Friday, April 24, 2009

Data Crunching want some data here it is


It seems beyond belief the Seattle Schools District Administration could have even proposed such poor materials for a HS math adoption. Now it looks likely these may be adopted.

The district is ignoring the National Math Advisory Panel Report that calls for example based instruction, which requires books with clear examples and clear definitions.

Instead the district has decided to continue the math plan to nowhere.

There will be no books adopted below Algebra I..... Yes you heard right ... even though approximately 30% of 8th graders are unable to score above WASL level 1 in math (that is the totally clueless level) there will be no books below algebra I adopted.

The plan is that with differentiated instruction and all kinds of support and interventions all will be well. Rather than just assuming this is more district nonsense based on nothing and will never be fulfilled, I undertook an investigation.

Over the last few years Cleveland and Garfield have been doing almost exactly what is proposed for many 9th and 10th graders. This was part of the NSF funded Professional Development Cubed Project through UW. This provided lots of resources (way more money was spent on Cleveland Math and Garfield Math in this undertaking than can possibly be spent at the high schools in Seattle with this $1.2 million adoption).

This District plan will use the "Discovering Series" from Key Curriculum Press rather than Interactive Math Project (IMP) used at Cleveland and Garfield. Very little difference as both lack example based instruction and clear definitions. Both were also winners in Adoption processes .. although the board had the good sense to not allow IMP to go anywhere Spring 2008.

You can click here for a powerpoint that compares "Discovering Algebra" with an example based book "Prentice Hall Algebra I".

As if the fact that the State Board of Education found the "Discovering Series" mathematically unsound was not bad enough ..... consider the following data crunching (spreadsheet email me for it at

Hey about those supports promised by Seattle Math Program Director Anna-Maria de la Fuente, I hope she has a ton of money to pour into all the SPS schools ... because PD^3 $$$$ coupled with books without example based instruction was a big big failure. So her plan is to extend the Cleveland-Garfield model of differentiated instruction Seattle style to everyone.

Just Say NO!!!!

I took the average WASL math score for Spring 05&06
compared that to the WASL Spring 08 scores for

Black students and Limited English at Garfield, Cleveland and Franklin
Spring Math WASL 2008 minus Spring 05 & 06 average:

Limited English Garfield -10.70%
Limited English Cleveland -8.75%
Franklin +9.95%

Don't be surprised at these results that math books with lots of words and few if any examples do not work well for limited English kids... only SPS admin seems incapable of understanding this.

Black Garfield +0.60%
Cleveland -6.20%
Franklin +3.10%

FRANKLIN WINS !!!! and Franklin got no help from the UW....
Franklin got no additional money from NSF .... but Franklin had a secret weapon they were not using really crappy books ... now just imagine what could happen with good books.....
BUT the plan is for crappy books with a crappy plan for every kid...
Hard to believe but I think the SPS may be able to expand that huge achievement gap.

Do these folks need a discrimination lawsuit filed in court to get them to stop expanding the achievement gap?

I began testifying at Seattle School board meetings on Jan 17, 2007 about the fact that the achievement gap has been expanding annually (for a decade) because of poor decision making by the administration in regard to math materials and instruction.

They still don't get it.




Anonymous said...

SPS doesn't look at numbers they only listen to their millionaire con artists (buy our textbooks and we'll fly you off to Chicago) so you can hear them gloat about all the wonderful things they do for schools. If your students don't believe in a god now, they will when they finish with one of their classes.

Learn by inspiration - its the easiest way of convincing Americans to get an education - using books without 'conventional' meaning. Algorithms are one example. But what about statistics, that reform is so careful to point out to us.

Here's an example:

MAD - Mean Absolute Deviation
Standard Deviation

This is a debate that has been going on for almost a 100 years. Which is a better measurement of central tendency to the mean.

And it was settled years ago until the DOE's exemplary textbooks were published. See Fisher (1919) v. Eddington (1920).

What is a puzzle for teachers and professors is not whether one definition is better than another (virtually no one is familiar with MAD, unless you happen to teach with Core Plus. Why would you want students to learn the MAD (perhaps because its an easier to compute in the table mode of the calculator.) Never mind that one can compute SD with the press of a key without programming the calculator (using a built in function).

But if the entire world, that I know about anyway, is using SD, then why should Core Plus spend so much time on MAD (when its not even in the standards nor being tested.) Computing the SD is not even in the SAT.

Now you might agree that Core Plus looks just plain weird and the authors were no doubt idiots -but there are districts which continue using these textbooks without regard to teachers, parents, or students criticisms. The NSF/AAAS/MAA are led by impoverished minds, clueless and arrogant hucksters.

Anonymous said...

Washington's reform curriculum will only lower test scores further. It is going to worsen, especially if the state continues to lower the threshold. We're not talking about test scores - we're talking about college graduates raised on full-time math reform (Everyday math graduates).

Anonymous said...

You'll love this story - every once in a while I like to dig up old news -- Here's a well-known scatatologist writing about a district (home of CMP) that switched from Saxon to Everyday back in 2001 on the Math forum --

"At the risk of gloating too soon, I will recount my
visit yesterday to two schools in the Willow Run
School District regarding the rise and fall of Saxon
Math back in the late 80's and early 90's. Two former
6th grade math teachers at the district middle school
where I did some research in '92-94 (both
African-American females) related information that
calls into question former WRHS math chair Bob Roth's
account of things as posted here back in late January
("Saxon and Me"). I have asked them to either post
something to this list or to forward something to me
that I can post, and for permission to use their
names. One is now a vice-principal, the other is spear
heading the math program for the middle school section
of the (relatively) new math and science academy (a
magnet program in the district for elementary and
middle school kids, I gather). Based on my
conversations with them yesterday, the primary reason
Saxon was dropped was that it did not align with
ANYTHING: not the MEAP (our state assessment, not the
state curriculum framework, and not with district
goals). Test results declined, and eventually the
superintendent at the time, who was initially a Saxon
supporter, worked towards the removal of the program.

However, it should be noted that Saxon was only being
used in 7-12, and that these two sixth grade teachers
and their two colleagues teaching sixth grade math at
the time opposed Saxon Math and never used it, as was
their option to do as they saw fit.

The district is now part of a middle school math
curriculum reform project (based at Western Michigan
University, but separate from the Core Plus
Mathematics Project) and is now (or about to be) using
one of several of the USDoE Exemplary and Promising
middle school programs. The magnet school uses
Connected Math, and the rest of the district will
probably use Math Thematics (I learned in Orlando that
my former district, Wayne-Westland schools, a very
large district near Dearborn) is also part of that
curriculum reform project and is going with Math
Thematics for next year. I was told yesterday that
Willow Run will be using either Everyday Math or TERC
Investigations starting this fall.

Now speed up to 2008:

Willow Run superintendent presents plan for reform
Posted by David Jesse | The Ann Arbor News May 02, 2008 10:02AM
Categories: Breaking News
Saying that turning around a struggling high school requires dramatic steps, Willow Run Community Schools Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson unveiled a restructuring plan that will send ripples all the way down to the district's elementary schools in the coming years.

The plan, which was presented to the school board Thursday night, calls for sixth-graders to be returned to the elementary schools by the 2009-2010 school year.

It also calls for the creation of a new ninth-grade academy to be housed in the middle school during the same school year, and the possibility for a gender-based academy for students in the seventh and eighth grades during the 2009-2010 school year.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the plan May 15. Once the board approves a plan, the Michigan Department of Education will be asked to sign off on it as well.

"We're looking at taking some drastic measures to fix drastic situations," Hope-Jackson said. "We cannot continue on the course we are on."

Willow Run is required by law to restructure its high school because it has not met federal guidelines under the No Child Left Behind Act, Hope-Jackson said.

Reporter David Jesse can be reached at 734-994-6937 or

The plan, which was developed and reviewed by several committees, calls for sweeping changes in the way the district does business. The district has already combined its middle school and high school into one secondary complex under one principal.
The district plans to hire a full-time dean of students for the 2008-2009 school year to handle discipline issues at the high school.
That will free up other administrators to work with students and give instructional guidance to staff, the plan says.

Also during the 2008-2009 school year, students from Kettering Elementary who would normally leave the school for the middle school will stay at the elementary school for sixth grade as a pilot project.

If that works out, the following year all sixth-graders will remain at the elementary schools.

Also in that year, a new ninth-grade academy will start. That will allow administrators and teachers to work closer with those students, Hope-Jackson said.

"It is the belief of the administration and staff that the additional year at the middle school for the ninth-grade students as a 9th Grade Academy will be beneficial to the students in better preparing them to successfully navigate through their high school years," the plan says. "In addition to the foregoing, because district data indicates that a significant number of fifth-grade students do not move on to the middle school as sixth-graders, to retain these students in the district for another year, the elementary schools will serve kindergarten through sixth grade."

The district will also be placing special emphasis on math, Hope-Jackson said.

That includes employing math consultants and providing technical support to math teachers.

The high school will also offer double math blocks in which one math class will replace an elective.

Some school board members expressed concerns about the district's budget, which has been in a deficit for several years. They questioned whether the district could afford the plan.

However, school board member Harold Wimberly said the district must act.

"We've got to find the money," he said. "Our kids are failing."

Anonymous said...

Check out Harold Fawcett (pres. nctm 1957) discovery learning! the roots to the math reform movement lie at Ohio State University.

Anonymous said...

From p. 148 Changing Classes by Martin Packer

Dec 1993 "We would like to congradulate for the broad based efforts underway in Willow Run."

MSSI Evaluation Team, Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University.

Hey aren't those the guys in the Ohio State University Study done in Austin a decade earlier?

Willow Run then (1993) vs. Willow Run now (2009)

We are in for a long cold winter.