials are likely to be selected. The IMR criteria process is exceptionally flawed thus far for k-8 as most of the secondary source materials in draft#2 have no business being there.

Of further concern is the likelihood of producing more of the same type of results we are currently living through.

Here are the scores for reading, math and writing at grade 10.
The testing of Spring 2006 was supposed to be the year of the big improvement as that was the first class that the WASL counted for graduation.. . Supposedly even Math counted... well we know where that went...

... Year...... Read ...... Math .... Write ..
... 2005 .... 72.9% .... 47.5% ... 65.2%

... 2006 .... 82.0% .... 51.0% ... 79.8%

... 2007 .... 80.8% .... 50.4% ... 83.9%

... 2008 .... 79.6% .... 49.7% ... 84.0%

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------
net change .. +6.7% ... +2.2% .. +18.8%

Clearly things are not getting better. With 2/3 of elementary students using either TERC/Investigations or Everyday Math and 80% of middle school students using Connected Math Project materials, do not look for a large improvement in grade 10 scores any time soon.

I remain concerned about the following language in OSPI IMR criteria draft#2:

One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards. When did this become part of the task required in SB6534?

When Standards are are as vague and imprecise as those coming from Strategic Teaching they leave the door wide open for huge interpretation.

One of my concerns is that virtually no one is taking any responsibility for the sorry state of Washington Mathematics. It is much easier to save face than save the children.

Comments like this One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards leads me to believe that the imprecise standards produced by Strategic Teaching will result in lots of saving face.

I urge the SBE to reject these standards as they are so vague in many places that they can be twisted to mean whatever the reader prefers.

OSPI has performed an incredibly poor job thus far.
#1 Dana Center hired
#2 SRT teams stacked
#3 Extremely poor composition of IMR criteria team chosen by OSPI, this team is largely composed of those who need to save face.
#4 Secret meeting of IMR criteria team in producing draft #1
#5 No public input for draft #1
#6 Highly suspect draft #2

The SBE will be allowing the mismanagement of Washington State Mathematics to continue with the adoption of these vague imprecise standards. Vote NO.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

SBE Math Panelist

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Missouri Math Educator needs to get out more

It appears that Missouri suffers from the same oversights as Washington...

"There are no research mathematicians on the writing group (for the standards),” said Barbara Reys, co-chairwoman of the writing group for the K-12 mathematics standards and a professor of mathematics education at MU. “In hindsight, the organizers probably should have invited their participation. We are continuing to seek feedback from all interested parties (whether those parties know anything about math or not), including mathematicians from Missouri and elsewhere.”

WOW!!! Those Missouri Organizers are just like Washington's.
Stack the deck and then look at the result... No surprises that way.

Barbara Reys had a major hand in the recent Missouri Math adoption process.

Department of Curriculum & Instruction Mathematics Education

Barbara Reys
104 Stewart Hall
Columbia, Missouri 65211
University of Missouri-Columbia
Phone: 573-882-8744
Fax: 573-882-4481

December 18, 1998

Dear Professor Tsang,

A letter dated 12/21/98 that you wrote to the Piano ISD Board of Trustees was forwarded to me via e-mail. The letter refers to a paper I co-authored reporting research documenting the impact of two different standards-based mathematics curricula on student achievement.

The research reported is a carefully designed study that collected information from students after one year of use (grade 6) of “standards-based” mathematics curricula and compared that information to students who had used a more traditional, teacher-constructed curricula. The evidence indicates that students who use standards-based curricula (we studied two groups of students - one group using Connected Mathematics Project and another group using Math Thematics) perform as well as students who use more conventional curricula on traditional measures of mathematics achievement - Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), ninth edition. However students using the standards-based curricula performed significantly better than students using traditional curricula on a standardized problem solving measure (SAT Open-Ended Mathematics Problem Solving Test). As a research physicist I’m sure you understand the value of emphasis and expectations that students understand apply mathematics in problem solving settings. We know that U.S. students lag seriously behind students in many other countries, including Hong Kong and Singapore (countries you note in your letter), and that what they lack is not the ability to apply computational procedures or formulas ( Wow.. she must see different kids in MO than I see here in WA state Then this letter was written ten years ago and the kids had not yet been though a decade of reform math)but rather the ability to reason and solve problems (see the Third International Mathematics and Science Study for evidence). This is precisely the focus of the standards-based curricula.

As a parent of both a sixth and ninth grader, I expect the public school system my children attend to select the highest quality mathematics curriculum - one that challenges, intellectually engages, and focuses on understanding and applying mathematics. I believe that middle school students should be learning from a mathematics curriculum that places heavy emphasis on algebraic reasoning, statistics, geometry and number. Unfortunately, too many middle school students experience a mathematics curriculum that is focused too narrowly on computational and procedural skills. This narrowly focused curriculum has been standard fare in the U.S. far too long and it is not serving our students well. I want something better for my own children. I have spent many hours over the past three years studying the standards-based middle school mathematics curricula (as a parent, a teacher, a teacher educator, and a researcher). I am convinced beyond a doubt that these materials incorporate important mathematics that students in the middle grades should learn. I agree that the new curricula are challenging to teach. Rather than condemning the curricula, we need to find ways to better prepare and support teachers to teach challenging mathematics to our students. Nothing impacts the quality of our children’s’ mathematics education more than the teacher. I have great respect for teachers and recognize that they are performing the most difficult job I know. I also respect the decisions they make about curricula. I urge you to listen carefully to teachers and to respect their input and leadership in selecting and implementing good mathematics curricula.

I take exception of your dismissal of the study that I co-directed. You state in the letter to the Board of Trustees that “one should be especially wary of studies that are tainted with money from the publishers ... three of the four authors of that article are associated with the Show-Me Center which is in partnership with the CMP textbook publishers. Such studies should be dismissed as research similar to those designed by cigarette company ...“ As an academician you know that there is an established process of peer review in funding research studies and in reporting them. The study cited in the paper was funded by the National Science Foundation, not a commercial publisher. In fact, the Show-Me Center receives no funds from publishers. The study cited was reviewed by a panel of the American Educational Research Association and accepted for presentation at the annual AERA meeting in 1998. It is currently under review by a respected professional research journal.

I don’t know if you have read the paper you cite. If not, I encourage you to do so. As a fellow researcher, I would hope to be treated with the same professional regard you would offer a researcher in your own field. That is, that you would read the research report, engage in dialogue with the authors if you have questions about the research design, analysis or reporting of results, and portray accurately and without bias the information in the report.

As a scholar at Michigan State University, you are certainly aware of the importance of truth and accuracy in presenting information. Your analogy between our work and research related to the tobacco industry is both unwarranted, inaccurate, and unprofessional. While you are certainly entitled to express your opinion of CMP or any other curriculum, please do not misrepresent the integrity of the study. I hope in the future you will clearly distinguish between fact and opinion--and confirm the facts before you state them as such.


Barbara Reys
Professor of Mathematics Education and
Director of the Show-Me Center

Iowa Tests - maybe we should group up and find out what our kids really know.

YES it us true.... Even with the increasing number of days wasted on largely worthless testing.. Think WASL...

You could actually find out what your kid knows by having someone administer the IOWA test of Basic Skills. The ITBS was given last in 2005 in Washington State... but now you can get your kid IOWA tested... Read on.

Check HERE

Individuals can administer the ITBS test as long as they meet very simple requirements:

The Iowa Tests® | BJU Press Testing & Evaluation
Testers and parents, a newer form of The Iowa Tests® is now available! The Form A includes some exciting features that were not available on previous editions. Among them are a Primary Reading Profile score report for grades K-3 (included for free!), and an Interest Explorer™ for grades 9-12.

Available year-round, these nationally standardized tests meet most transfer or state requirements. You may administer either the complete battery or certain parts of the test.

The confidential computer-scored results include norm- and skill mastery-referenced scores. We also provide a score interpretation brochure.

The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills® (ITBS®) and Iowa Tests of Educational Development® (ITED®) are also available in combination with the CogAT® (Cognitive and Abilities Test™) and/or with Interest Explorer (grades 9–12).

To administer The Iowa Tests (achievement tests) and/or CogAT (abilities tests), you must be listed with us as a pre-approved tester for The Iowa Tests, which requires a one-time completion of an application.

Application requires proof that you meet at least ONE of the following requirements:

-Be a teacher who has been certified by a state department of education to teach in a public school or other conventional school (homeschool or local association certificate does not qualify).

-Have a Bachelor’s degree

-Be currently (or have been in the past) a full-time academic classroom teacher in a K5–12 conventional school (not a homeschool).
K5–2 (Levels 5–8) must be administered separately by grade.

Grades 3–8 (Levels 9–14) may be administered together.

Grades 9–12 (Levels 15–18) may be administered together.

Grade Inflation from Sanctioned Cheating

Oh those British...

Try the numbers HERE for an increase in grades over the years in England File this under favorites

Here is a great place for actual thoughtful information about schools.

Put this in your favorites

British Discover the Obvious

Here is a great article from England

Shadow education secretary Michael Gove said the review had failed to grasp the seriousness of the state of maths education in England, with nearly a quarter of 11-year-olds failing to reach the minimum level of maths to enable them to cope with secondary school.

"The government has failed to grasp the nettle and replace methods of teaching which have failed with tried and tested methods used in countries that have much higher levels of maths achievement," he said.

To which one can only say DUH!!!
except that in the USA we have yet to figure this out.

WASL Numbers for Spring 2008 10th grade

The state has released the passing rate numbers for 10th graders in the class of 2008.

One thing is certain .... Math is not getting better....

Things are not getting better.... As more districts have adopted reform math texts largely because it was the politically correct thing to do in the land of WASL alignment... In Math the only thing showing improvement is likely the bottom line for publishers. Seattle's adoptions of Everyday Math and Connected Math Project2 stand out as crowd following moves for no improvement. 80% of middle school students in the State now use Connected Math Project at the middle school.

It is time to end the Reform Math debacle. Unfortunately that would mean admitting that a lot of people goofed... None of the current decision makers appear to be willing to take any accountability for the goof so how will correction occur?

Anyway here are the scores for reading math and writing at grade 10. 2006 was supposed to be the year of the big improvement as that was the first class that the WASL counted for graduation... Supposedly even Math counted... well we know where that went...

... Year...... Read ...... Math .... Write ..
... 2005 .... 72.9% .... 47.5% ... 65.2%

... 2006 .... 82.0% .... 51.0% ... 79.8%

... 2007 .... 80.8% .... 50.4% ... 83.9%

... 2008 .... 79.6% .... 49.7% ... 84.0%

net change .. +6.7% ... +2.2% .. +18.8%


Look at what is happening in Georgia HERE.

Poor test results land many students in summer school

More students in Georgia and elsewhere will return to school this summer for extra help in passing standardized state tests. Nearly 38% of Georgia eighth-graders and 28% of fifth-graders -- roughly 82,000 children in all -- failed the state's math test. Students are being encouraged to enroll in summer classes in anticipation of retaking that exam, while some districts hurry to hire more instructors to teach the summer courses.

It appears that Georgia is passing more kids than Washington, wonder what the Georgia test looks like?

Federally Mandated Tutoring Unsuccessful

Here is a great response to this situation by Niki Hayes

Available in EdNews HERE


Here is another interesting article with a great quotation

"Schools once renowned for their unique learning programs are becoming nothing more than soulless factories that churn out those that can excel at standardized tests while discarding those who can't," the leaders of the group, Shaw High School senior Jonathan Lykes and Federal Hocking High School senior Mason Pesek, wrote to the governor.

2 Million Minutes & the Washington Post Debate


Monday, June 16, 2008

Two Million Minutes --LA Times writes more

Check this link for very good stuff including Harvard's reaction.,0,2554838.story?page=1&track=rss

Self Esteem in the Houston Chronicle

Try this on self esteem. HERE

Two thoughts not in the article follow....

A thought from a professional:

Interesting article summary plus link to full article.
Personally, I don't like to see the term itself, "self esteem", get bashed. Self esteem is not a bad thing, but some portion of it must be based on one's actions and competence. But like so many things, it's harder to take a complex, nuanced approach to self-esteem building, and so most teachers seem to just take the easy way out.

A thought from a parent:

My children have always seen through the BS fed to them by
guidance counselors and k-8 teachers who repeat the
"good job!" mantra even when the work is crappy and everyone knows it.

Telling them they're great just for having a pulse is not helpful.
Neither is the baloney about "You can do anything you put your mind to"--
which they also recognize as a lie.

My kids are smart, short, white boys. The odds of them playing in the
NBA are astronomically small
, even if they "put their minds to it".
They are smart enough to know that.

A better mantra would be "Hard work always helps."
This is true, and they know it.

Set realistic goals, plan out how to achieve them, and get to work.
Once you DO something good, you will have earned true self esteem.

In the comments to the story:
catdragon2 wrote:
Since my kids, now in their 30's, started school, I've been shouting this theme to the rooftops. My kids got less of an education than I did way back when because there is no discipline, no failures, no pushing to achieve in the school systems. Combine that with teaching to state-mandated tests and it equals a plan for disaster in education. No wonder we lag behind every other country in the industrialized world.

Reform Math invades Maritime Provinces

Much the same story as in the USA for math in the maritime provinces.

This is an early 2002 report.
Amazing science results in Alberta. I wish I knew what was happening in Maritime Canada today. As the Maritime Provinces are well below the Canadian averages in both math and science

Check this link for highlites
Also in PISA reading New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are at the bottom.

Niki Hayes speaks in the Washington Post

In the comments on an article that can be found HERE,
comes a part of what Ms Hayes had to say:



In other words, why are we as taxpayers HAVING TO PAY TWICE FOR THE SAME WORK for so many children? Is the fact that this is typical government work supposed to satisfy us?


Why are taxpayers also having to pay twice for their children’s education with specialized private tutoring?

3) WHERE ARE OUR LEADERS? I have visions of these folks needing the sign I had over my principal's desk to remind me of my daunting task: "Where are they? Have you seen them? Which way did they go? I must find them! I AM THEIR LEADER." In other words, I had to keep up with my people at all times, in all phases, and in all places.

"We need to push the schools and the providers to get it right," said Piche.

Just to help educate those who are telling us how to run schools:
If you want specific outcomes, it's called "direct instruction" and "modeling."

If you want "feel good" solutions, it's called "discovery learning."
Do you know the difference?

Do you understand how NOT knowing the difference has brought American education to its knees on an international scale?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Global Education

Just got this piece....

I know nothing about this...

Check it out HERE

Coming on 6-18-2008 Board testimony

Board Members, I am Dan Dempsey 6-18-2008

Today Seattle administration finds itself faced with a choice.
The choice is whether to save face or save the children.

Administration, unsupported by relevant data or logic, often does whatever it wants.

Statewide many administrators believe that reform math materials and pedagogy improve both student conceptual understanding and increase minority access to mathematics.

Such administrative belief ignores local district data. Preferring instead the refrain of research shows.

Dr Jo Boaler, of Stanford University, produced a research paper titled:
Promoting ‘relational equity’ and high mathematics achievement through an innovative mixed ability approach.

This paper showed that Students in a diverse urban high school…
1.. achieved at higher levels
2.. learned good behavior
3.. learned to respect students from different cultural groups, social classes, ability levels, and sexes.

The goals of high achievement and equity were achieved in tandem through a mixed ability mathematics approach.

This sounds great doesn’t it? How democratic …mixed ability grouping in High School Mathematics… no entering proficiency needed to take a class. This was increasingly promoted during the last social promotion decade… except it does not work in real life.

In Washington Mathematical competence declined and achievement gaps widened significantly in Seattle, Bellevue, Clover Park, and Marysville.
Dr Jo Boaler….. She faked the research ….. She is no longer at Stanford.

Under the irrational direction of the CAO we’ve dumped millions of dollars into the reform math dead ends called Everyday Math and Connected Math Project. Irrational direction?? Strong wording??… You bet but stronger wording is needed.

Reform Math results from Denver.
In 2006 the Denver Superintendent apologized to the mayors for poor performance.
In early April 2007, Denver’s consultants reported on the Middle School Math disaster. Denver is using Everyday Math followed by Connected Math.

Ms Santorno knew all this and irrationally led a unilateral adoption of Everyday Math.

Ms Santorno had no answers then but she had the political power to misdirect the spending of millions including $90,000 for calculators for elementary school while taking about arithmetic fluency.

In looking at the Strategic Plan’s Mathematics direction the administration is planning on saving face and sacrificing the children. There is no correction planned for the Reform Math agenda. Why is Ms Santorno never held accountable?

Yes today Seattle is faced with a choice of whether to save face or save the children.

Face saving is really popular in Seattle. It is a lot easier than saving children.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

$200 gets me in Court against OSPI and the SBE

To anyone still concerned. 6-12-2008

It seems that few are particularly concerned, as the law is regularly neglected.

Most recently the IMR criteria document draft #1 neglected to even mention the NCTM Focal Points as a reference either primary or secondary. A strange oversight for a 22-person committee developing Criteria as the Focal Points are mentioned on page 2 of HB1906 and page 2 of SB6534 as a requirement.

It appears that laws do not need to be followed. Consider the k-8 math adoption.

SB 6534 says:
(c) By May 15, 2008, the state board of education shall review the consultant's draft report, consult the mathematics advisory panel, hold a public hearing to receive comment, and direct any subsequent modifications to the consultant's report. After the modifications are made, the state board of education shall forward the final report and recommendations to the superintendent of public instruction for implementation.

I contend that the SBE did not consult the MAP as required by SB 6534 and as a result adopted a poor product that is very likely to continue with the inequities revealed on the back of this document.

IMR Draft#2 contains the following: One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards. Neither HB1906 nor SB6534 ask for this. Why is it here?

The statement is in IMR draft#2 because the current direction this is headed continues to cover for those who failed to adequately serve the students of this state for the last decade.

This rush to product by shortcuts clearly does not serve the students of this state. In shortening the timelines provided by the legislature the k-8 product was not adequately reviewed. The MAP never met, never discussed, never even communicated with each other via email after the consultant’s draft report. The High School standards are also severely affected by this shortened timeline, as there was inadequate development time. At the May 1, 2008 MAP meeting, Bob McIntosh and I commented to each other: “Wow all of Geometry in Seven Days”.

I will be in Thurston County Superior Court in July seeking to have the law followed and the children served. The math direction of last decade under the OSPI and SBE leadership needs to be substantially altered. See backside.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

page 2

For Black and Hispanic students, Dr. Terry Bergeson’s Reform Math agenda works equally poorly on both sides of the lake. Look at the expanding achievement Gaps in math between 1998 or 1999 and 2007 for three reform math centered school districts = A decade of disaster.

Seattle ... Black .... grade 4 .... grade 7 ... grade 10
98 ..or 99 gap .... -38.3% .... -32.7% .... -35.9%
08 …gap -47.8% -49.3% -50.8%
gap growth increase 9.5% 16.4 14.9%
08 pass rate 32.0% 24.1% 19.6%

Seattle Hispanic grade 4 grade 7 grade 10
98 ..or 99 gap -29.0% -24.1% -30.4%
08 gap -36.3% -40.7% -39.5%
gap growth increase 7.3% 16.6% 9.1%
08 pass rate 43.5% 32.7% 31.3%

Bellevue Black grade 4 grade 7 grade 10
97 ..or 99 gap -23.6% -32.3 -37.8%
08 …gap -59.0% -51.9 -55.4%
gap growth increase 35.4% 19.6 17.6%
08 pass rate 25.0% 29.0% 17.9%

Bellevue Hispanic grade 4 grade 7 grade 10
97 ..or 99 gap -26.6% -27.7% -38.5%
08 gap -39.8% -46.2% -41.3%
gap growth increased 13.2% 18.5% 2.8%
08 pass rate 44.2% 34.7% 32.0%

Clover Park Black grade 4 grade 7 grade 10
98.. or 99 gap - 2.5% -3.8% -20.2%
08 -26.7% -25.1% -19.1%
gap growth increased 24.2% 21.3% shrunk 1.1%
08 pass rate 25.2% 21.8% 18.8%

Clover Park Hispanic grade 4 grade 7 grade 10
98..or 99 gap -14.4% -11.1% -17.6%
08 …gap -18.6% -16.8% -16.8%
gap growth increased 4.2% 5.7% shrunk 0.8%
08 pass rate 33.3% 30.1% 21.1%

Ethnicity achievement gaps computed from ethnic group rate minus White WASL math pass rate in each district. For $770,000 OSPI purchased a sales force with a defective product. The SBE seems unaware of the damage caused by Fidelity of Implementation to the Reform Math agenda in Bellevue and elsewhere.

Sorry about the cramped stats to be fixed later.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Calculator Use by Mike Miller

Mike Miller submitted the following thoughts.

This is exactly the ambiguity everyone should have expected, and represents either an agenda to continue reform mathematics or political cowardice.

The authors rationalize this ambiguity by pointing to, …… “Beliefs” which are not founded in solid evidence, should have no place in state standards. If such solid evidence exists, then these “beliefs” are transformed into rational arguments and should be weighed for their relative significance. I think such evidence does exist, the preponderance of which indicates that the premature introduction of calculators in elementary grades is harmful to the students’ development of computational fluency.

Curricula specialists from around the state have, and will continue to use the state standards as buttresses of justification for their curricula promotional campaigns. Some will choose curricula that rely on calculator use; some will not. Better guidelines are in order, if for no other reason than to encourage the cross-state consistency that OSPI claims to want, when the circumstances suit them.

Meaningful High School Diploma -- says who?

Dear Kathe Taylor and Washington SBE members,

It once again looks like the SBE has little interest in getting first hand information from either math teachers or alternative high school teachers. I find it disturbing that none of the SBE members have the relevant academic background in mathematics, engineering, or computer science to be in a position to make informed decisions in regard to mathematics. It is equally disturbing that the SBE continues to align itself with Standards Based Math which has yet to produce anything even remotely resembling positive results in a typical classroom situation. If enough dollars are pumped into smaller Class sizes, increased planning time for teachers etc. and the evaluation instruments are selected with a reform bias then occasionally positive results maybe noted because of the expensive interventions.

Relevant Data on Achievement gap growth reveals that The reform Math Agenda has been an absolute disaster for low income, Black, and Hispanic students in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue as well as most other places.

The selections of Marci Groesbeck, Diana Tuck, and Scott Poirier to the MHSD advisory group in an attempt to be relevant with what is going on at the school level from the teachers vantage point certainly tells the SBE nothing about the current mathematics situation. Does the SBE actually wish to be this aloof from Washington K-12 mathematics?

The following three individuals are not informed as to the mathematics situation and yet the SBE feels comfortable proposing Algebra II for all as a graduation requirement.

Marci Groesbeck = Social studies teacher from West Valley in Spokane.

Diana Tuck = Retired former counselor.

From 2005 Summer Institute comes the following:

Personalizing High Schools – Scott Poirier, Rick Jennings, OSPI,
Bob McMullen, AWSP
The most recent research about high schools is suggesting we personalize practice and engage students in a standards-based approach.

There is NO research in Mathematics that indicates that what was suggested above by Mr. Poirier et al. produces improvement in mathematics skills, knowledge, understanding or general competence.

I believe the opposite can be shown to be true. Our nation's and our state's k-12 math education is in a downward spiral precisely because of ideas like those above. Standards Based Math reform has made the USA the laughing stock of International math comparisons.

I've included my rough drafts sent to Porsche Everson in regard to IMR criteria draft #2.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.
Alternative High School Teacher
NCLB Highly Qualified in Math, Chem, and Science
BA Mathematics, M.Ed.

Draft #2 of IMR --- with feedback

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to document the recommendations of the Mathematics Instructional Materials Review (IMR) Advisory Group and other key stakeholders, including the State Board of Education Math Panel; and to outline the expected process for reviewing mathematics instructional materials.

The major task at hand is to select texts that will allow Washington Students to have the opportunity to become internationally competitive in Math.
The work of these key stakeholder groups is crucial to the success of the instructional materials review project. OSPI has committed to an inclusive process that actively solicits information and advice from many stakeholder groups. Why would many stakeholder groups be knowledgeable about math textbooks and other instructional materials? It is essential that the review methodology and process measures the appropriate factors, and takes into account a broad range of instructional materials-related criteria that contribute to effective teaching and learning. Ultimately, OSPI will recommend three core/comprehensive mathematics texts at the elementary, middle and high school level. It is imperative that the process, evaluation and final recommendations support the success of all students in the Washington K-12 system.

The process has clearly once again become the goal (so common with OSPI process trumps content again). The selection of the best math materials for Washington students is at best a secondary priority.

Expected Outcomes

The following expectations guided the development of the criteria.

• Examine criteria and processes used by other states and districts within Washington to review mathematics textbooks. Successful? How is this success determined? Are we looking at improved measurable outcomes? If so how were these outcomes measured?

• Identify 5-7 general categories for use in the OSPI Instructional Materials Review that are well defined and based upon accepted research, such as the National Mathematics Advisory Panel Foundations of Success Report.
What does the term accepted research mean?

• Identify specific, measurable, efficient and valuable criteria within each of the categories to help us determine which three texts to recommend at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
How will the determination of efficient and valuable be determined?

• Identify why the criteria is important to measure, and develop ideas on how to measure those criteria.
What criteria are of value and how is this determined?

• Recommend relative weights for selected categories. Recommend threshold categories that curricula must pass before being considered further.
How is the weighting determined?

• It is vital to have the selection criteria unambiguous and measureable, and define relative weightings for categories. The evaluation criteria should be straightforward, and where possible, mapped to approved standards (ex: WA Revised Math Standards, NMAP). The instructional materials review process should include math educators, curriculum specialists, mathematicians, parents and industry representatives.
If such a collection of individuals should comprise the IMR review process, why was there no such diversity present on the IMR criteria panel, which was selected privately and unilaterally by OSPI without even a public awareness of this team’s existence? This is a huge problem if the public is to believe that there is open government.

Figure 1. Content Alignment is the key consideration in the Washington Mathematics Instructional Materials Review.
This is really vague. Aligned with what? The three primary source documents? These do not even align with each other. Does alignment need to be at the specific grade level?
Stakeholders recommend that the review process be structured in two parts.
What stakeholders? This entire process has been almost exclusively IMR criteria team thus far.
• Part 1 is Content/Standards Alignment. All curricula must meet a certain (to be determined) When will this be determined? By what person or group? Based on what alignment? threshold in order to be considered further as one of the three recommended core/comprehensive texts.
• Part 2 will consider other criteria (determined and weighted by what group?) in five categories. Note that the second stage categories have different weights, as shown in Figure 2.

Research Overview

One of the goals of the Mathematics Instructional Materials Review Project is to design a review process and methodology that is grounded in current research and utilizes practices gleaned from other states and districts, which have recently completed successful mathematics instructional materials review projects. (successful as judged successful by what tool or data?)
Stakeholders used (used as in past tense, who were these stakeholders that already used?)
the following research and publications to finalize the category and criteria recommendations.
• Washington Revised Mathematics Standards (4/08)
• National Mathematics Advisory Panel Foundations for Success
• NCTM Curriculum Focal Points

The following additional research and publications were used as secondary sources to inform the process.

• Math Educators Summary of Effective Programs
This is a meta-analysis and of little value

• Park City Mathematics Standards Study Group Report
Gives specific recommendations based on what works internationally.

• Framework for 21st Century Learning
• How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School
• How Students Learn: Mathematics in the Classroom
The above three appear to be largely pedagogical – any data of success?

• NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
• Choosing a Standards-Based Mathematics Curriculum – Chapter 6: Developing and Applying Selection Criteria
• Choosing a Standards-Based Mathematics Curriculum – Appendix: Sample Selection Criteria
The above three played a pivotal role in the USA’s poor performance of the last decade. The Appendix: Sample Selection Criteria were particularly harmful.

I have great concerns about the entire direction of this IMR process thus far. There is a lot of focus on process with inadequate reflection upon the eventual product.
Thus far this bears a great resemblance to the processes that have produced more than a decade of substandard materials. These materials in both Washington State and nationally became more and more aligned with NCTM Standards and the results became more and more unsatisfactory on International tests.

Given that a goal is to produce an internationally competitive mathematics education in Washington State, why is such weight placed on using so many instruments that produced the current failing system? Why put particular emphasis on the desire for a Standards-Based Curriculum? Most of the documents referenced in - Appendix: Sample Selection Criteria, produced particularly ineffective programs. It seems likely that the same failures will occur for us if these are used. In particular the Evaluation Criteria from the U.S. Department of Education’s Expert Panel on Mathematics and Science gave rise to the 1999 Exemplary and Promising Math Programs that have yet to produce evidence of positive academic results. The 1999 materials as selected were all NCTM Standards-Based and likely are at least partially responsible for the USA’s decline in mathematics internationally. As the US has slipped internationally, it is very apparent that we are the only nation advocating for the positions and practices promoted by the Standards Based thinking. The appendix also makes reference to the San Diego City Schools k-8 instrument. This produced another extremely poor text series. When many Schools in California switched curricula to meet the new California Standards adopted in 1998, San Diego city schools did not. In the Hook-Bishop-Hook study that compared various districts in California, it was very clear that San Diego and LAUSD, which stayed with their earlier Standards Aligned texts, performed poorly.

Standards Aligned is NOT synonymous with likely to achieve positive academic results.
It appears that this IMR criteria document draft#2 has a mistaken belief that Standards-Based equates with effective in bringing about internationally competitive results.

In addition to the research review, participants examined mathematics instructional materials review processes tools from five states (OR, NC, CT, IN and CA) and two Washington school districts (Edmonds, Vancouver). They identified good ideas to adopt from these sample processes and tools.
How did an IMR criteria panel that had little math content knowledge (so little that draft#1 did not include the NCTM Focal Points) determine what constituted a good idea?
A summary of a few of the state comparisons is shown below.


Proposed Categories
Part 1: Content/Standards Alignment
Part I is a review of the alignment of the core/comprehensive instructional materials to the revised Washington Mathematics standards. Materials that meet a to-be-determined threshold of alignment with state standards could be considered for inclusion in the list of three recommended mathematics curricula.
The Content/Standards Alignment part of the review process would determine to what degree the mathematical concepts, skills and processes are in alignment with revised state mathematics standards. Reviewers would look for evidence that each Washington state standard core process, content and additional key information was met in the expected grade level.
One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards.
When did this become part of the task required in SB6534?
Part 2: Other Factors
Part 2 of the review process would examine the following categories:
Category Description

Program Organization and Design:
Overall program and design. Includes scope and sequence, appropriate use of technology. Content is presented in strands, with definitive beginnings and endings, and not in spirals. The material is logically organized, and includes text-based tools like tables of contents and indexes.

Student Learning:
Tasks lead to the development of core content and process understanding. They present opportunities for students to think about their thinking, develop both skills and understanding, and apply multiple strategies to solve real world problems. Opportunities exist for students to build computational fluency, number sense and operations.

Instructional Planning and Professional Support:
Support for teachers that is embedded in the instructional materials to assist them in teaching the content and standards. Instructional materials provide suggestions for teachers in initiating and orchestrating mathematical discourse. Includes key information about content knowledge to help teachers understand the underlying mathematics. Materials help demonstrate typical student misconceptions and provide ideas for helping address them.

Tools for teachers and students to formally and informally evaluate learning and guide instruction.

Equity and Access:
Support for ELL, unbiased materials, support for gifted and talented students, support for students with disabilities, differentiated instruction, DI is not a best practice. Why is it here? diversity of role models, (I can not find this in the three primary source documents. This is about building useful mathematical structures in students’ brains. I do not believe that this is in the three primary source documents.) parent involvement, intervention strategies, quality website, (again really vague what is a quality website and how is quality determined?) community involvement ideas.

Figure 2. Proposed category weights for Part 2 of the Mathematics Instructional Materials Review. Note that Content Alignment is not shown in this chart. Content Alignment is a threshold category, meaning that curricula must meet a to-be-determined percentage of agreement before the material can be considered for possible inclusion in the three recommended core/comprehensive texts.

Proposed Measurement Criteria
For Part 1 (Content/Standards Alignment), there will be a 3 point scale (0-2, corresponding with No, Partial, Yes) for each performance expectation. The criteria are the Washington Revised Mathematics Standards (4/08).

Part 2 will use a consistent measurement scale for each item; a 4-point Likert scale (strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree). For each of the Part 2 categories listed above, stakeholders identified proposed measurement criteria.
Part 1: Content/Standards Alignment
Part 1 will ensure that Washington state math standards designated for the specific course and/or grade level/band are addressed. It will ensure that the mathematics content within the program is rigorous and accurate, with few errors of fact or interpretation. A sample rating form is shown below.

Figure 3. Sample rating form for Content/Standards Alignment Review.
Note to reviewers. I wonder if we should have the Content/Standards Alignment be both a threshold category AND have a weighting like the Part 2 review categories. For example, what if Content/Standards Alignment were weighted at 70% and the other categories distributed across the remaining 30% in rough proportion to the weights proposed in Figure 2?

Part 2: Other Factors Many of these factors need to be cited within the source documents as to where these factors are found.
Program Organization and Design
1. The scope and sequence of materials matches state standards
2. The content has a coherent and well-developed sequence
3. Program includes a balance of skill-building, conceptual understanding, and application
4. Builds from and extends concepts previously developed
5. Intentional review & application of previously taught skills and concepts
6. Some but not all tasks are of an open nature with multiple solutions, Open nature multiple solutions – where is this found in the source documents? others with a correct and verifiable answer
7. The materials help promote classroom discourse
8. The program is organized into units, modules or other structure so that students have sufficient time to develop in-depth major mathematical ideas
9. The instructional materials provide for the use of technology with reflects 21st century ideals for a future-ready student and school -
10. Support materials provided, such as electronic learning resources or manipulatives, are an integral part of the instructional program and are clearly aligned with the content
11. Objectives are written from the student, not the teacher perspective
12. Instructional materials include mathematically accurate and complete indexes and tables of contents to locate specific topics or lessons
13. The materials have pictures that match the text in close proximity, with few unrelated images
14. Materials are concise and balance contextual learning with brevity
15. Mathematics concepts are developed for conceptual understanding, computational fluency and problem solving ability, including how to address non-routine problems
16. The program contains an balance of skill building, conceptual understanding and application
17. The materials include formulas and teaches standard algorithms

Note to reviewers: I think there are too many criteria in this category and recommend eliminating those that are either difficult to measure, are redundant with other criteria, or have less value in relation to the remaining criteria. Recommend a target maximum of 10 criteria in this category. 1 & 2 seem redundant. 3 & 4 seem redundant, 3 and 16 seem redundant. 15 and 17 might be accounted for in the Content Alignment/Standards Review. 11 might be best placed in Student Learning. I am concerned about ambiguity and inter-rater reliability on several of these elements.

Student Learning
1. Tasks lead to the development of core content and process understanding
2. Tasks build upon prior knowledge
3. Tasks lead to problem solving for abstract, real-world and non-routine problems
4. Tasks require students to think about their own thinking
5. The program provides opportunities to develop students’ computational fluency using brain power rather than technology
6. Tasks occasionally use technology to deal with messier numbers or help the students see the math with graphical displays
7. The program promotes understanding and fluency in number sense and operations
8. The program leads students to mastery of rigorous multiple-step story problems
9. The materials build students’ understanding of standard mathematics terminology/vocabulary

Instructional Planning and Professional Support
1. The instructional materials provide suggestions to teachers so that in tasks and lessons teachers can help students to:
a. Access prior learning as a foundation for further math learning
b. Learn to conjecture, reason, generalize and solve problems
c. Connect mathematics ideas and applications to other math topics, other disciplines and real world context
d. Develop a responsibility for learning and self confidence
2. Instructional materials provide support to teachers in supplementary mathematical content knowledge
3. Background information is included so that the concept is explicit in the teacher guide

4. Instructional materials help teachers anticipate common student misconceptions
5. The instructional materials identify typical student misconceptions
6. The materials can be used by a wide range of teachers with different teaching styles
7. The materials support a balanced methodology including direct instruction, example-based instruction and discovery
8. Math concepts are addressed in a context-rich setting (giving examples in context, for instance)
9. Teacher’s guides are clear and concise with easy to understand instructions

Note to reviewers: Multi-part items are difficult to deal with in scale design, and are subject to variable interpretation. Consider simplifying #1. Numbers 2 & 3 seem redundant. Numbers 4 & 5 seem redundant. Numbers 6 & 7 seem redundant.
1. The program provides regular assessments to guide student learning
2. There are opportunities for student self-assessment of learning
3. Assessments reflect content and process goals and objectives
4. The program includes assessments with multiple purposes (formative, summative and diagnostic)
5. Assessments include multiple choice, short answer and extended response.
6. Rubrics or scoring guidelines accurately reflect learning objectives
7. Rubrics or scoring guidelines identify possible student responses both correct & incorrect
8. Accurate answer keys are provided
9. Equity and Access
10. The program provides methods and materials for differentiating instruction (students with disabilities, gifted/talented, ELL, disadvantaged)
11. Materials support intervention strategies
12. Materials, including assessments are unbiased and relevant to diverse cultures
13. Materials are available in a variety of languages
14. The program includes easily accessible materials which help families to become active participants in their students’ education (e.g. “How You Can Help at Home” letters with explanations, key ideas & vocabulary for each unit, free or inexpensive activities which can be done at home, ideas for community involvement)
15. The program includes guidance and examples to allow students with little home support to be self-sufficient

Next Steps
These steps remain:
1) Solicit feedback from reviewers on Draft #2
2) Clearly define the process for how OSPI will select three programs to recommend. Will it be based solely on the defined criteria, or will there be some level of review/decision making by a panel?
3) Review each measurement criteria with the following framework in mind:
a) Is the criteria measurable using professional judgment and/or available evidence? (measurability)
b) Is the criteria clear enough to avoid multiple interpretations? (specificity, variability)
c) How will this help inform our recommendation process? (value)
d) Is the criteria in the most logical category? (organization)
e) Does each criteria cover just one concept? (atomicity)
4) Remove redundant criteria
5) Test the draft review tool

(To be completed in 3rd draft. It will contain bibliographic references to primary and secondary sources in the Research section.)

Blue comments by Dan Dempsey