Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SBE Math Panel meeting 3-3-2009 ... R.I.P.

Quick over-view of meeting.

1. It was the last meeting. The panel is sunset-ed in June 2009 due to lack of funding. That means in the future the SBE will be making math decisions without guidance. The equivalent of hoping for a good outcome while walking blindfolded back and forth across I-5.

2. The best of the books is barely adequate = Holt is the least inadequate.

3. There are no intervention materials for high school thus all we have is likely Holt Algebra I for incoming 9th graders. Districts will need a plan.

4. Districts need to be very aware of the standards and the fact that none of these books do a great job. Teach the standards do not just figure the book will do it. Authentic Algebra please.

5. Glencoe is filled with errors and Discovering Algebra is woefully inadequate.

6. Districts and the state may have been better off to select books based on Algebra content presentation and forget the statistics because the stats can be added with supplementary material if you can find a great algebra book.

7. The geometry situation was not much better. Discovering Geometry is just as poor as Discovering Algebra.

8. All in all a pretty disappointing end of 24 months of thinking. BUT at least we know the score , that knowledge is a big improvement from two years ago.

Dan

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Did Plattner mention the other math curriculum(s)out she felt the state of Washington should investigate?

T^2

dan dempsey said...

Dear T^2,

No. I mentioned to her that I was using Paul Foerster's classic Algebra I.

She said she'd heard good things but some felt it was too difficult for marginal students.

Nothing else was mentioned and this was only in passing.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Thanks. What do you think the SBE and Randy Dorn are going to recommend?

T^2

dan dempsey said...

There appears to be no money for more state level investigations into HS math textbooks. The districts will need to do some analysis on their own.

dan dempsey said...

T^2,

They will have real problems if they recommend anything other than Holt.

It will be hard enough saying Internationally Competitive and Holt in the same sentence. To mention any of the other three would border on Nonsense.....
but then again for over a decade OSPI has been a synonym for nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for the info. I shall keep my fingers crossed and hope for rational thought.

Anonymous said...

Dan,
I'm missing a few blanks -

1. these are the H.S. texts that OSPI will be recommending, OR

this is what SBE recommends, OR

this is what the panel recommends that SBE recommends to OSPI ...?

2. Are Finland and Singapore and Massachusetts and CA and ... teaching some kind of Algebra 1 that isn't just what the text books I've skimmed have? Glencoe, Holt, Prentice Hall - they seem relatively similar in content ...

3. WHY spend all kinds of time and money looking analyzing if the material pertaining to linear equations or quadratic equations is adequate?

This is only my 4th year teaching math - WHY is it so hard to flip through 15 pages from 4 key sections, and the book is either good, maybe, or sucks?

I don't see why this should take months or years of study ...

there are 100 ways to make hollandaise sauce, 8 of them are excellent, some are mediocre, and the rest are crap (I'm dramatizing a bit, BUT...).

I cooked professionally for 15 years, 5 of them in fine dining. I don't need 1/2 an hour to tell you if some food process or some food stuff is crap.

Oh well, thanks for the updates.

bob.

dan dempsey said...

Bob,

This will be a recommendation to the SBE from Strategic Teaching. Then the SBE recommends to OSPI and OSPI acts on the SBE wishes (I guess?).

Your Hollandaise sauce analogy holds for both Discovering Algebra and College Prep Math. In an hour's review .. DA is extremely poor and CPM is inadequate.

You are spot on ... OSPI spent a whole lot of money and I believe largely due to Dana Center and Bergeson bungling we got a ranked list of books. These texts had an absence of high quality or promise near the top. As so often happens it seems the process was defective.

This circus was founded in Bergeson's belief that WA will develop world class materials and world class standards. We wasted lots of time and money. The k-6 materials are in Singapore .. all we needed to do was select them and figure out how to teach our teachers enough mathematics to use Singapore math.

There is good advice here:
http://www.ams.sunysb.edu/~tucker/LeadEssay.pdf
for selecting materials.

----------------
Teach the standards if you can figure out what the standards mean.

Of course you will need SPS permission to teach the standards as currently k-5 teachers are to teach Everyday Math using the pacing plan and ignore the Washington grade level math performance expectations.

Robin said...

Dan,

One of the most informative parts of last year's NMAP Report is the Report of the Task Group on Conceptual Knowledge and Skills. It points out what is wrong with US algebra textbooks in general. It uses an out of print Dolciani text for comparison of what could be.

Dolciani remains a co-author of McDougall Littell's Structure and Method books with Richard G. Brown as the lead author. These books are still in print and are full of example based instruction and word problems that relate to high school and college science.

They are a treasure to anyone who wishes to learn authentic algebra.

I regularly recommend them to parents and teachers looking for solid resources.

Dedicated Mom

Anonymous said...

Dolciani would be a constructive test, if you were making comparisons to other textbooks, definitely a good choice for authentic algebra. This is not the most effective textbook for teaching, but in terms of content - yes.

Literacy is key when working with non-standard English-speaking populations. McDougal is too difficult even for average readers. Holt is written at a lower reading level.

The primary complaint has always been too much lower-order thinking with traditional textbooks. I don't think this is accurate, but I don't think its entirely wrong. In too many of the problems, it is devoid of meaningful context. The best contexts should be visual, yet still have some abstract qualities. So that students are still forced to think abstract and logically (integrate with geometry.) You have more vocabulary, more interaction with students.



I would prefer Singapore when making comparisons, but most Americans are not familiar with Singapore while the majority of adults 40 and above were probably raised with Dolciani.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the suspension of special education teachers in Seattle who honored parents requests to not administer the WAAS to their severely disabled children. Where is the union?
Where are the lawmakers? Where is justice in Washington?

dan dempsey said...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the suspension of special education teachers in Seattle who honored parents requests to not administer the WAAS to their severely disabled children. Where is the union?
Where are the lawmakers? Where is justice in Washington?

March 5, 2009 4:25 PM

Bigger questions:
What does the SPS school board think?

What is going on in Maria Goodloe-Johnson's head?


The SPS resembles a dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

Very good. I would think SBE would have been informed before the teachers were disciplined. Where's the union on this?

dan dempsey said...

The Union the Seattle Education Association is usually one of the first to duck and cover.

It will be interesting to see if this goes to court and whether the union provides representation.

dan dempsey said...

Did Plattner mention the other math curriculum(s)out she felt the state of Washington should investigate?

T^2

Actually... now that I think about it. The thought was to look at the next few selections in the OSPI ranking, which would include Prentice Hall one of Seattle's three finalists.