Chariho uses the TERC Investigations math curriculum. It began at Chariho 5 years ago. I’m looking into what we used before. [update] Prior to Investigations Math, we used the Connections Math.

The best way to understand “how” we teach math is to watch some of the available videos.

Math: An Inconvenient Truth Video 1

Parent’s have been concerned about TERC programs since their inception. Here is an article from the Providence Journal April 2000.

Here is an article from Seekonk 2005.

Here are some tests provided by Singapore Math (a competitor to TERC math), to determine the grade level competence of your child.

Bill Quirk lives in CT and has done a lot of work investigating “New Math.”

[from his website]

### Who is Bill Quirk? (**wgquirk@wgquirk.com)**

Bill Quirk is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from The New Mexico State University. Over a span of 8 years, he taught 26 different courses in math and computer science at Penn State, Northern Illinois University, and Jacksonville University.

For a 15 year period, beginning in 1981, Bill developed and presented courses dealing with interactive systems design. His company, William G. Quirk Seminars, specialized in software usability and served hundreds of organizations, including AT&T, Bank of America, FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, General Electric, General Foods, Harvard Business School, Hewlett-Packard, Hughes Aircraft, IBM, MIT, Mobil Oil, NASA, NIH, Texas Instruments, and The Travelers.

Beginning in 1996, Bill embarked on a public service endeavor to help parents besieged with new “math” programs. He is a major contributor to Mathematically Correct (http://mathematicallycorrect.com/) and a national advisor to NYC HOLD ( http://www.math.nyu.edu/mfdd/braams/nychold/).

Bill Quirk has, in my opinion, accumulated the most comprehensive information on the topic.

TERC – An Analysis of the TERC Program

You can find other videos and links to websites on a previous Forum post.

Here is a list of websites who are also concerned about the New Math.

http://mathematicallycorrect.com/

www.weaponsofmathdestruction.com

**[UPDATE] Pasted below is a link to an email from me requesting commentary from the Assistant Superintendent, her response memo and documentation. The name of “Envisions” math looks blacked out but it is highlighted – just looks blacked out in the scan. I don’t know the site she is using for the chart, but links are available to chase it down.**

This is so darned frustration and for the life of me I can’t understand why administrations, and not just Chariho, remain committed to a curriculum that fails!?!

Comment by Curious Resident — March 30, 2007 @ 8:09 pm |

Hey, Curious

I was at Burger King the other day. When the register didn’t calculate the change for him, the kid had to use a calculator to figure out the change. Sadly, I figured it out before he did. He used a calculator; I used my brain. Way to go TERC.

Comment by Lois Buck — April 10, 2007 @ 9:15 pm |

Thanks for the link to my site. My wife and I were classmates at South Kingstown HS. There was no Chariho in our day. Kids from your area attended SKHS.

Comment by Bill Quirk — July 19, 2007 @ 3:35 pm |

Some idiot wanted to “try” this math. With true CHARIHO thinking, they looked to jump on the “new and better” bandwagon for good press, I am sure. Unproven except for being thought unusable and a foolish way to teach math, the program went into the current studies at CHARIHO. Want to test the knowledge gained? Ask for 1/3 of a pound of anything at the Deli. Near impossible for a graduate to figure out without a table on the scale!

I once tried to pay for a bill of $2.65 with $3.15. WOW talk about confusion!

Comment by Georgies Mom — October 3, 2007 @ 5:43 pm |

This from the Chariho Times:

“For the Chariho School District, students in 2007 were 61.1 percent proficient in English, which was down .4 percent from last year’s 61.5 percent, and in math students were 56.4 percent proficient, which is down more than two percentage points from last year’s 58.5 percent.”

Does anyone know when TERC/Investigations was implemented? Two percentage points is a huge drop and I’m wondering if the poor math curriculum choice is coming home to roost? In a way I almost hope so because if last year’s 11th graders weren’t forced fed TERC/Investigations, we can expect to see math scores plummet even more in the coming years.

Comment by Curious Resident — October 21, 2007 @ 10:34 pm |

I find your comments to be uninformed. Most of the districts with the highest student achievement in math in Massachusetts use TERC’s Investigations.

Comment by Marcia Lukon — November 16, 2007 @ 3:22 pm |

That all you got Marcia? I find your comment uninformed. California tried Investigations/TERC for 8 years. After math scores took a nose dive, they finally got rid of it. Messed up children for 8 years.

Perhaps Massachusetts hasn’t been using it long enough to feel the full impact. Provide me with some details of Investigations usage in Mass. and I’ll do the research for you.

Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2007 @ 10:14 pm |

This wouldn’t be you by any chance, would it?

School Administrator, Feb, 2004

The Berlin-Boylston Regional School District and Union 60 in Boylston, Mass., recently appointed Marcia Lukon as superintendent. She moved to the regional district from the Norfolk, Mass., Public Schools where she had served as superintendent for nearly four years. Lukon previously worked as director of curriculum in Westford, Mass., and as principal of elementary schools in Plainville and Stafford, Conn.

Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2007 @ 10:17 pm |

The information above is a little dated. The item below is from May, 2007. If this Marcia is the same one, then maybe it’s not as bad as I thought…a no confidence vote from a Teachers’ Association could be a good thing. Superintendants who please teacher unions usually do so at the expense of children and taxpayers.

“Lukon, who was hired in 2003, declined to accept a new contract from the committee. She has been criticized for her budget process and the Boylston Teachers Association hit her with a no confidence vote last year.”

Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2007 @ 10:22 pm |

Well there we have it, Ms. Lukon is now living in Charlestown and working part-time for the Jamestown school system. If they don’t already have TERC/Investigations there, I hope they keep her out of curriculum decisions.

http://www.jamestownpress.com/news/2007/0830/News/036.html

Ironically, I know people in Boyleston where Ms. Lukon formerly was employed as superintendant. Their child has the same math problems as many Chariho children denied math skills by the Investigations curriculum. I’ve advised my friends to get their child tutoring, but it may be too late.

Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2007 @ 10:37 pm |

Amazing what you can discover. This from the minutes of 2005 Berlin-Boyleston School Committee meeting:

“Parents had a “lively” discussion concerning the math curriculum and MCAS scores, which dropped this year. Dr. Lukon explained that math scores dropped across the state, and suggested that the reason might lie in the test questions themselves.”

Comment by Curious Resident — November 19, 2007 @ 10:49 pm |

My daughters class is now trying….

I found the math program for the 4th grade class at Ashaway Iam looking into it, it’s new so I haven’t found out much about it yet. enVision Math by Pearson Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley – the web page I found http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ153&PMDbSiteId=2781&PMDbSolutionId=6724&PMDbSubSolutionId=6731&PMDbCategoryId=806&PMDbProgramId=34505&level=4

hope it works!

Tell me what you think

Comment by A’s Mom — November 8, 2007 @ 1

Comment by A's Mom — November 30, 2007 @ 10:13 am |

Here’s the topic categories:

Topic 1: Numeration

Topic 2: Adding and Subtracting Whole Numbers

Topic 3: Multiplication Meanings and Facts

Topic 5: Multiplying by 1-Digit Numbers

Topic 6: Patterns and Expressions

Topic 7: Multiplying by 2-Digit Numbers

Topic 10: Understanding Fractions

Topic 11: Adding and Subtracting Fractions

Topic 12: Understanding Decimals

Topic 13: Operations with Decimals

Based solely on topic headings, it seems to be half abstract (TERC/Investigation) and half practical. For instance, they have “Understanding fractions (abstract) and adding and subtracting fractions (practical).

I’m still not satisfied because I think historically 4th grade students may have touched upon the abstract, but really most classroom time was spent teaching the practical. Once you know how fractions, decimals, etc. work, you begin to understand them in abstract terms. I’d rather see 4th graders concentrate on the actual math and let the abstract concepts come to them as they develop actual math skills.

If the book is true to its topic headings, it does look like they back off somewhat, but they are still experimenting as long as they feel they should be teaching the concept rather than letting it naturally develop from the base knowledge.

This is a big mistake. Children, or adults, cannot retain abstract concepts without strong foundational knowledge. Schools/Chariho should abandon TERC/Investigation completely. We need to go back to the basic skills that children around the world are taught and which puts them ahead of our children who are denied foundational learning.

Comment by Curious Resident — December 7, 2007 @ 6:00 pm |

no. 5856, pp. 1534 – 1535

DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5856.1534

Prev | Table of Contents | Next

News of the Week

MATHEMATICS EDUCATION:

U.S. Expert Panel Sees Algebra As Key to Improvements in Math

Jeffrey Mervis

What counts. The math panel pauses from editing its report to hear from U.S. Education Secretary Spellings.

CREDIT: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND–No single report will end the decade-long debate about why U.S. students aren’t doing better in math. But last week, a panel of experts assembled by the Department of Education signaled it had reached consensus on one of the most important topics in that debate: how students can become proficient in algebra.

Usually offered in the 8th or 9th grade, algebra is a gateway course for high school mathematics; without mastering algebra, a college degree in science or engineering is impossible. Its importance has made it the primary focus of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, convened in April 2006. Last week, the group of 19 mathematicians, psychologists, and educators vetted a 68-page draft report due out this winter that members hope will play a major role in shaping math instruction across an education system that comes in 50 state flavors, with variations by 14,000 local school districts.

The report, debated line by line during an open 6-hour meeting at an airport hotel here, contains dozens of recommendations on how to boost student achievement in math. Taking aim at watered-down courses, the report defines the content of a rigorous algebra course as well as what students need to know before taking it. It urges school districts “to avoid an approach that continually revisits topics, year after year, without closure,” part of what critics deride as a “mile-wide, inch-deep” math curriculum. It recommends giving teachers more authority to choose those educational materials and practices best suited to their students. It also calls for more useful assessments of what students know and for shifting educational policy debates “away from polarizing controversies.”

At the same time, says panel chair Larry Faulkner, a chemist and former University of Texas president, the report will note that little or no good data exist on several hot-button issues. On choosing between a prescribed math curriculum presented by the teacher and one that incorporates what piques the interest of students, Faulkner notes, “it’s a matter of religion, and it’s important for the world to know that.” That uncertainty is also true, he says, for whether elementary school students should be taught by math specialists rather than their regular classroom teacher. On the use of calculators in class, the group was deliberately equivocal: Math educator Douglas Clements of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, told his fellow panelists that “we found limited to no impact on computational skills, problem-solving abilities, and conceptual development.”

Despite the panel’s desire for a consensus document, many issues seem likely to remain contentious long after the report is released. Take the discussion about how to teach arithmetic and whole numbers. Harvard University mathematician Wilfried Schmid argued strongly for including the phrase “the standard” in a paragraph that calls for “fluency with the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.” The two words, especially the article, are a rallying cry for the back-to-basics movement, which cites changes in the mathematics curriculum introduced in the 1990s as a major reason for low test scores. “Without that word,” Schmid exhorted his colleagues, “we are sending a message that anything goes.”

Math educator Deborah Ball of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, demurred, arguing that retaining the phrase would hamstring teachers who may want to use student-derived approaches in their lessons. “We’re not talking about how to teach math in this paragraph,” she explained, “and the use of alternative algorithms can be a useful tool for teachers. I’d like to drop the ‘the.’ ” After more discussion, her view was adopted unanimously.

The vote was a cue for Francis “Skip” Fennel, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and chair of the subgroup that had worked on this section and who supported Ball’s position, to take a coffee break. But the discussion wasn’t over. As a way to reopen the issue, Schmid said another panel member, Fairfax, Virginia, middle school math teacher Vern Williams, had asked for his reaction to the vote and that “I am not distraught, but I’d be happier if the word were kept.” The panel immediately took a second vote and decided, by a margin of 8-3, with three abstentions, to retain the article. Fennel then walked back in the room and, upon hearing about the new tally, declared: “You mean I lost?”

In addition to embodying the tensions within the math community, the panel is also carrying some heavy political baggage. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings dropped by the meeting to give the panel a brief pep talk and urge it to finish quickly. Notwithstanding the panel’s remaining work–it got through barely half of the 45 paragraphs in its draft executive summary–Spellings was comfortable describing its take-home message later to a small group of reporters.

The report will tell the country “what works” in math education, Spellings explained. “Once we know what works, it’s our responsibility to align the resources” from the federal, state, and local governments. Spellings said the report’s most important points are the need for students to master fractions, the importance of early childhood education, and the value of developing teacher skills, both during their training and after they are hired. Those messages dovetail with several initiatives proposed by the Bush Administration, including a $250 million Math Now program for middle school students that Congress has so far refused to fund

Comment by George Abbott — December 12, 2007 @ 10:51 pm |

I have a son who is in 12th grade. He was taught with the traditional math curriculum. My son in eighth grade was taught with the new curriculum. Although the eighth grader scored higher on standardized testing for math aptitude when they were both very young, the eighth grader taught using the new math is far, far behind my older son when it comes to being prepared for higher math like calculus.

This new math is terrible. I can’t believe they refuse to get rid of it. My daughter is in first grade and I don’t want another of my kids to suffer because of this bad experiment. My wife and I don’t need experts to tell us what we’ve seen for ourselves. The new math does not work. Stop studying it and start getting rid of it.

Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 14, 2007 @ 4:51 pm |

I found this while searching the web. This is from a college professor:

Here is a partial list of my objections to the TERC Investigations curriculum.

1. It is at least 2 years behind where it should be.

For example, my son’s second grade class has yet to do anything beyond 1-digit additions. The very last problem in the program, a word problem asking how many times 5 goes into 171 (with remainder), should be a third grade problem. TERC puts it at the very end of grade 5 as a CALCULATOR problem!

2. Important topics are omitted or superficially brushed over.

Mathematics is sequential. To learn it correctly one must throughly understand on level before moving on to the next (example, understand multiplication of whole numbers before plunging into multiplication of fractions). TERC covers NOTHING in depth except for whole number mental math. In particular, the treatment of measurement, geometry, and fractions — three major parts of the elemetary curriculum— is completely inadequate.

3. In the early grades progress in math is held hostage to writing skills.

Many TERC assignments require the student to give answers in complete english sentences. This is extremely difficult for first or second graders, and completely unnecessary. Mathematics has its own notation — numbers, equations, diagrams — that are very efficent and are independent of english. Indeed those notations were developed because ordinary english is inadequate for the purpose. That mathematical language should be used and learned.

4. The program actually contains very little mathematics.

Yes, there are lots of activities, but those often have little mathematical content. Example assignment:

Find a button. Write down all the words you can think of that describe your button.

That is an assignment my son’s class spent two days on. Such assignments make teachers happy since they are easy to understand and create the illusion that everyone is involved in learning. But the hours that are suppose to be spent on mathematics are often spent on something else. In fact, TERC students do a VERY limited number of problems per week. One simply cannot learn math doing 4-5 problems a week. TERC is a program that is only pretending to teach mathematics.

5. Effective methods of mathematics and modes of thought are not taught.

In fact, nothing is taught –everything is left to be `discovered’. That process is painfully slow, and leaves the students with cumbersome, unmathematical ways of thinking and solving problems. They are left to somehow muddle through mathematics without explanations.

Because nothing is explained there is no mechanism for correcting errors, confusions, and misunderstandings. Students do not have books so never get to see efficient elegant solutions, or even correct solutions. Parents do not see any books so are unable to help, or even recognize how little their children are learning.

The children are aware of this. They are unsure or what is expected and why. They do not develop confidence about their ability to do math.

TERC students will hit a wall, probably at the end of middle school. They are not being given the grounding needed to understand the abstractions of high school algebra and geometry. Their options for careers in science and engineering are being closed off by their elementary school program.

Thomas Parker

Professor of Mathematics

MichiganStgate University

Comment by Lois Buck — December 14, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |

I see Mr. Quirk has posted here. I found this as well. He thoroughly covers it. The link is below:

http://wgquirk.com/TERC.html

Comment by Lois Buck — December 14, 2007 @ 5:38 pm |

The fact that TERC doesn’t work is beyond dispute for me. Math scores plummet everywhere it is implemented. California tried it for 9 years and finally admitted their mistake…after destroying the math potential of how many students?

As this point I am most curious about what drives TERC? Are the proponents plain stupid or are there other motivations?

One possibility struck me when I did some “investigations” of my own. TERC is a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Reading their website you quickly understand that they have an ideological bent.

My theory is that Investigations appeals to schools where the student population may not have the support at home necessary to learn math basics through memorization.

Anybody remember flashcards? Flashcards were an integral part of rote learning, and to effectively memorize math algorithms it usually requires a home environment where parents work with a child. Children from single-parented homes don’t always get the educational attention required. I believe TERC was developed to equalize the learning experience so that all students can fail math equally.

The TERC company is very female oriented. Girls are more likely to be “verbal/oral” and boys tend to be stronger with “visual/spatial”. Math is inherently visual spatial and therefore males have historically done better in maths and sciences; while girls tend to outperform in reading and writing. I believe TERC tries to turn math into a verbal/oral curriculum to equalize the math failure of girls and boys.

Regardless of the motivation, TERC harms all children. If TERC exists to equalize math for disadvantaged children and girls, it is important to recognize that it holds back the disadvantaged children and girls who actually could excel at math. TERC is political correctness run amok.

Comment by Curious Resident — December 14, 2007 @ 11:19 pm |

So, how do we, once and for all, put an end to the use of this curriculum?

Comment by Lois Buck — December 15, 2007 @ 2:17 pm |

Hi Lois – I wish I knew what to do. I’ve had several teachers tell me that they do their best to teach around the curriculum. This is no good. They still are wasting time and math requires time. I’m was told by one teacher that Investigations comes from the administration, not the teachers. My wife and I will buy flashcards for Christmas to help compensate for what our 7 year old isn’t being taught. I’ve heard teachers opposed to Investigations but forced to teach it have recommended flashcards. I wish the school would get rid of it on their own but I guess it’s not going to happen. Parents need to be aware so they can tutor their kids. Do you have a sister Joyce?

Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 15, 2007 @ 9:42 pm |

Yes, I have a sister Joyce.

As far as the curriculum goes, our hard earned money is paying for this substandard math curriculum. We pay the teachers to teach our kids. People should not have to compensate at home for what they are losing at school. Homework is meant to practice what they have already learned in class.

Why are so many parents having to teach their kids at home?

Perhaps, we should get a rebate or a refund. Maybe, we should save up all our receipts for math flashcards, software and whatever else we have to buy to teach our kids in replacement of a substandard curriculum and submit an expense report to the school committee for reimbursement.

Comment by Lois Buck — December 16, 2007 @ 9:44 pm |

My son works with your sister. I figured it out because my family fought all weekend over this amazing popcorn my son brought home from work. I know math – I put two and two together.

I’ve discussed Investigations with lots of educators and not one has given me any reason for hope. Westerly uses it too. I had email exchanges with their assistant superintendent. She wasn’t very nice when I asked her about it. The suggesttion that Investigations is used for political reasons almost makes sense to me. I haven’t met a supporter yet who doesn’t defend it very emotionally. Like a religion or something. The facts are the facts. Kids don’t learn math very well with Investigations. Many teachers admit it. Test scores show it. College profs complaim about it. Parents see it and live with it. Kids suffer because of it. Why do we have it?

Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 17, 2007 @ 2:01 pm |

An educator I know from Westerly told a friend of mine that they use Investigations, but it is different in that there is some emphasis on basic facts as well within the curriculum.

When she looked at our curriculum, she said she now understood why we were so angry.

What I don’t understand is that Westerly’s scores have fallen off as well.

So why are NK’s and SK’s scores much higher? That is what we should be asking them. What is their curriculum? What can we learn from them? This isn’t a sporting event. I’m sure they have info to share.

Comment by Lois Buck — December 17, 2007 @ 8:33 pm |

Westerly uses TERC. It may be a modified form, but it is still TERC. Faced with more and more outraged parents, TERC now offers a modified version which includes a token amount of traditional math, but this is merely to placate parents.

TERC has not backed down from their ideological approach to math…they are slightly adapting curriculum, but any time spent teaching their touchy-feely math is time not spend teaching the math children actually need to know.

Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 9:16 pm |

Here’s a frustrated parent offering an analogy for teaching with TERC:

My assumption was made based on the level of homework coming home, and the knowledge that my son has had very little formal classroom exposure to multiplication, and none at all to division. I’ve been trying to think of a clever analogy all night – maybe something along the lines of showing a kid a swimming pool with people in it once, and then pushing that kid in the pool and saying, “now figure out how to swim.”

Here’s an editiorial from Seattle – notice the end quote about immigrant and girls. I came to the same exact conclusion as to why TERC is being rammed down our children throats…it’s not about teaching children math…it’s about making everyone fail math equally:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003674945_sundaymath22.html

” math, fuzzy math. I think of it as new-age math, and believe it is one reason why last year nearly half the 10th-graders in Washington public schools failed the mathematics portion of the high-school graduation test. It is also one reason American kids do so poorly when measured against kids from Europe and East Asia.

New-age math, which is used in most schools today (including many private schools), came packaged with a garden basket of fragrant thoughts. “It was hands-on,” recalls Seattle math teacher Martha McLaren. “Make math fun. Small groups. Kids learning to work together, to ‘appreciate the differences.’ It was all going to be somehow more democratic.” It was better for girls and immigrants, who maybe didn’t learn in such a “linear” way.”

Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 9:33 pm |

Here’s more from the editorial…notice how California has drastically improved math since getting rid of TERC-type curriculum in 1999. Also notice how the state’s education establishment creates testing standards that require math to be explained and thus defend TERC by telling us that it is the standard. Mr. Ricci isn’t the only snake oil salesman in education it seems.

“The math teachers hope Washington will follow “A”-rated California, which began to ditch new-age math in 1999. William Hook of the University of Victoria is co-author of a peer-reviewed study of seven California districts, published in the Jan. 3 issue of “Educational Studies in Mathematics.” In four years of Saxon Math, he reports, the Sacramento schools moved up from the 30th to the 64th percentiles in the nationally normed SAT-9 test. The four other districts he studied that used Saxon also made big gains, and two control districts that kept new-age math, Los Angeles and San Diego, did not.

Saxon Math is unfashionable in the educational bureaucracy. It is structured — even a bit rigid. One lesson leads to the next. Each ends with a list of problems, and all of them demand the right answer. It’s so … linear.

“That’s what math is,” says retired principal Niki Hayes. “It’s linear. It’s structured.”

Hayes is one of the heroes of the math rebels. She discovered Saxon Math being taught successfully to kids on the Spokane Indian Reservation and brought it to North Beach Elementary. It is the only Seattle public school that has it.

With Saxon Math, from 2001-04 North Beach’s pass rate on the fourth-grade math WASL jumped from 68 percent to 91 percent. It has since fallen back 10 points, which Saxon supporters say was because students were not drilled on the need to explain answers on the WASL. They are worried that the district will take their program away. Using a phrase from “The Godfather,” Principal Ed James says parents and teachers are “willing to go to the mattresses” for it.

In Seattle, associate academic officer Michelle Corker-Curry says Saxon is not in line with state standards — and she is right. It isn’t. She notes that Saxon was written by one person, whereas the approved (new-age) text, “Connected Math,” is written by a team. A final decision on elementary math will be made this summer, and Corker-Curry said the district “will be looking at a citywide curriculum for all our students.”

Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 9:57 pm |

Not angry enough yet…watch these videos talking about TERC Math…college professors, TV meteoroglists. Professon said he had to “dumb down math 101”.

http://www.wheresthemath.com/blog/video/

Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 9:58 pm |

Ed James, Principal at North Beach Elementary School in Seattle, was fighting for Saxon (traditional) math in 2006. North Beach had superior math results as compared to other schools in Seattle, but they were under pressure to offer TERC-type math to align with everyone else. Mr. James was said to be battling to keep Saxon.

I went looking for an update on the battle. I didn’t find anything specific about Mr. James, but he has been replaced and TERC is on its way to North Beach (see PTA minutes below). What is going on? Why are successful math programs being eliminated and being replaced with failed math curriculum? Does ideology trump the well-being of our children?

“Joanne attended a principals’ meeting today. The recommendation for math next year is going to be “Everyday Math” with “Singapore Math” as a supplement. This has to go before the School Board before it is given final approval. Alicia Edgar asked Joanne to walk us through what this means. Joanne explained that the Board wants the curriculum change to start in September 2007. Schools will have an option of beginning the adoption this year or the following year, although it was not clear to Joanne whether this meant January or September. They want every school to start doing 60-90 minute blocks of math; the supplemental curriculum (Singapore) would be limited to only 15 minutes. So it is very much “supplemental”, but is still an option.”

Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2007 @ 11:15 pm |

Watching the videos I’m even more depressed than I already was. There seems to be no good reason for kids to be denied math skills but the schools keep doing it? I think it must be a political thing. Westerly does use an Investigations. I have first hand knowledge. They may have changed elementary but not middle school. Not for everyone any way. Investigations or something like it is still used in Hope Valley too. Some classes are trying a modified version but it is still there from everything I can tell.

Comment by Jim LaBrosse — December 18, 2007 @ 9:41 am |

Interesting site if you haven’t already accessed it.

http://mathematicallycorrect.com/

Same website. Different link. This organization was founded in California.

http://mathematicallycorrect.com/what.htm

Comment by Lois Buck — January 4, 2008 @ 12:18 am |

See if this works better:

http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/

Comment by Lois Buck — January 4, 2008 @ 12:19 am |

Because I feel the need to keep this debate active, I found the following because I had discovered a blog from a parents group in Virginia. Ironically enough, they mentioned the problems in such states as California and Rhode Island with our falling math scores. Now their scores are falling.

Here is the speech they had referenced:

NYC HOLD Honest Open Logical Debate on math reform

Are our school’s math programs adequate?

Experimental mathematics programs and their consequences

New York University Law School

New York City

June 6, 2001

opening remarks

Investigations In Number, Data, and Space (TERC)

Wilfried Schmid

Dwight Parker Robinson Professor of Mathematics

Harvard University

I shall devote my opening remarks to the TERC Investigations curriculum. Many of you know that TERC does not include textbooks in the usual sense. It consists mainly of a collection of teachers’ manuals, roughly a dozen for each grade level. The curriculum is highly scripted, as they say in education circles, meaning that the teachers are told in great detail what they are supposed to do.

One of the most striking features is the emphasis on “group learning” and “discovery learning” – the students are supposed to arrive at mathematical facts and procedures through a process of communal discovery – and this emphasis goes so far as to discourage almost completely direct instruction by the teacher. In the TERC manuals, there are elaborate descriptions of the role of the TERC teacher, using verbs like “listen”, “facilitate”, “observe”, but never the verbs “explain” or “teach”. A TERC teacher doesn’t explain, and a TERC teacher doesn’t teach! I don’t want to be misunderstood: group learning and discovery learning are parts of the tool chest of every accomplished teacher, but it is folly to turn these techniques into an ideology. If we mathematicians had to re-discover mathematics on our own, we would not get very far! And indeed, TERC does not get very far. By the end of fifth grade, TERC students have fallen roughly two years behind where they should be.

“Discovery learning” is in, but any kind of memorization is out. Addition facts and multiplication facts can be rediscovered on the spot, the TERC manuals seem to say, so there is no need to commit them to memory. The TERC authors are also opposed to the teaching of the traditional algorithms of arithmetic, such as long addition, subtraction with borrowing, and the usual pencil-and-paper methods of multiplication and division. Not only do they refuse to teach the algorithms, they make clear their preference not to have the students learn them outside of the classroom, either.

Why do mathematicians believe in memorization and algorithms? The ability to compute is a basic skill, absolutely necessary to succeed in high-school algebra, just as mastery of high-school algebra is crucial for success in college mathematics. When I say basic skill, I mean a skill similar to speaking and reading, something one does without first reflecting about it. The TERC authors maintain that they are very interested in developing the students’ computational skills. But when one looks at the TERC manuals, one finds a highly self-conscious approach to computation, a far-too-great reliance on mental crutches, such as number blocks, clock faces, paper strips. Most disturbingly, the practice problems are ridiculously easy, and there are not enough of them, not enough by a long shot!

The TERC authors proudly boast that they aim to develop the students’ mathematical thinking. TERC’s defenders accuse critics (like me and my colleagues) of advocating mindless drill. How can that be? We, the mathematicians, unconcerned about mathematical thinking? Of course not! The TERC manuals, on the other hand, reveal a complete misconception of what constitutes mathematical thinking.

The pedagogical practices advocated by TERC are truly extreme. Many teachers have enough sense to mitigate the worst excesses, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously. But there are also true believers among the TERC teachers, and then you see real problems. It was a problem of that sort that got me involved in math education!

Comment by Lois Buck — January 6, 2008 @ 10:55 pm |

Textbook comparisons, FYI:

http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/1999-01-01-textbook-math.pdf

Comment by Lois Buck — January 6, 2008 @ 11:28 pm |

Tons of info on this site:

http://www.nychold.com/#advpar

Comment by Lois Buck — January 6, 2008 @ 11:29 pm |

People from Utah find some humor with their math predicament. See any similarities to ours?

http://www.oaknorton.com/weaponsofmathdestruction.cfm

Comment by Lois Buck — January 7, 2008 @ 12:03 am |

Thanks for keeping this topic active Lois. I was speaking to a customer yesterday who also happens to be a high school business teacher in Rhode Island. He is disgusted with the lack of basic math skills of the students he teaches. He said they don’t even know the multiplication tables. He has to use his class time trying to teach them basic math. He agreed the problems are caused by Investigations. He blamed state mandates and said he is lucky because there is no mandated curriculum for business other then a few things like group learning and communication skills. He said that for a teacher it is very risky to try and “buck the sytstem”. The teachers who recognize the damage caused by Investigation instead sneak real math into their classroom curriculum, but they still have to teach Investigations in order for the students to pass the Investigation based testing. This is a very sad situation. I have one son already harmed by Investigations and a daughter coming up through the system who will also suffer if changes are not made soon. Right now I think they are trying out a modified version of Investigations but I think it needs to be totally eliminated and traditional math curriculum must be brought back. Why do parents and test results continue to be ignored?

Comment by Jim L. — January 17, 2008 @ 4:26 pm |

Fuzzy Math myths:

http://www.nychold.com/myths-050504.html

Boston teachers collectively groaned at the mention of TERC. Yikes!

Comment by Lois Buck — January 17, 2008 @ 9:58 pm |

Article mentioning the collective groan:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2004/11/08/mathematical_unknowns/

Comment by Lois Buck — January 17, 2008 @ 10:06 pm |

TERC’s response to the article:

http://investigations.terc.edu/library/implementing/qa-1ed/investigation_in_boston.cfm

Comment by Lois Buck — January 17, 2008 @ 10:08 pm |

The Terc company spokeswoman claims not enough time is given to the new curriculum. I wonder how many of her children’s education would she sacrifice in an experiment? Why do we need to reinvent the wheel? Math is taught around the world with many countries excelling. I assure you that none of the countries producing kids who know math are using Investigations type programs. We know what works and our children need to know math. Stop treating them like guinea pigs for no reason.

Comment by Jim L. — January 18, 2008 @ 8:50 am |

Marcia Lukon is now a part-time superintendent in Jamestown. She’s keeping a very low profile. It’s not clear how much input she is having on our curriculum.

“I find your comments to be uninformed. Most of the districts with the highest student achievement in math in Massachusetts use TERC’s Investigations.”

It’s interesting that she bothered to jump into this conversation. It implies that she has strong feelings about this. However, her comment leaves a lot to be answered.

For example, Jamestown is now “High Performing” and “Improving” or some such thing. It used to use MathLand, which was claimed to be so good, but now it has disappeared off the face of the earth. The schools switched to Everyday Math, but they had considered TERC. Of course the scores would go up compared to MathLand. Part of the improvement has to do with the fact that parents look at the scores and there is some minimal level of accountability. There was no such thing before. ANY curriculum would look better than what they did before, and it doesn’t take much to look good on the state tests. My son got a 97% raw score on the NECAP math test. The school probably feels pretty good about that. They don’t really want to know that I’ve been using Singapore Math at home for years. Since their NECAP minimal cut-off proficiency test scores are slowly improving (or not), they don’t even consider the outrageous concept that many more students should be taking algebra in 8th grade!!! They think this is unusual. It shouldn’t be.

It’s all relative, and the state test is not a good indicator of quality math curricula. The school could ask how many parents teach/reteach/tutor their kids at home. They don’t do this. What do we get? SALT questionnaires that only ask us parents whether we feel we can support their math learning at home. Excuse me? I really don’t want another letter home that asks me to do their job. I have to do it anyway.

At least Jametown got rid of CMP for 7th and 8th grades and started using the same algebra textbook as the high school (North Kingstown). However, this just moves the huge curriculum gap down to between 6th and 7th grades. They go from 6 years of spiraling Everyday Math with it’s laissez faire attitude about mastery to a traditional math textbook with large problem sets to do. They go from a K-6 attitude of developmentally-appropriate to one which expects kids to take responsibility for their own learning; from “don’t worry about it” to “it’s your fault”. Many kids believe this. They say: “I’m just not good in math”. Well, it could be that they were never taught math properly.

TERC is worse than Everyday Math, but that’s not saying much. I believe that each has new editions out that give them cover or ammunition against opponents. What I find is that schools use generalities to get parents to go away, and then they decide on all of the details. “Balance” is a common term to get parents to go away. We had an open house on Everyday Math not to ask our opinions, but to “inform” us. Thanks, but I have two masters degrees in engineering and taught college math and computer science for years (a while back). I know what’s needed and TERC and Everyday Math ain’t it.

I went over the new edition of 6th grade Everyday Math with my son. It’s the culmination of 5 years of spiraling and delayed mastery. Open it to any page and you will see good problems, but taken as a curriculum, they try to cram in and remediate for 5 years of low expectations. It’s too many pages, and it can’t be done. They screw up for 6 years and then they say that it’s now the student’s responsibility.

Finally, their classic argument is to point to all of the kids who actually do get onto the AP calculus track in high school. They just don’t want to know if this is because of, or in spite of what they do.

Comment by Jamestowner — February 19, 2008 @ 4:59 pm |

It is likely because there are more parents out their like you who are supplementing their child’s education to offset what Everyday Math and TERC fail to do.

I think the taxpayers should pull together and put a stop to this nonsense. We pay our taxes and in return receive a substandard math curriculum, which is failing our children and their families.

Comment by Lois Buck — February 21, 2008 @ 9:24 pm |

I’ve supplemented and we’ve also tutored. The most frustrating part is to know that for every parent who has a clue, there are 10 who don’t. Plus, how many of these parents have the time or intellect to tutor their children? How many have the money to have somebody else tutor their children?

Why are we stuck on stupid? We have School Committee members blowing a horn because test scores go up slightly, not even realizing that the “tests” have been rigged to account for math deficiencies. As Jamestowner noted, it is all relative. It is not a big deal to get better at constructivist math because it is losing proposition. We need students to be improving in areas where the skills might actually have value in their future careers.

The whole thing is disgusting and feels evil when so many know damage is being done to children yet they continue to fight to keep the status quo.

Comment by Curious Resident — February 21, 2008 @ 10:11 pm |

Evaluation of the math that the two districts use:

http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/booksy.htm

Everyday Math gets “C’s”

TERC gets “F’s”

I wonder how parents would feel if they knew about this.

Bill,

What are the pilot Math programs?

Comment by Lois Buck — February 21, 2008 @ 10:19 pm |

It’s not an easy thing to change, especially if everyone just looks at relative NECAP results. You have to look at the actual questions and the raw percent correct scores. Then you apply common sense.

Here is an example 4th grade question, given in the fall of fifth grade.

The students at Maple Grove School are selling flowers. Their goal is to sell

1500 flowers.

• On the first day, the students sold 547 flowers.

• On the second day, the students sold 655 flowers.

How many flowers must the students sell on the third day to meet their goal?

A. 298

B. 308

C. 1202

D. 2702

This problem is made easier because you can eliminate two answers very easily.

This kind of work won’t get you into algebra by 8th grade.

The next question is how many of these questions do you have to get correct to achieve “proficiency”? This is the tricky part. The NECAP test converts (scales) raw percent correct scores into a number between 0 and 80, with 40 being the cutoff for “proficiency”. In one example they give, a raw score of 58 percent correct gets scaled to a 40, which is 50 percent on the proficiency scale. This means that you can get only a raw score of 58 percent correct on this simple test and still achieve proficiency. The state looks at the number of kids who reach proficiency to see whether a town receives a “High Performing” award. So “High Performing” really doesn’t mean high performing, except in the sense that the town gets most students over some very minimal proficiency cutoff.

NECAP is not a measure of quality education. It’s a measure of a minimal education. By looking only at the relative change in NECAP numbers, schools avoid the big absolute questions and people get stuck choosing between TERC and enVision MATH. The goal is not to slightly improve NECAP results. The goal is algebra in 8th grade with a curriculum that will get kids there, without the need for help at home. Your kids don’t have to be guinea pigs for some untested math curriculum that’s focuses on expensive computer technology. You can use the tested world-class Singapore Math with its very inexpensive workbooks.

Comment by Jamestowner — February 21, 2008 @ 11:00 pm |

its a Forseman product. We told it is more “traditional” – I don’t know anything more than that. I think Deb Jennings or Giancarlo would be a good person to ask.

I wonder if anyone has any of the old math text from when we were kids. It would be interesting to see how it has changed.

Comment by Bill Felkner — February 21, 2008 @ 11:19 pm |

Do you have a link or a source for this information regarding the NECAP info?

Your opinion makes complete sense.

It frustrates me that our school administrators, state-wide, including the department of ed., would be satisfied by the 58% score just as long as they get the coveted “proficiency” rating.

Comment by Lois Buck — February 21, 2008 @ 11:24 pm |

I have an old copy of Holt Mathematics 1 Copyright 1985 that they gave my older child in elementary school. It was a throwaway I guess. It was never used.

In flipping through it, I find that my youngest’s first grade teacher has been doing similar things. It is my opinion that this first grade teacher is teaching both ways. This unfortunately does not help my oldest or the other children in the district that are being major gaps in their math knowledge.

These are the Chapter Headings:

1. Numbers to 12, Graphing

2. Addition Facts to 8

3. Subtraction Facts to 8

4. Addition Facts to 10

5. Subtraction Facts to 10

6. Numbers to Fifty, Money

7. Geometry and Measurement

8. Numbers to 100

9. Two-Digit Addition, Facts to 12

10. Two-Digit Subtraction, Facts to 12

11. Fractions, Time

12. Addition and Subtraction, Facts to 18 (Optional)

Very sequential, with lots of practice within the book. There are also problem solving activities in 11 of the 12 chapters.

What I find is frustrating is the lack of any solid history within the standardized test system. Is there a way to get information on past achievement tests with raw scores instead of the proficiency scores. A while back, I tried to do what Jamestowner had mentioned in comparing tests from previous years and ran into the same roadblock, only a few years of NECAPS and the previous tests only covered 3,8, and grades 11. Not much you can do with that. I now question the validity of the NECAPS if they allow such a low expectation for our children. Perhaps the TIMSS, or something similar, is the better choice. And if the NECAPS are even comparable to the TIMSS, what is the raw scores of the other nations that took that test compared to our children?

Comment by Lois Buck — February 21, 2008 @ 11:51 pm |

“Do you have a link or a source for this information regarding the NECAP info?”

http://www.ride.ri.gov/assessment/NECAP.aspx

Well, NECAP replaced the old NSRE (New Standards Reference Exams) a few years ago, so you’re stuck not only with small relative changes, but no historical comparison. Of course, schools don’t want to even mention the international TIMSS study.

“its a Forseman product. We told it is more “traditional” – I don’t know anything more than that. I think Deb Jennings or Giancarlo would be a good person to ask.”

Can’t you walk into the school and ask to see the material? I thought on another thread that someone found out that it was enVision MATH.

Comment by Jamestowner — February 22, 2008 @ 10:01 am |

You might want to look at this comparison, in which enVision Math compares well with Saxon Math for 3rd grade. This is encouraging considering my poor reaction to their YouTube video. The devil is in the details, including how well a school implements a curriculum. It does no good if a school doesn’t really believe in mastery.

http://www.nychold.com/chart-tx-era.pdf

Scott Foresman also has another math curriculum called a “Diamond Edition”, but I can’t find many details.

Comment by Jamestowner — February 22, 2008 @ 10:33 am |

The most infuriating aspect is we already knows what works…but we seemed determine to reinvent the wheel. Did I miss something? Is math a new discipline? Or is math an intellectual tool humans have been using forever? I suggest that future curriculum experiments start with politicians’ children.

Comment by Curious Resident — February 22, 2008 @ 10:54 am |

“It frustrates me that our school administrators, state-wide, including the department of ed., would be satisfied by the 58% score just as long as they get the coveted ‘proficiency’ rating.”

That’s why I always tell parents to look at the actual test questions and the raw percent correct scores.

I wouldn’t mind so much if schools discussed the real issues they face. Perhaps they think that the public will judge them unfairly, so they try to spin the results. The biggest spin is that a “High Performing” rating means a quality education. It doesn’t mean that at all. It just means that the school is good at getting most of its kids over a minimal proficiency (58%) grade level. This is not bad, but for high SES communities, it’s not saying much.

You have to examine the actual questions and raw results. When I look at the math questions, I don’t see anything that can’t be mastered in school even without any homework. I don’t care for some of the questions, but they are so easy that it doesn’t change the analysis. Some teachers complain about teaching to the test, but that raises the question of what other knowledge or skills make it OK not to get 90% or more on the simple NECAP test? NECAP is not a goal, it’s a minimum. There is nothing stopping schools from being highly successful on the NECAP test and still have time for all sorts of other things.

My son did well on the reading comprehension part of the NECAP test, but not great. However, his grades in school are always the highest (rubric-wise, ugh!). What’s going on? Well, on the test, they give short reading sections and then ask comprehension questions. I looked at some samples, and they seem easy to me. This is a classic way to test reading comprehension. My son says that they NEVER practice this skill at school. Why? The NECAP test is developed and calibrated by teachers. Do our teachers believe that this is not a good skill to develop? Do they think that a direct approach to teaching is not a good approach to “true understanding”? Well, their indirect approach is not working. Actually, what with all of the crayon art and diorama work they do, I guess they are taking the very indirect route.

A HUGE question is raised when you look at the simple questions on the test and wonder what on earth do they do all day.

Comment by Jamestowner — February 22, 2008 @ 11:22 am |

A blogger, on Hopkinton RI Speaks, posted another excellent resource for those of us trying to get a more appropriate math curriculum for our students. Enjoy the resources, and thank you Math Warrior.

Comment by Lois Buck — March 20, 2008 @ 5:03 pm |

http://www.illinoisloop.org/math.html

Comment by Lois Buck — March 20, 2008 @ 5:03 pm |

The math program being piloted for the 4th grade class at Ashaway is enVision Math by Pearson Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley – the web page I found http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ153&PMDbSiteId=2781&PMDbSolutionId=6724&PMDbSubSolutionId=6731&PMDbCategoryId=806&PMDbProgramId=34505&level=4

My daughter brings the workbook home everyday so I looked it up online. I think is better than Investigations but still not like “old math” the way I learned it. I reteach my kids math at home and will start using flashcards more because thay need to memorize facts.

Comment by A's Mom — March 27, 2008 @ 12:56 pm |

Everything I’m seeing tells me the pilot math is a slight improvement but still uses the theories which cause all these problems to begin with. We’ve had to tutor too A’s Mom 😦 Lois and others have posted great info about the pilot math and it does not look good. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Chariho doesn’t start using math curriculum that works all around the world? With an 8th grader already strugglng because of this math curriculum and a 1st grader soon to be harmed by it – I’m extremely frustrated that Chariho keeps trying new forms of the same bad math curriculum. I don’t understand why? When the school committee asks questions why not ask why they don’t do the simplest thing and use the curriculum that doesn’t need to be an experiment? Use the curriculums that are proven to work everywhere else. Give my kids what they use in India, Korea, Singapore and every other country that teaches their kids math so much better than here. You don’t need to be a genius to figure this out.

Comment by Jim L. — March 29, 2008 @ 5:45 pm |

Thank you A’s Mom for your info. I would consider this math curricula a much better choice than the other. I did find one site that had some good comparisons which included the enVision Math. It appears to be up there with Saxon Math. I would love to see the book though. Here is the link:

http://www.nychold.com/chart-tx-era.pdf

A’s Mom,

As you have had first hand experience regarding the enVision math, what are your feelings regarding the 4th grade edition? Do you find your child is learning basic skills? How well do you feel your child is completing her homework? Does she feel comfortable with it? Do you find a great deal of reliance on the use of the calculator?

Your comment about teaching facts to your daughter gives me some concern. Could you elaborate on that and why you feel that you need to use flashcards?

Comment by Lois Buck — March 29, 2008 @ 8:07 pm |

This is the first positive thing from non-Chariho people I’ve seen on the pilot math. At the school board meeting they said that parents had to be trained to work with their children on the pilot math. This makes me nervous as I certainly wouldn’t need training with traditional math. NYC Hold is reputable when it comes to reporting on constructivist math. Lois did you find any info other then the chart which shows Chariho’s pilot math curriculum compares favorably with Saxon or Singapore?

A’s Mom is the 4th grade pilot working with fractions? I remember working on multiplying fractions in Mrs. Smith 4th grade class at Hope Valley school. My 12th grader son also learned fractions in 4th grade prior to constructivist math being brought into the school. My 8th grade son didn’t do anything with fractions in 4th grade. I am very concerned with the pilot math if they aren’t working with fractions by 4th grade. We need Chariho to get it right this time.

Comment by Jim L. — March 29, 2008 @ 9:07 pm |

This appears to be recent:

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/textbooks/materials/proc2005mlcprice.pdf

NYCHold refers to TX a great deal.

Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2008 @ 12:43 am |

California Dept of Education recommends enVision math. Mind you, this is where Mathematically Correct had their hard fought battle in the 90’s to attempt to rid themselves of FUZZY Math, so I would hope with their experience that they have made a good choice. Obviously, many nationally recognized organizations fell for the fuzzy math fiasco, so it is scary to think that this could be another round of frustration. Let’s hope not.

Here is the link:

http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/im/basicrofmath.asp

Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2008 @ 12:53 am |

Illinois website:

Rated up there with Saxon Math:

http://www.illinoisloop.org/mathprograms.html

Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2008 @ 1:03 am |

It’s hard to overcome suspicion because Chariho chose to do this to our kids in the first place. The K-6 enVision curriculum is consistently rated better than Investigations but the Illinois Loop only give it a “fair” rating while other curriculum are rated better. I still don’t know why we need to be running a pilot when there are curriculums which are proven to be effective? The middle school Prentice Hall math is at least partly “not recommended” in California according to the link (if I’m reading it right). Again we know there is curriculum that definitely works so why is Chariho piloting experimental or iffy curriculum? It may turn out fine but it bothers me that they don’t just go with proven winners. Never simple.

Comment by Jim L. — March 31, 2008 @ 10:55 am |

They gave enVision math a “better” rating. They gave the 6th grade math by Prentice Hall a “fair” rating. Ironically they all, including the Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Investigations which is written by TERC is all from Pearson Prentice Hall.

Comment by Lois Buck — March 31, 2008 @ 1:30 pm |

That’s probably where I’m getting confused. The companies make different text books for different math programs. In the end I’m still left wondering why not bypass pilot experiments and go with Saxon or Singapore? Why make life so complicated for everyone.

Comment by Jim L. — March 31, 2008 @ 10:38 pm |

Good point. It may be the technology involved and the materials involved. Just for the sake of argument and this by no means says that I support enVision, if the three offer the same things and enVision has better materials, then if it were my choice, I’d go with enVision.

I will say that after doing some research, it seems that this is an okay curriculum choice. But, I would still like to see the literature. I would hope that it could be made available.

Comment by Lois Buck — April 1, 2008 @ 6:34 am |

I noticed that on the California list it refers to enVision Math – California. This is something to watch out for. California standards are higher and some publishers offer stronger CA versions. Ask whether your school is using the California version. Jim L. is right. I would be suspicious too and wonder why our town isn’t using a better, proven curriculum, like Saxon or Singapore Math. (Then again, Jamestown recently fully converted from MathLand to Everyday Math. It’s better, but MathLand was extremely awful.)

Technology can be a benefit or a distraction. My assumption would be that it’s a distraction until proven otherwise. Unfortunately, schools can still screw up Singapore and Saxon Math if they don’t emphasize mastery. They still might let kids get to fifth grade not knowing the times table.

Everyday Math requires all kids to review the same material using “Math Boxes” whether or not they have mastered the material. EnVision Math seems to customize reviews to each child’s weakness. It’s hard to imagine how these individual learning plans will work in schools where child-centered group learning is dominant. The other question is how long do they go before they address (and fix!) misunderstandings. For EM, it can be years, and there is no guarantee that problems will be fixed. A big question is how difficult is it for teachers to follow the prescribed process in enVision Math? A curriculum might be nice in theory, but difficult to implement. Schools have to be committed to mastery.

Comment by Jamestowner — April 17, 2008 @ 3:00 pm |

I recently published 2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 National Math Panel Recommendations. The URL is http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html. There’s a one page version, 2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 NMP Math: A Snapshot View. The URL is http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html

Bill Quirk

Comment by Bill Quirk — April 19, 2008 @ 5:53 am |

The URL for the Snapshot View is http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008SS.html

Bill Quirk

Comment by Bill Quirk — April 19, 2008 @ 5:55 am |

Thanks, Mr. Quirk for keeping us informed.

Comment by Lois Buck — April 30, 2008 @ 7:14 pm |

Holt Adoption…you are exactly right and there is nothing wrong with it….

Trackback by Holt Adoption — May 9, 2008 @ 9:27 pm |

[…] Filed under: Math — Bill Felkner @ 3:35 pm There is an update over at the “Analysis Math” page. Asst. Superintendent provided some information regarding Dr. Quirk’s […]

Pingback by Good news for math? « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — May 13, 2008 @ 3:36 pm |

Dont believe school administrators when they say that “teachers love the new math program” Last year in Jamestown Lukon hired a non-tenured teacher to spend all of her time pushing Chicago Math. She spent half of her time pumping it up. If teachers express any type off reservations or concerns they’re usually told that they dont know how to impliment it.

My criticisms of Chicago Math? ah,where to begin,,,,,,

It is better than Math Land though.

Comment by tyler durden — December 22, 2008 @ 9:46 pm |

I know its been over a year since a posting was made to this topic but I want to thank everyone for opening my eyes to this substandard math curriculum. I’ve often said that my daughter will attend the best school that she can get into but I’m having a hard time finding a school that teache a viable math course. I’ve checked numerous prominent and expensive private schools, catholic schools, and so called “alternative” schools and all that seems to turn up is TERC and Everyday Math. This problem is wide spread and frustrating.

Comment by Doug Tuthill — March 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm |

Hey Doug,

As I’ve stated before on here an associate of mine in Connecticut ran into the same problem and solved it(for him) by teaching his child mathmatics. I know this is less than desirable considering the money we spend for our childrens education. He made it known to his childs math teacher she would not be participating in the mathmatics being taught in school and he would be teaching his child. The teacher was concerned about how they would be able to assess the childs performance, and were told it is not the parents problem, and as long as his child reached the correct answer then he was satisfied and the teaching staff would have to deal with it. This appeared to work for him, but I don’t know if any parents of Chariho have tried this method.

Comment by RS — March 18, 2009 @ 8:48 pm |

RS,

Thanks for the reply. No matter where my children go to school I plan on assessing their skills and remediating where appropriate. However, the frustration with the system, private or public, is palpable.

Thanks,

Doug

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