Monday, June 8, 2009

Conspiracy by avoidance (common)

There appears to be a conspiracy to avoid relevant documents that would contradict some districts' predetermined inquiry oriented math direction. Staying away from NMAP at all costs is particularly important if the wish is to continue an inquiry based direction with struggling students.

Look at South Whibey for a case in point. See here:

Here are South Whidbey percents of those failing to meet WASL math standard:
.............Spring 2007 ... Spring 2008

grade 8 ....45.3% .... 48.3%
grade 10 ...41.0% .... 47.7%

grade 4 ....52.5% .... 39.9%

So a great question to ask is: "Have the So.Whid. committee members read NMAP?" Reading of the NMAP recommendations for Struggling Math students of which SW has a sufficient quantity, should be required reading. Why are struggling students needs rarely considered?

Do these SW folks believe that "Discovering" provides "explicit intruction" ?

It appears they see a problem solving approach in "Discovering" which they prefer over "Explicit Instruction".

Is the So. Whidbey decision influenced by the fact that so many of their students are arithmetically unprepared for an "Authentic Algbra" Class?

Looking into the future it appears that many So. Whidbey kids will be placed at the first year high school math level (or lower) when the are placed into a first math class at community college.

At Seattle Central Community College for a period of a few years entering students who were recent high school graduates had the following placements: 22% into a college level math class that counts for credit; 30% into the equivalent of High School Math 1; 20% placed into a math class below the equivalent of High School math one.

South Whidbey is 89% white with 20% Low-Income and approx 2000 students. The 4th grade pass rates are in decline, never having exceeded 57%. Last year 4th grade WASL scores dropped from 52.2% to 39.9% passing. In third grade (2007) pass rate was 0.6% below state average. Same kids in grade 4 (2008) math pass rate was 13.7% lower than state average. state 53.6% vs. SW at 39.9% ... Pretty sad.

Curricula (From OSPI - School District Mathematics Curricula Adoption and Usage – Nov 2008)

Elementary -- Math Trailblazers ..Every 6-8 Years ..2009 yr of next adoption

Middle School -- Connected Math Project (CMP) Every 6-8 Years ..2009 yr of next adoption

High School -- Core Plus ..Every 6-8 Years ..2009 yr of next adoption

It's interesting how different teachers opinions can be between districts. Shoreline's process included an all high school teacher review of three programs. This is how the teacher preferences were scored:
69% PH 2011
28% Holt
3% Discovering

Additionally, parent input to the process, answering 15 questions like "provides clear and helpful examples to help me help my student" showed that Discovering received an average of about 30% agree or strongly agree, and about 75% agree or strongly agree with the Holt or Prentice Hall approach to teaching math. If the South Whidbey SD had provided a real opportunity for parents to participate in the process, as required by state law, the results may have turned out differently.

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