Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is a math credit or a diploma?

During the break last week I visited OSPI. Two math credits are currently required for graduation. These credits are to be aimed at the 9th and 10th grade math standards.

A credit is to be a course with a minimum of 150 hours of instruction.
So 1 school year = theoretically 180 days of instruction (do you believe this?)
At 50 minute classes 180 days x 5/6 hours per day = 150 hours.....
but wait what about absences is there a minimum number of hours of attendance required? NO.

Is a Core-plus Integrated 1 and 2 two credits worth the same as a
Dolciani and Brown Algebra 1 and Geometry? In the eyes of the state yes.

So today I bumped into roughly this same question at the University level here:

Colleges in 3 States to Set Basics for Degrees ... what a plan.
Atta boy to the Colleges.

Meanwhile back in Olympia the legislators were all sitting around the campfire cooking up a way to try to get the math train somewhere near the tracks.

Given that NCLB requires testing of the State math Standards and that some element of this is needed to graduate from high school according to the NCLB high grand pooh bahs, what is a legislator to do?

It looks like we will be seeing an End of Course test for year 1 math that will be made up of the standards that an Algebra Course teaches that are also taught in some integrated 1 classes. YUP you guess it the lowest common denominator strikes again as there are not a whole pot full of standards in common.

On the positive side of this is the fact that there will be only 1 test and that all high schools can then be compared and perhaps some judgments can be made about how well different materials and approaches work.

Yes, this is miles away from that talk about internationally competitive math standards and assessments that evaluate the learning of those standards, but hey its Olympia needing to interface with NCLB .... not to mention parents.

Anyway this bill still has a bit more back and forth coming before signing.
The net result of this may well be that High Schools forget about teaching anything except those common standards ... forget the rest of algebra 1 and in other districts forget the rest of Integrated 1. {Reality crunch time get those kids to pass}

I think I shall make a killing by publishing the WA State year 1 High School math text. It will cover only what will be tested. It can be really small and easy to carry. Thus a low shipping cost. No it is not going to prepare a kid for college but then we just went through years of Terry Bergeson math that did not prepare kids for college either so that should not be a problem.

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