tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post3954936276669038921..comments2024-05-25T21:55:13.417-07:00Comments on Cliff Mass Weather Blog: Seattle's Math Secret Revealed (Revised)Cliff Mass Weather Bloghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/13948649423540350788noreply@blogger.comBlogger51125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-28355944875941334452011-12-15T14:04:58.205-08:002011-12-15T14:04:58.205-08:00CSMP
A couple of comments- “discovery” is certai...CSMP<br /><br />A couple of comments- “discovery” is certainly inefficient in terms of covering material, but it can enliven learning and be one of the items in educators’ tool kit, particularly for the higher aptitude bunch. Trouble is like a lot educational fads there’s a tendency to carry approach too far. Along with the writing component when utilized in excess it will turn off most of a math class including the high ability ones.<br /><br />When considering the significance of test score results, the ultimate goals must be specified. Do they concern the acquisition of a skill set or is the understandings underlying the processes to be evaluated? You cannot draw conclusions from a comparison between those two different measures.<br /><br />For many years there has been available an absolutely outstanding program designed to produce understanding of mathematical concepts: the program is CSMP. It has two problems: it’s expensive and requires teachers with aptitude for math and sufficient grounding in mathematics concepts. You can type CSMP into your search engine- there’s a Wikipedia article and much else, including especially the UCLA math eduation program at<br /><br /> http://csmp.ucop.edu/sites/view/71/project/cmp/ucla-mathematics-project <br /><br />John GaringjohnG.https://www.blogger.com/profile/10600853931993462103noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-69752127985476332552011-12-12T09:32:27.127-08:002011-12-12T09:32:27.127-08:00When I was growing up, teachers at the grade schoo...When I was growing up, teachers at the grade school level tended to be a lot like those at higher levels. Math teachers were people who actually had some proficiency in math, likewise with science, history, english, etc. Nowadays, the preferred hire is someone who is essentially a professional indoctrinator. Steeped in lots of NEA and Constructivist gobbledegook and usually with a teaching credential with some kind of woozy name like Proficiency Studies. <br /><br />These folks, and their supporting union and tenure infrastructures limit competition of good ideas and younger and more willing teachers with real talent. We should scrap the entire educational establishment in favor of a merit based system like that of Microsoft or Starbucks.Jeffhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02059221822159483655noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-52359495924808718262011-12-10T20:58:57.181-08:002011-12-10T20:58:57.181-08:00"The longer we keep merit and results oriente..."The longer we keep merit and results oriented curricula out of schools and leave unions in control..."<br /><br />Dear sir,<br /><br />The changes at Mercer were initiated by TEACHERS, and the unions are made of TEACHERS. Curriculum adoptions are made by SCHOOL BOARDS and DISTRICT ADMINISTRATORS, often with little teacher input. <br /><br />Often teachers are directed to do things that they know will not work, and are required to either use ineffective but mandated practices or find a new job. In this case, the unions' membership (AKA teachers) stood up and quietly defied their bosses and did what they thought would be best for kids. MERCER'S SUCCESS CAME FROM UNION MEMBERS - THE TEACHERS.<br /><br />Teachers, and the unions we belong to, care deeply about children and their futures. Teachers don't make a lot of money - our reward lies in watching our students succeed. We want to do what is best for the children. <br /><br />Please don't bash teachers and their unions for decisions beyond the scope of their authority or influence - including districts' curriculum selections.<br /><br />Thank you kindly,<br />A Caring TeacherMoirahttps://www.blogger.com/profile/11263092306083922478noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-44857276000758099622011-12-10T19:27:51.217-08:002011-12-10T19:27:51.217-08:00All the school board has to remember is that they ...All the school board has to remember is that they are responsible for educating the people who will take care of them in their old age--without knowing in advance which of those kids it will be.<br /><br />Knowing that, wouldn't <i>you</i> get the best curriculum available?Spiffhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07778764144153862856noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-14690523712021768092011-12-09T05:22:50.961-08:002011-12-09T05:22:50.961-08:00To coldsponger: I have been homeschooling for 9 y...To coldsponger: I have been homeschooling for 9 years and have looked at many math programs. The advantage of homeschooling comes from being able to ditch programs that fail our kids.<br /><br />If you want to know what homeschoolers think about math, google homeschool math reviews. My favorite is Singapore Math because it begins to teach kids math algebraically from 1st grade. (I have an engineering degree.)<br /><br />I do not know of a single homeschool family that uses a discovery math program. Singapore and Saxon are very popular. Both can be purchased for home use.Ringmasterhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/15248022595407916493noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-73319071873308054222011-12-09T01:20:41.479-08:002011-12-09T01:20:41.479-08:00Paul talked about the positive bump up when there ...Paul talked about the positive bump up when there is a change in instructional materials..... Sorry but in the first two years of Everyday Math use in Seattle achievement gaps for every ethnic subset of educationally disadvantaged learners increased as well as for Low Income students.<br /><br />The Discovering adoption for Seattle high schools was likely even worse in its first two years than what happened with EDM.<br /><br />I certainly do like the Singapore math Primary texts for grades 1 thru 6 more than Saxon.dan dempseyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/15536720661510933983noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-44805933298105331412011-12-08T21:37:21.293-08:002011-12-08T21:37:21.293-08:00People with advanced degrees in education suffer f...People with advanced degrees in education suffer from "physics envy." They want education to embrace theory and become so invested in particular theories that no amount of empirical data can sway them. The battle over math teaching almost exactly mirrors the battle over teaching reading; phonics vs. whole language. I won't try to argue the reading issue here, but the fact that the battle remains unresolved within the educational establishment after many decades of research speaks for itself. All the while, reading comprehension declines even at the university level.Dr. Hilariushttps://www.blogger.com/profile/11885427800729424602noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-7856058249066823172011-12-08T19:10:11.736-08:002011-12-08T19:10:11.736-08:00One commenter suggested that a follow the money&qu...One commenter suggested that a <b>follow the money"</b> approach would be the obvious one to root out what is behind Susan Enfield's obsession with Discovery Math, despite compelling evidence to that it's bad news.<br /><br />OTOH never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by incompetence.<br /><br />In any case it's up to the parents who's children are being disadvantaged to take up torches and pitchforks and storm the Bastion of Education.Johannes Rexxhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/03456790971750311680noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-73457343802508329832011-12-08T09:31:38.539-08:002011-12-08T09:31:38.539-08:00Tacoma adopted Saxon around 2006, for elementary. ...Tacoma adopted Saxon around 2006, for elementary. The district never really fully embraced it and concocted some kind of hodgepodge of Saxon and Investigations. (The latter being the old curriculum, and one that was just nonsensical and did not appear to have ever been edited by a human being.) <br /><br />This combination was just awful. Saxoon was fine as far as it went but at least at the elementary level, the degree of repetition and appearance that it never progresses is truly mind numbing. I broke the MSP/WASL passage rates out into cohorts and was really concerned to see a year over year decline since adoption. Last Fall we switched to Math Expressions and so far I think it is working better, at least for my kids. <br /><br />We've only had one round of testing since the switch but math scores are up for elementary students.<br /><br />Those numbers, have you tried breaking them out into cohorts? Looking not at 7th graders one year and a different set of 7th graders the next year, but the same cohort from 6th, 7th, to 8th grade? Sometimes that produces a different picture of what is going on. The boost could actually be coming from kids who start out at a higher level.Jenhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08219825964164666489noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-85262777425921714802011-12-07T18:45:22.197-08:002011-12-07T18:45:22.197-08:00I was Rated a Genius in 2nd Grade and My Impressio...I was Rated a Genius in 2nd Grade and My Impression of High School Math was that it was just Plain Wrong! It doesn't Matter What Methods are used to teach it, though Brute Force MIGHT be the Best Way to Go!!! Math is not as Self Explanatory as those Neat Formulas Portray, I think.KChttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07252935014307272447noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-90859484701030807792011-12-07T14:53:26.413-08:002011-12-07T14:53:26.413-08:00"What I have heard about 1930s and 1940s math..."What I have heard about 1930s and 1940s math instruction in K-12 is that it was very heavy on memorization and very weak on why formulas and algorithms worked. Theory was put off until college, for the few who could go."<br /><br />But now with the internet if you want to learn the theory, you can watch youtube videos by professors. You don't have to wait, if you want.<br /><br />But for most people who don't go to college do not need to know the theory, they only need to know how to get the right answer. A carpenter only needs to know how long to cut the lumber for roof trusses, not the theory of why the sum of the angles is 180. Same for someone balancing a checkbook.<br /><br />What we should teach is "practical" math. What the total cost of a car is when you borrow money at N%. The investment return when it's X% less Y annual fees. Whether a monthly payment is better than a biweekly one. And how % loan where the principle is not paid, ALWAYS ends up with growth you can never pay back. Something we as a nation are about to learn as we try to cover all the SSS, Medicare, and Medicaid debt.GaryP.https://www.blogger.com/profile/16946775119505539856noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-66740326273073061322011-12-07T10:33:21.605-08:002011-12-07T10:33:21.605-08:00Does the Seattle School board ever take their own ...Does the Seattle School board ever take their own tests? I'm curious about this based on this article, where school administrators in Florida failed their own standardized tests: http://boingboing.net/2011/12/07/school-board-member-flunks-sta.htmBrock Samsonhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/03910916304102558621noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-69621848793053689322011-12-07T10:27:21.728-08:002011-12-07T10:27:21.728-08:00What methods did we use to train the scientists in...<i>What methods did we use to train the scientists in the Space Program, prior to calculators and computers? Let's use that.</i><br /><br />To be fair, just because those methods produced a few thousand top scientists and engineers out of the whole country doesn't mean the teaching methods used when they were in K-12 are necessarily the best for the general population. What I have heard about 1930s and 1940s math instruction in K-12 is that it was very heavy on memorization and very weak on why formulas and algorithms worked. Theory was put off until college, for the few who could go.Patrickhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16260807460417787614noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-72446345512819909502011-12-07T10:10:29.104-08:002011-12-07T10:10:29.104-08:00I'm with those who'd prefer a so-called we...I'm with those who'd prefer a so-called weather blog discuss weather, but I grant that each of us has a right to discuss whatever we'd like on our own page. And for what's it worth, I'm a proponent of Singapore Math, having used it with my own boys since 1999. <br /><br />I wouldn't inflict "Discovery" Math/Everyday Math on my worst enemy, and am frustrated that some schools still labor under the impression that such programs are worthwhile. Saxon is a fine, albeit duller-than-nails and not-particularly challenging option.Colleenhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04850024758134899093noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-45352054281076818462011-12-07T07:39:58.229-08:002011-12-07T07:39:58.229-08:00My son's third grade teacher recently said to ...My son's third grade teacher recently said to me "Teaching math used to be fun." Sad.<br /><br />The successful math curriculum was selected by the teachers. The teachers in our school and I know in other districts get so frustrated with having these experimental programs thrust upon them and then are punished and demoralized if their students are not successful. The teachers know what works and programs like Discovery math just don't. The teachers I know hate these new curriculums and they obviously aren't benefiting our children. Curriculum chosen by administrators has also been an arguing point in collective bargaining in several districts. Lets listen to our teachers!Elisabethhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02267908433352868986noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-1570665382477139562011-12-06T20:40:51.087-08:002011-12-06T20:40:51.087-08:00Correction for JeffB:
Saxon in Tacoma came from C...Correction for JeffB:<br /><br />Saxon in Tacoma came from Charles Milligan.... Art Jarvis came later.<br /><br />Tacoma has had Carla Santorno around for quite a while now ... she stuck Seattle with Everyday Math.dan dempseyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/15536720661510933983noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-14443665317198820232011-12-06T19:53:22.313-08:002011-12-06T19:53:22.313-08:00Direct Instruction WORKS.
If you have any doubt, ...Direct Instruction WORKS.<br /><br />If you have any doubt, look at the results of a 30 year study called Project Follow Through.<br /><br />http://pages.uoregon.edu/adiep/ft/grossen.htm<br /><br />The reason Saxon works well isn't just because it is designed to be used in direct instruction, but because it is fairly fool-proof. In other words, the myriad of elementary and middle school teachers out there who are afraid of math and who would rather be teaching reading can actually teach something from Saxon and it makes sense. If a non-math person tries to teach using the "discovery" method, the results are catastrophic. <br /><br />I've taught middle school math for 25 years. I used to use Saxon, but in the last 10 years the preferred text has been CMP dreck. I avoided it at all costs. We are finally out of that phase in my district (SW WA), and are using Holt and other things (www.ixl.com) that help our kids learn the state standards. Our scores are starting to go up, and I attribute that to better resources and better teachers.<br /><br />NO TEXT CAN FIX A BAD TEACHER. But a mediocre teacher can be helped by a stellar text like Saxon or Singapore. <br />(Most districts would rather blame the text than admit that they hired someone who can't do the math.)snapdragonhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/10052978249380402838noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-66080906640123788742011-12-06T19:16:22.132-08:002011-12-06T19:16:22.132-08:00John Dewey offers the following about aims in educ...John Dewey offers the following about aims in education:<br /><br />The vice of externally imposed ends has deep roots. Teachers receive them from superior authorities; these authorities accept them from what is current in the community. The teachers impose them upon children. As a first consequence, the intelligence of the teacher is not free; it is confined to receiving the aims laid down from above. Too rarely is the individual teacher so free from the dictation of authoritative supervisor, textbook on methods, prescribed course of study, etc., that he can let his mind come to close quarters with the pupil's mind and the subject matter.<br /><br />from Democracy in Education, Chapter 8. <br /><br />Not only does it seem relevant, it seems farther and farther from many current educational practices that force teachers to accept this edict or that edict, as if they will not do a good job without somebody to tell them what to do, and as if they are not masters of their craft. The irony seems to be that the students are offered, in whatever poor form, collaborative opportunities for learning while teachers are bossed around and ignored from above. If students can come up with good ideas together, why are teachers not allowed the same benefit?<br /><br />I believe that teachers, administrators, and students should be participating members in their own educative experience; resources, training, and knowledge are all there in the members of the school community, who are themselves intelligent and educated. Perhaps the least expensive and possibly most effective resource would be those resources already present in the teachers and administrators themselves, but that cannot come out without mutual support, communication, and collaboration.<br /><br />Find Democracy and Education free online here:<br />http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/dewey.htmlSarah E. Smithhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/01328109581211681715noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-2151691407113950862011-12-06T19:14:53.544-08:002011-12-06T19:14:53.544-08:00The longer we keep merit and results oriented curr...<i>The longer we keep merit and results oriented curricula out of schools and leave unions in control, the dumber our kids are going to get.</i> <br /><br />I don't see unions agitating for new math curricula: it's superintendents/reformers like the various foundations and their acolytes who think they have the answer to a question no one asked. <br /><br />Blaming the unions and teachers gets us nowhere: school boards and those they allegedly supervise are the ones we need to turn up the heat on. <br /><br />What methods did we use to train the scientists in the Space Program, prior to calculators and computers? Let's use that.a progressive crankhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/05135136349294909242noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-66424937748049380332011-12-06T19:10:12.406-08:002011-12-06T19:10:12.406-08:00if I was an educational scientist I would put it a...<i>if I was an educational scientist I would put it all together and publish it</i><br /><br />If you were an educational scientist, you would be working on some new curriculum you could sell, not proving that the old methods still work. I think that's what's behind a lot of this, simple ambition. <br /><br />Not sure what it will take to make the board insist that proven methods work and call an end to educational experimentation.a progressive crankhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/05135136349294909242noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-48686986112925306832011-12-06T19:09:03.248-08:002011-12-06T19:09:03.248-08:00It is amazing that in the face of terrible results...It is amazing that in the face of terrible results that "Educators" continue to support a program that doesn't work. It is a pathetic state of affairs when following "the money", however subtle the graft or corruption is,results in the rational explanation.Unknownhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/09513959219809000954noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-34767430890094129582011-12-06T18:53:32.647-08:002011-12-06T18:53:32.647-08:00I think it can only be explained a malicious deter...I think it can only be explained a malicious determination to implement constructivist curricula. Most likely motivated by political and philosophical views. In Tacoma, Saxon math was put in to play by the unpopular Art Jarvis. Whatever his personality flaws, Jarvis was right. And Saxon math was effective. So of course the social meddlers were right back in the game after Jarvis left. There have been several different curricula in 5 years. This is difficult for teachers and students and ultimately ineffective. I've resorted to simply tutoring my kids as an adjunct to poor schools leadership. The longer we keep merit and results oriented curricula out of schools and leave unions in control, the dumber our kids are going to get.Jeffhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02059221822159483655noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-43539375913363584662011-12-06T18:25:32.301-08:002011-12-06T18:25:32.301-08:00I find it amazing that we are teaching math which ...I find it amazing that we are teaching math which was known to the Greeks, prior to Euclid, and still are arguing how to impart this knowledge. Geometry doesn't kick in until 8th or 9th grade, but even if we include Calculus it was known in the late 1700's which gives us over 200 years to experiment with teaching methods.<br /><br />My own kids had the Discovery Math program through high school and did poorly. Then they went to community college and took remedial math and did quite well which didn't use the discovery method.GaryP.https://www.blogger.com/profile/16946775119505539856noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-33340516198733461682011-12-06T18:05:54.982-08:002011-12-06T18:05:54.982-08:00Very interesting, but I don't think I need to ...Very interesting, but I don't think I need to remind you, correlation is not causation.<br /><br />In this case, the improved performance has another clear correlate: Teachers and administrators at the schools in question who had the motivation and determination to break from the standard curriculum.<br /><br />I wouldn't underestimate the importance of those factors.<br /><br />(and a note to whoever prepared those graphs, "3d" bar graphs are bad data visualization. They make it difficult to compare any of the displayed data points with one another.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7478606652950905956.post-83702770055008239322011-12-06T17:51:20.178-08:002011-12-06T17:51:20.178-08:00I think John makes a good point; it is quite possi...I think John makes a good point; it is quite possible that the Saxon approach is better suited to the tests, but don't really improve math understanding. In the case of math, though, it really doesn't matter. I'm a big time math nerd (I make my living writing computer code) but I know it took me a long time to figure out why long division works. The thing is, I can do it, and have been able to do it from way back when. Without it, many things become difficult. You can depend on calculators, but that seems a lot worse. Plus, at some point, a kid (or adult) may think about what they've been doing for a long time, and then have that "aha" moment. <br /><br />It seems to me that the big problem with discovery math is that it is used to much. 90% traditional and 10% discovery (for want of better terms) would be really good. A good teacher (of traditional math) has always done that. After teaching the kids the basics (and practicing it) the teacher might talk about an unusual subject (say, math in the news, or puzzle time). This gets the kids interested, and stretches their brains more. We have to make sure that teachers aren't so focused on the tests that they eliminate this important time. But without the basics, the kids get frustrated and fall behind.RossBhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/06330673534911248576noreply@blogger.com