Another story that again reveals a shocking lack of evidence on the part of the establishment and many of those seeking improvement.
Compton and Barrett rock!!!!
Bob Compton at 2 million minutes writes
http://2mm.typepad.com/usa/2009/08/poor-bill-melinda-they-mean-so-well-but-they-are-so-clueless.html
Bill & Melinda - they mean so well...they're trying so hard...But they are so misguided.
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Here is my response:
Nice title "They mean so well"
..... reminds me of Dr. Richard A. Askey's paper:
"Good Intentions are not Enough".
http://www.math.wisc.edu/~askey/ask-gian.pdfJuly 20, 21 more from GATES a (misguided) math conference......
IMAGINE: Mathematics Assessment For Learning
A Convening of Practitioners and Partners
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/edextranet/Pages/ImagineConvening2009.aspx
Again more talking about math education but no real concrete classroom recommendations.
Read John Hattie's "Visible Learning".
http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-synthesis-meta-analyses-achievement/dp/0415476186Hattie provides the evidence needed to make informed instructional decisions.
Education blunders on because "Fads" and a "Club Ed" politically correct ideology drive decision-making NOT evidence. Gates foundation has yet to interrupt this. The consultants and other pseudo-experts on education have helped push the USA into an enormous hole. I see NO evidence they are capable of guiding us out.
The local school districts like Seattle still believe in "Best Math Practices" etc. that have no evidentiary validation.
The UW in collaboration with the Seattle schools devised a school NSF/EHR funded project at Cleveland High School from 2006-2009 using the "exemplary" Interactive Math Program,
http://www.math.uic.edu/~cpmp/a problem-based mathematics curriculum. The results were a disaster. Hattie found "problem-based" learning to have an effect size of 0.15. He recommends effect sizes of 0.40 or greater for proposed innovations. Check the Cleveland HS 10th grade 2008 math score for students who experienced the full two years of this program:
http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/waslTrend.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=1070&reportLevel=School&orgLinkId=1070&yrs=&year=&gradeLevelId=10&waslCategory=1&chartType=1
Unfortunately .... accountability is absent and evidence is ignored.
Seattle has chosen to top off their misdirected k-8 math program of Everyday Math and Connected Math 2 with "Discovering Algebra" and "Discovering Geometry".
Discovering Algebra : An Investigative Approach
http://www.keypress.com/x5265.xmlEffect size of 0.31 for Inquiry Learning.
The National Math Advisory Panel recommends explicit instruction for those struggling to learn math, which in Seattle is at least 50% of the student population. Instead the district decides on:
1..... Investigations at the beginning of each lesson help you give all your students—regardless of their mathematical backgrounds—a shared experience from which to base their learning.
2.... You will be able to teach an algebra course that is both rigorous and accessible to your students because the investigations give meaning to mathematics that all students, regardless of their skill level, can understand.
To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data NOT just belief in publisher's fairy-tales.
Direct Instruction (0.59)
Mastery Learning (0.58)
Problem Solving teaching (0.61)
Worked Examples (0.57)
The above could have been a positive beginning in attempting to correct over a decade of malpractice. Instead Seattle blunders on.
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Compton wrote:
If America would just listen to Craig Barrett we'd be half way to a world class education. The steps are simple:
1-
set the curriculum to the same level of difficulty as your economic competitors (sort of like training to win in a globally competitive sport - train as intensely as your competitors and you may have a shot)
2-
hire teachers with Masters degrees in the discipline they are to teach and then coach them on being effective teachers. It is much easier to coach an MS in Physics on how to teach, than to coach an Education major to be a physicist. Try it at home; see for yourself.
{so is there any evidence Seattle could coach anyone in math or science to be an effective teacher?}
3- measure results - use the AP exams as national standards and test to see how students and teachers are progressing.
Has anyone other than a few US Charter schools (and 400 million Indians and Chinese) tried that simple formula?
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In regard to #1 Seattle prefers to run away and hide with "Discovering" Math series from Key Curriculum Press....... Seattle has not even figured out where the playing field is, thus competing is out of the question.
In regard to #2 Salaries and instructional materials selections are so bad who would even consider working in this system a reasonable undertaking? Seattle's last two math program managers produced the math show but had NO undergraduate degree in mathematics. Masters degrees in content areas for teachers is a big reach when the math program managers and math coaches often do not have undergraduate degrees in mathematics.
I would suggest as #4 a reasonable but often neglected starting place is to get grades k-4 squared away. "Project Follow Through" would be a great starting place.