Sunday, September 13, 2015

SBAC Math scores for Seattle's Math in Focus adoption = Good News

#1 .. Originally I was not a big supporter of Seattle's Math in Focus adoption because MSP testing indicated that what Seattle had been doing the last few years was producing good MSP scores at grades 3, 4, 5.   The average of the last four years MSP Math pass rates were above the State averages at each grade level.  The difference in pass rates was widening and particularly so the last two years of MSP testing.

#2 ..  When a new adoption takes place there is often a transition period of a few years as teachers get familiar with materials and students become better prepared for the material they are required to know.  When books are switched student mastery of grade level Pre-requisites for the best learning may not be present.

#3 ..  The average of the SPS Math MSP difference for the four years from 2010-2011 thru 2013-2014:   Difference is Seattle's Pass Rate average minus State's pass rate average.

Grade 3 +7.18%                 Grade 4   +7.28%             Grade 5    +5.73%

#4  ..  The differences from SBAC Math testing for 2014-2015 (the first year of Math in Focus)

Grade 3 +7.20%                 Grade 4   +9.40%             Grade 5    +7.90%

#5  ..   Those differences above state test levels were the highest ever at Grades 4 and 5.   So it seems the best course of action would be to have teachers proceed forward using whatever plan was in place in 2014-2015 school year.

#6 .. Qualified teachers who know math and a good math textbook are the two most important educational tools.  .... Now if only those teachers were given enough preparation time.

#7 ..  It appears that the SPS math leaders may be planning to change the scope and sequence of Math in Focus teaching to a different presentation order than what the MIF book recommends complete with non-MiF supplements.  I would certainly question any decision in that direction at this time.

Update:  -- it seems that
Teachers will be required to follow the SPS district developed ELA and Math Scope and Sequence unless a teacher gets an approved waiver.   ---   seems the same thing is happening in Highline SD.

The rationale for these moves is apparently Common Core State Standards alignment.  It would be wonderful if the rationale was to maximize student learning by following a proven effective program of instruction.  Instead we will likely see tinkering with scope and sequence as well as adding and deleting materials used for instruction.  Yet why would these changes be effective?  Is there any relevant data or is it just philosophical belief that drives SPS decision-making?

 Math in Focus is not the original Singapore Primary Math Series,  used by many home-schoolers and high performing charter schools.  Singapore Primary Math Series was also used in the past by Craig Parsley at Boren STEM school in West Seattle and for a long time at Schmitz Park school in West Seattle.

1 comment:

dan dempsey said...

The above situation reminds me of a phrase applied by Starbuck, WA school board members to some members in the Starbuck community:

They meddle, meddle in school business.

The same phrase might be correctly applied to apparently over-paid SPS administrators in regard to the Scope and Sequence of Math in Focus... They meddle, meddle in school business.