Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 year old IMP lies are still alive

I went to examine Beaverton Oregon's proposed math adoption.
Here is what I found. A link to Interactive Math Program, which seems like a blatantly dishonest IMP sales pitch!!!

The following appears here

IMP™ Receives Award from the U.S. Department of Education

In 1999, Assistant Education Secretary Kent McGuire announced the selection of ten mathematics-education programs as being exemplary and promising. The K–12 programs were chosen for their outstanding quality and demonstrated effectiveness, following a national search.

Five of the programs, including IMP, were designated “exemplary” because they provided convincing evidence of their effectiveness in multiple sites with multiple populations. “The exemplary programs have met the highest standards set by our nation’s leading mathematics experts and educators,” McGuire said. “These programs work, and we encourage teachers, administrators, and policymakers to learn more about them as potential additions to their curriculum.”

{ says who?? where ?? when ??

When these selections were determined as exemplary, promising etc. to the best of my knowledge none of this was based on field testing.

It was just some folks sitting down and looking at the books and deciding what should work. Unfortunately at a multiplicity of sites IMP has NOT worked.

In the Puget Sound area. IMP was abandon by Tacoma and University Place S.D. as ineffective. In 2006- 2008 Cleveland High school in Seattle using an NSF Grant through the University of Washington implemented IMP and their WASL grade 10 math scores declined despite considerable expenditures from the PD^3 project.

Look here for Cleveland data:

So I am I wrong ... or are the claims made on this website a fraud? }

The search for quality mathematics programs began in 1994 when Congress directed the department’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement to establish “panels of appropriate qualified experts and practitioners” to evaluate educational programs and recommend the best to the secretary of education. The Expert Panel in Mathematics and Science is comprised of 15 mathematicians, scientists, educators, and policymakers from around the country. Ya you betcha' We all believe this!!


Bill Marsh said...

Dan tells us: "I went to examine Beaverton Oregon's proposed math adoption.
Here is what I found. A link to Interactive Math Program, which seems like a blatantly dishonest IMP sales pitch!!!"

He then mentions

Going there, we find, in which there is a reference to: White, P., A. Gamoran, and J. Smithson, 1995. “Math innovations and student achievement in seven high schools in California and
New York,” Madison: Consortium for Policy Research in Education and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin.

Inexplicably, Dan later says: "When these selections were determined as exemplary, promising etc. to the best of my knowledge none of this was based on field testing."

It would seem that the best of Dan's knowledge is not very good.

Bill Marsh
Port Angeles

Anonymous said...

Dear Iterated Tenther:

This sounds like a sample lesson plan? Are you writing for fourth graders or Dr. Wu?

"We will now describe how to give a ?zeroing in? meaning to decimals, after which we will introduce a child friendly version of decimals built on iterated halving.

We will outline a method of assigning to any infinite decimal a unique point on a number line, and (almost!) vice versa. We will mention neither fractions nor addition, though we will use the idea of dividing a given segment into ten parts of equal length, labeled from left to right with the digits 0 through 9. We might call this ?tenthing.?

We can use ?iterated tenthing? to define?decimal intervals?: 3._ as the closed interval (of points on a given number line) [3, 4], then 3.1_ as [3.1, 3.2], and 3.14_ [3.14, 3.15], etc. (Not as part of this definition, we can notice that these intervals contain all and only those points namable by infinite decimals that begin with the given finite decimal) The decimal interval that goes with any finite decimal can be defined in the obvious way, and we can let D be the set of all decimal intervals on a number line."

Good job! You have just explained to the lay folk why fractions are no longer taught in school?

Signed Kiss My Golden...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So Bill, which class of fourth graders were you planning to try out your new curriculum on -- iterated tenthing... Anyone? Perhaps you were going to have Norm Webb write an evaluation for you. Didn't he evaluate IMP?

Let's start with this IMP unit?

Do Bees do it Best? I wonder what that's all about? tulips?

Care to give us some feedback and enlighten us lay people?

Anonymous said...

Which majarish flies on tulip petals and writes math books for the US? Math reform is run by idiots.

Bill Marsh said...

Anonymous seems pretty venomous. But not too bright.

dan dempsey said...


Thanks for the .pdf link to the Key Curriculum Press document I shall give it a look see.

Do you find the delaying of the distributive property until grade 10 in IMP an asset?


Anonymous said...

Actually, instead of identifying yourself as a retired teacher from Port Angeles, I'd like to know more about the WERA (Washington Educational Research Association).

"NCLB is a key strategy that will produce increasing numbers of failing schools, at least 20 states have decided to politically tiptoe around this requirement. " from the Politics of doing Research.

Anonymous said...

(Opposed) The objections to the revised standards, while motivated by genuine concerns, are not well thought out. Someone ran for a local school board based solely on the platform that calculators not be used through 8th grade. This would effectively remove from instruction the Pythagorean theorem and the theory of compound interest. Doing these calculations by hand would be a waste of valuable instruction time. People who object to the standards typically want to go back to a way of instruction from the 1950s and 60s, which is to explain a math concept and do problems until the theory is well grounded. Today's instructors are trying to think about math problems in a real world context. The revised standards are not perfect. But people who have looked at them see improvements in emphasis on computational fluency. There is no reason for further delay. Bill Marsh---testimony before K-12 education committees

Anonymous said...

I have never seen the Pythagorean theorem taught with calculators, nor would I want to. And yes, I have taught the P. theorem to students in seventh grade.

No, thankfully I have never 'taught' compound interest because it leads to nothing in middle school.

If you want good results don't use calculators and get rid of tracking (use an excellent textbook and an exit exam. I'll pass failing students (if they agree to take more math as an elective) I couldn't teach without an overhead.

Bill Marsh said...


Thank you for your courtesy. I'd want to look at IMP in detail before judging any particular aspect of it.

We do teach the distributive property in middle school. In a note in "Washington Mathematics" last year, I suggested a way to use some linear algebra to provide practice with it in elementary school.


#1 Both fractions and decimals are still taught in schools. Because of calculators, decimals are indeed more important than they were when I was in school a half century ago.

#2 I think we should do a fair amount with ratios before doing any arithmetic with fractions. And then a lot afterwards.

#3 Who is Norm Webb?

#5 I know almost nothing about WERA. I don't live there. If you learn more, let us know.

I did like the article you pointed to. Larry Cuban is always thought provoking, even when we don't agree with him.

#7 Did you teach practical uses of the Pythagorean Thm. in carpentry? Would you want your students to compute the length of the diagonal of a 3x8 rectangle by hand?

We can disagree about compound interest. I like how it can lead to considering problems of exponential growth in ecosystems. Kids seem to appreciate learning how much high compound interest can hurt them.

I agree about overheads.


Anonymous said...

WERA (Washington Education Research Association) You are a member?

Norm Webb is from University of Wisconsin (Madison) He was on the committee that aligned the WASL to Washington's 1993-standards. Norm did the research that evaluated IMP and he and Merlino (EDM/CM/IMP) are the evaluators for the North Puget Sound Math Science Partnership (directed by the former Director of the AAAS) that disseminates most of the reform curriculum throughout Washington State, including Peninsula School District (affects about 150,000 students). His cousin is the consultant for Core Plus in Washington. Their aunt was a former Washington state representative and once headed the Education Committee.

Anonymous said...

Geoboards work best for teaching the pythagorean theorem. You don't need a book to explain it. But you do need problems. Reform books are long on explanations, but short on answers.

Anonymous said...

and problems.

Why are these authors so loathe to use zero? Is it beneath them? Do they fear zero, that it might disprove God's existence? Why do we need zero anyway? EDM is a ridiculous, counterphobic, superstitious rant. The authors are blathering idiots.

Anonymous said...

If I did teach woodshop, I would teach students to work with tools, not with their teeth.

Anonymous said...

There is no justice in education. Here's the feds leaning on schools for Pete's sake. No thanks to No Child Left Behind.

"U.S. May Force California to Call More School Districts Failures" by Duke Helfand

Source: Los Angeles Times - 17 February 2005

The Feds don't care about students. NCLB isn't about children, its about money. President Bush

In the meantime, the state Education Department this week notified 310 school systems, including those in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Pomona and San Bernardino, that they could soon join the 14 districts already on the watch list.

Los Angeles Unified officials voiced anger at the prospect of a failure label.

"We're making real progress. We have been moving the ball down the court faster than most schools in California," said Supt. Roy Romer. "People should be applauding that and assisting us, not saying, 'We're going to cut your legs off.' They ought to give us assistance to improve. This redefinition is just not helpful."

He also objected to federal rules which say that if a district is on the watch list, it cannot provide supplemental tutoring to students who attend low-performing schools.

No Child Left Behind requires districts that are not on the list, but that have low-performing schools, to provide tutoring. L.A. Unified is spending about $25 million of its federal money to offer after-school tutoring to more than 16,000 students.

But if the district were put on the watch list, students would have to go elsewhere for tutoring--to private companies, for example.

Members of the Los Angeles Board of Education will hold a hearing today to discuss that issue and other challenges posed by No Child Left Behind.

Anonymous said...

In 2005, LAUSD spent $25 million of federal money on after-school tutoring programs that serviced 16,000 students.

In 2006, 270,000 students in LAUSD qualified for 'free' tutoring.

What do students learn while being tutored? Traditional mathematics.

In 2008, LAUSD closed 22 schools, shortened the school year by 12 days; employees received an 8% pay cut and lost half their health benefits.

Our deceitful, lying government bureaucrats do not care about their citizens. One track, one curriculum.

Anonymous said...


In regard to the evidence you mentioned as contradictory to my statement of "to the best of my knowledge none of this was based on field testing."

It certainly appears that you have cited information that shows my original statement to be incorrect. I would like to point out that I still think that there were insufficient widespread studies to support IMP as an exemplary curriculum. As the WWC has made us very aware most studies in math are horribly flawed. I find the data from most of the studies "cited to support a particular curriculum" flawed.

Chris Carlson PhD. member of the SBE Math Advisory Panel and Fred Hutch cancer researcher points out that most of what passes for science in education is far from it.

I point out that in actual practice in WA state schools and districts IMP is a very poor curriculum choice. Tacoma, University Place, and others, have found the results unsatisfactory.

I've watched the Seattle School District "cherry pick" NYC schools Everyday Math data and misrepresent results to push the Everyday Math adoption. I put a lot more faith in looking at a text series and seeing if it appears it could be a successful piece in preparing students k-12 for "Collegiate Success" in engineering as well as its effect on the rest of the school population.

Finland attributed part of their recent amazing results on PISA and TIMSS as due to their change in having all students shoot for high track mathematics through grade 9. Prior to this the vocational track was pushed much earlier.

I spent around one school year as part of UW's NSF funded PD^3 program as a West Seattle High School math teacher. PD^3 was for the most part exclusively focused on pushing IMP. PD^3 was made up of Garfield, Cleveland, and WSHS teachers.

I find IMP deficient and I believe that the data to which you refer would have a hard time standing up to scientific scrutiny. Did all the students use IMP? What was their previous exposure etc.

I just do not see either IMP or Core Plus as adequate preparation for Collegiate level mathematics.

Math remediation rates in WA are at unacceptable levels at community colleges. The OSPI push for EDM, TERC/Investigations at elementary and Connected Math at the middle school has produced a situation where about 2/3 of Washington Students used these k-8. If students are poorly prepared mathematically k-8 then 9-12 math is largely a repair factory.

I think that IMP and Core-Plus just move most of the repair onto the community colleges.
I will end with Wayne Bishop's statement:

I recently posted (2/11/09) some facts about the WCER "study" and the Jo Boaler borders on outright fraudulent misrepresentation of the schools, especially her "exemplary" Railside High School. Once identified, the school was, based on data she had at the time, arguably the worst performing regular high school in the state of California. The "Exemplary" rating by the US Department of Ed was made by a panel that included exactly one mathematician, "Manuel Berriozábal", who refused to sign off on any of the curricula under consideration for lack of supporting data when the rating was supposed to
be based primarily on supporting data
. In fact, it consisted primarily of laudatory articles in newspapers, the WCER study, and the like, not real evidence. It was somewhat ironic that the "Exemplary" rating occurred after IMP was well on its way to going belly-up across California.

Dan Dempsey
Lummi Nation School

dan dempsey said...


Now I am properly signed in. In regard to the above, I have a few more questions.

Where do you stand on students learning arithmetic?

What are your thoughts on Singapore Mathematics materials?

What are your thoughts on:
What is Important in School Mathematics



Anonymous said...

Actually, IMP went belly-up everywhere in California, EXCEPT LAUSD. And now we have a quarter million students in LA eligible for 'free' math tutoring.

There is a fear the entire school district will be dismantled -- in 2008, 22 schools were closed, employees received 8% paycuts and lost half their health benefits. The school year was shortened by 12 days. The LAUSD director of 'innovation' moved on. LAUSD has the largest number of charter schools in the country.

The district was literally poisoned by reform mongers. A HS was built on a toxic waste site donated by a 'good' samaritan - it cost the district $100 million to build a new high school.

Anonymous said...

What sort of monster would knowingly donate a toxic waste site to a school district so children could go to school there?

Anonymous said...

Can't teach the Pythagorean theorem without calculators, because calculators saves instructional time. ????

I don't recall Core Plus even mentioning much about the Pythagorean theorem until
10th grade. Most of our kids don't get past Core Plus 1 anyway.

Core Plus teaches discrete 'real' mathematics (positive, natural numbers) So students only have to practice with Pythagorean triplets, like (3,4,5) (6,8,10) ... just like Plato!

However, I see your point if students didn't know how to factor nine, then a calculator would come in handy, so long as it had a square root key and you were smart enough to hit the right key.

Why do our students even need the Pythagorean theorem? Its not being taught in Algebra 2 anymore - we've gotten rid of trig and students only need to know ratios to find the positive slopes of lines. Why confuse people with negative slopes? And we avoid horizontal lines because they have zero slopes and that would prove G.. didn't exist.

The moral is our math students need to be taught Greek philosophy, just like our ancestors, only with calculators, because now we're smarter.

Whose your math teacher?

Anonymous said...

Why do most mathematics departments do nothing? As Herbert Clemens (1998) pungently observes:

"Why don't mathematicians from universities and industry belong in math education? The first reason is that it is self-destructive. The quickest way to be relegated to the intellectual dustbin in the mathematics departments of most research universities today is to demonstrate a continuing interest in secondary mathematics education.

Colleagues smile tolerantly to one another in the same way family members do when grandpa dribbles his soup down his shirt. Math education is certainly an acceptable form of retiring as a mathematician, like university administration (unacceptable forms being the stock market, EST. . .(Electro-Shock Therapy?). . ., or a mid-life love affair).

But, you don't do good research and think seriously about education."

Pigs....Moore method my eye!

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine a public school district with 600,000 students being closed? That is 2/3's the size of Washington's school districts. And half can't make it past learning fifth grade math. (Mathland, Connected Math, IMP) Sucks doesn't it.

Anyone buying stock in the Green Dot Pyramid?

Anonymous said...

"But, you don't do good research and think seriously about education."

So do we take educational research seriously?

tenniechic said...

My daughter loved math in grade school, got straight A's, scored 998/1000 on her high school placement test, and got into her choice--Northside College Prep HS. Then she hit IMP. Now she hates math, is getting C's, and spends entire weekends drawing busywork posters for IMP class but still doesn't know basic math formulas (sp?). IMP is a lie. What are Dr Webb's financial ties to IMP? Where else have schools dropped it?