Georgia math students stymied by accelerated pace and complex concepts expected in high school

One of the most well-informed group of posters on this blog has been parents and teachers concerned over the state’s new methodology for teaching math. I am eager to hear their comments on the statewide End of Course test results for Math II.

According to the AJC:

Only 52 percent of the students who took the End of Course Test for Math II in May passed, the state recently reported. Many students in metro Atlanta schools who took the tests squeaked by with barely passing grades, earning modest average scores of C’s and D’s for their districts.

The freshman class, meanwhile, fared somewhat better on the Math I End of Course Test, with 64 percent passing.

The benchmark scores reflect what several educators and parents have been saying all along: The new math curriculum, souped-up to get teens competitive for college, is leaving some students in the dust.

Tamela Cosby, an Atlanta Public Schools high school teacher, said only 20 percent of her ninth- and 10th-graders passed the final. They also struggled with the material in class.

“Since the course is a little difficult for the students, it’s not enough time to teach to mastery,” Cosby said. “They are not really understanding the material. For a lot of them, it’s the reading comprehension. They are not understanding what is being asked of them. It’s not just two plus two, there are word problems. They are not used to thinking in that aspect.”

About 80,000 teens statewide failed final exams in Math I and Math II in May.

Students in Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett schools earned a C-average for their district on the Math II End of Course Test. The lowest marks went to Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Schools, sharing a D-average on both Math I and Math II End of Course Tests. Two more affluent districts at opposite ends of the metro area — Forsyth and Fayette — rose to the top of the class, however, with students earning the equivalent of B’s on both Math I and Math II exams.

Kelly Price, a curriculum coordinator in Forsyth, saw her district do well, but she understood the challenges.

“Some students were good at the other way of doing math because all they had to do was memorize and regurgitate,” she said. “They never applied or understood, but they were good at spitting it back out. Now, we are asking them to put the pieces together. That is a whole different level of demonstrating mastery.”

The state Department of Education is optimistic that math scores will improve over time as teens adjust to the accelerated pace and get more familiar with complex concepts in algebra, geometry and statistics, which are being taught to students sooner than ever before. They see the end goal of dramatically improving state SAT scores and churning out classes of grads able to compete globally for jobs and admission to top colleges without remediation as within Georgia’s reach.

“We have to have well-educated students no matter what they are going to do after high school,” said Janet Davis, math program manager for the state DOE. “Our students have to be mathematically able to function in a 21st-century society. They are going to have to be problem solvers in a very different world.”

Beginning with the Class of 2012, every student must pass four years of math to receive a college prep diploma even if he or she plans to attend a technical school or enter the work force after graduation.

Some teens on the path to graduation got off to a shaky start. About 39,400 students failed the Math II End of Course Test, which accounts for 15 percent of their grade. About 40,600 students failed the Math I End of Course Test.

For the failing and near failing, help could soon be on the way. The state may allow some struggling math students to take an emergency break to keep them from veering off course toward a timely graduation.

State math officials have asked the Board of Education to consider a measure at their August meeting that will allow low-performing students headed for Math III — an Algebra II and statistics course –  to instead take the slower Math III support class full time to meet their third-year requirement. Support classes for struggling students, taken in concert with math courses, spend more time on explaining complex math lessons. They were designed to help students be more successful at passing math core classes.

“This is a bridge measure we could put in place for the first two graduating classes instead of continuing to push them on into Math III,” Davis explained. “Our goal has always been to make sure that our students are learning the concepts at the most rigorous level possible, but not at the expense of our students.”

If successful at Math III support for the year, students could then take Math III senior year, Davis said.

If the state board approves the option, it could soon be extended to students across metro Atlanta where math final test scores were mediocre.

Despite her best efforts, even Donna Aker, a Gwinnett high school math teacher, said her daughter earned only a D in her Math II course with tutoring at school and at home from Mom. Aker said her own classes of Math I freshmen didn’t fare much better. Only about 60 percent of them passed the Math I course — with D’s, not A’s or B’s, as they tried to recall facts and formulas she says some may not even use after graduation.

“This is a true college-bound curriculum we are teaching — not all children are going to college,” said Aker. “I just don’t think that the one-size-fits-all approach is the way to go.”

It was a different story in Forsyth. Price said she is pleased with her district’s scores, adding that they will curb anxiety parents and students had about the state’s accelerated math program.

Price attributes Forsyth’s success to staff development and teachers sharing information on lessons that unlock the mysteries of math for struggling students. Math support also was used to help slower learners achieve better results.

Why are other students struggling in math? Aker, a 28-year veteran teacher and co-president of the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, says the math is aggressive and fast, which can intimidate slower learners; teachers are still learning the pitfalls of the curriculum, and they have to cover more ground.

Aker also said parents should be pushing their kids to work harder at home and at school.

Weisu Nugent of Atlanta says the new math curriculum will benefit students if they stick with it and study hard. She says her daughter, an 11th-grader at Druid Hills High, is soaring in accelerated math classes.

“If a child doesn’t have the habit of studying, when you reach a certain age, it gets more difficult,” she said. “It is hard for them to start high school math because when they reach high school, a lot of the kids don’t have a solid foundation. You have to practice every day.”

State officials predict that math final exam scores will climb. The new math curriculum was introduced to sixth-graders in 2005. The Class of 2019 will be the first to have had the accelerated math exposure from kindergarten through 12th grade.

277 comments Add your comment

Mike Honcho Himself

July 29th, 2010
10:18 pm

I think the lowest passing score for the math II EOCT was something like 41% correct. So, only 52% of the math II students could get more that 40% of the questions correct. This is definitely trouubling, but not surprising.

Now we have this brand new class Math 3 support for core credit with very little lead time. Once again we will do the best we can with what the state gives us. We really need some quality leadership at the state level.

Attentive Parent

July 29th, 2010
10:30 pm

Is the problem the difficulty of the content or expecting the students to master content through a discovery, learning task approach?

How many Georgia math teachers are free to explain concepts and use worked examples so that the students apply the concepts from a solid core understanding?

Atlanta mom

July 29th, 2010
10:37 pm

This is so frustrating. So frustrating I could scream.
I have a degree in mathematics. I will grant you, it’s the old math. And in fact, I can’t help my kids in their high school math (the old stuff—alg, geo, trig etc) because they use graphing calculators, but……………….. ( actually , I can help them, but not with their calculators)
All they had to do, to make math relevant to every day, was to add word problems to the curriculum. That’s all. Starting in fourth grade.
I coached a quiz bowl team, in a school of upper middle class students, in fifth grade. They were absolutely clueless when it came to word problems. Mind boogling clueless.
Word problems is what makes math relevant.
I am grateful that my last child graduated this year. New math would have driven me out of the public school system

Atlanta mom

July 29th, 2010
10:40 pm

Attentive Parent,
I agree. People seem to think rote is bad. But, when it comes to math, there’s lots of things that, if you do it often enough, the light goes on. And it is clear. And you know what? If the light doesn’t go on, but the student can still do the problem, maybe it doesn’t matter.

Old School

July 29th, 2010
10:41 pm

I’m just glad my girls are long graduated from the mess we call high school math these days. While neither was a strong math student, both were able to hold their own at the college level and pass college algebra with B averages. That was the only required pure math course for each of them although the business courses both took and the technical studio the youngest took had math embedded in the coursework. For both those courses made sense as they could see how the math concepts they had learned through out high school were applied in a practical & useful manner. Many of my students who also graduated under the old maths became architects, engineers, and business people.

I just don’t envision the same results anytime soon under this Math 1, 2, 3, 4 deal.

Michael in Decatur

July 29th, 2010
10:43 pm

I’m all for increasing the standards but the implementation of this ‘new’ math was horrible and will be Kathy Cox’s legacy. Thanks Kathy and good riddance. You failed the class of 2012.

Teacher&mom

July 29th, 2010
10:45 pm

@Attentive parent…a friend of mine teaches Math 1 and 2. His overall EOCT scores in Math I were good this year. I asked him why he thought his scores were strong and he said it was because he threw out the learning tasks and went back to teaching the concepts like he had been doing for 15+ years. He said that he would integrate the learning tasks as needed but found that students could not make the connections without “good old-fashion instruction.”

Atlanta mom

July 29th, 2010
10:46 pm

Michael–what does the implementation have to do with this?
It is simply a bad plan.
If this were a state where no one moved in or out (is there a state like that?), somewhere, sometime, it might have worked?
But, right now, should a child move into that state, there is no place to put them in our math system. Should a child leave our state–it’s the same situation. They know a little bit about everything, and nothing about anything.

Public school mom

July 29th, 2010
10:48 pm

Are we testing reading comprehension, math computation, or both?

It was an experiment that GA cannot afford – in any sense of the term. The decision to roll out an untested high school curriculum in mid stream (7th grade) without any pilot testing, teacher training or materials was bound to fail. The teachers in my child’s high school worked around the clock but many students failed. In many cases these students arrived two years behind grade without any computation and reading skills.

We could have easily upgraded our existing math curriculum with more depth, reach and practice There was no reason to start anew. I am so glad my older students get to graduate with “real” courses on their transcript.

Mike Honcho Himself

July 29th, 2010
10:59 pm

I went back to the traditional teaching style by leading the class using notes and examples after trying to teach “discovery” during the first unit of math 1. I have tried to blend a traditional approach and still incorporate some of the learning tasks the state has provided. I think the material is a little too advanced for the brain development considering the age of the students. I think the state did a horrible job training the teachers to only use the “learning tasks” and to teach using “discovery”.

Right now our school (and others I’m sure) are scrambling to develop the new math 3 support class. I am at home right now trying to organize how I am going to teach this course. I had to basically develop the materials I have used for the past 3 years so why should this year be any different. Already 10+ hour days due to this math curriculum and lack of planning by the state. I shouldn’t complain – I have a job.

school starts next week!

July 29th, 2010
11:20 pm

What about schools that startnext week? Cherokee starts on Monday, Cobb on Thursday? Maureen, when is the board meeting, and isn’t this coming a bit too late?

GoodforKids' Brain Development

July 29th, 2010
11:23 pm

Mike Honcho Himself brought up such an important point…brain development. Much research on cognitive development would suggest that complex tasks involving abstract reasoning might be inappropriate for young minds still growing (and growing at different rates, just like with physical development). It seems no one with even a basic understanding of say, Piaget, was at the table when these decisions were made. Not necessarily related to how smart you will one day become, your brain goes through specific stages of of growth and development before it is baked. Wonder how much this comes into play?

school starts next week!

July 29th, 2010
11:25 pm

Maureen,
Can you please get some clarification from the state? I believe the support class for math 3 was already in the works. My son was sceduled to participate concurrently with Math 3. Is the state now saying that they will issue a math credit for the support class, meaning if a student takes Math 3 and Math 3 support this year, that they would complete the math requirements for graduation at the end of junior year?

[...] Georgia math students stymied by accelerated pace and complex concepts expected in high school. [...]

love2teach

July 29th, 2010
11:34 pm

“I agree. People seem to think rote is bad. But, when it comes to math, there’s lots of things that, if you do it often enough, the light goes on.”

There is NO SUBSTITUTE for rote in the early grades. When I taught remedial math we had drill and practice EVERY day. The standardized test scores proved that it worked. It is necessary for students to recognize patterns which is essential to higher order math skills.

Mike Honcho Himself

July 29th, 2010
11:43 pm

School starts next week! – I’ll tell you what we believe (and our school starts next Monday)

The new math 3 support class with be a review of math I, math II, and introduce the math 3 topics that appear on the GHSGT. This class is targeted at students who are in danger of not passing the GHSGT. We are unclear as to whether a true support of math 3 course exists this year. Maybe Maureen can check into this.

The state is now allowing this year’s sophomores and juniors to take math 1, math 2, math 3 support (this years new class), and math 3 their senior year. The idea is to help students in danger of not graduating. Students who take this route will not be admitted to a 4-year college or university immediately followng high school. These students will have to plan on attending a 2-year school and then transferring to a larger school. (All of this depends on the state allowing graduates to choose whether or not to attend college)

This is how leaders in my school have understood the situation.

cobb mother

July 29th, 2010
11:54 pm

The only question to ask the State Education Chief candidates are how quickly do you intend to get rid or Math 1,2, 3 and return to Algebra,Geometry, Trig, Calculus ( Like Westminster, Lovett, Marist and all the private schools the Politicians send their children to teach). The other question is how soon will you have at least a second if not a third graduation track. Try College Prep ( Regents), General, and Vo-tech, graduation tracks. One size does not fit all.

How much will all of our students be penalized by these awful Math grades on their transcripts. Fortunately, my daughter managed a B with a 90 on the EOC. We know several students who were in the IB program and Failed the Math 1 class. Now these top students have to deal with low grades on their transcripts. Cobb County solution was to fire 10 of 18 Math teachers at some schools. The wrong target.

Concern Parent

July 30th, 2010
12:05 am

I have reviewed over the math and it does seem to better prepare the students for a more challenging future. However my only concern is how prepared are the teachers to teach this new curriculum? My child was a freshman last year and has never struggled to math. She was even placed in the advanced Math I. Her chief complaint was she hardly understood the work based on how the teacher was teaching it. We got her a tutor, another teacher(Middle School) and she understood it without any issues. How has the state prepared these teachers so they may efficiently educate our students so they do have a “fighting” chance to pass the Math I and Math II.

irisheyes

July 30th, 2010
12:15 am

Explain to me again why we’re forcing every student to take all four years of this type of math? If someone wants to go into a vo-tech program, why not teach them the math they’ll need for their future career? I’m not saying that you dump the math curriculum you have now, but one size doesn’t fit all, certainly not in high school and college.

Proud/Concerned Educator

July 30th, 2010
12:38 am

There are several issues at hand here; but, the first issue is that the teachers are not teaching the standards that are going to be tested…they are teaching “what” and “how” they have always taught. Therefore, student performance on the EOCT isn’t good…not a slam at teachers…merely a fact. As a matter of fact, much of the problem with the new, conceptual math being taught isn’t the curriculum itself. It’s much more about the fact that our state department of education never allows adequate time and professional learning for anything to be implemented properly! Throwing the current math curriculum out now would be a big mistake!

Lynn

July 30th, 2010
12:46 am

The results we have all expected and feared are now apparent. The state of Georgia has failed the class of 2012 and seems to be doing little better with the class of 2013. The state needs to immediately reverse course and offer the class of 2012 two years of traditional math. Otherwise, you are going to have a large percentage of students who will never have the hope of passing a college level Math class because the foundation has not been built in high school.

The Math teachers are giving it every thing they have. Students are struggling and parents are doing everything they can to bail our students out of this mess. Wake up State BOE. It is time to make a radical change.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 30th, 2010
12:59 am

Hell the kids had trouble with the OLD MATH. Ga where we throw money at stupid teachers teachin even stupider students. Boy can I give some more of my money to kids that can’t balance a checkbook or teachers that can’t teach.

Hunter

July 30th, 2010
1:00 am

im a student. its not the test. its the lazy students. i made an A on this test

Ole Guy

July 30th, 2010
1:01 am

DON’T EASE UP ON NOBODY! If these kids are allowed to lapse into their comfort zones, they’ll be domed to lifetimes of mediocrity…stand on em…DEMAND results! It is possible…it was 40 years ago, it still is, teachers.

Hunter

July 30th, 2010
1:02 am

im a tech fan but you dont need to be rude THERE ARE STUDENTS WHO CARE

Pi$$onaDawg

July 30th, 2010
1:03 am

MORE MONEY is not the ANSWER. Asin countries do better with less money and technology in the classroon. What is our problem? Forrest Gump— STUPID IS A STUPID DOES.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 30th, 2010
1:04 am

damn I need to proof read before I post sorry but you got the message.

Pi$$onaDawg

July 30th, 2010
1:07 am

JUST for fun no teacher should be in a classroom teaching if she says I AXED you a question and I spect you to conversate with me.

Ole Guy

July 30th, 2010
1:12 am

Sorry bout that…I meant “doomed”…this damn hotel computer has a time-out feature w/ no renewal ability.

It may seem harsh, but I strongly believe kids, with the right motivation (internal or teacher-induced) will rise to the challenge. There’s simply no other choice.

I got an 0530 back to the ATL…g’nite.

cobb mother

July 30th, 2010
1:17 am

Look at the top 10 scoring States, even the top 40 scoring States, none of them teach this Math 123. The States that tried it 10 years ago all went back to Algebra, Geometry, Trig, Calculus. This is what Colleges are looking for. Many of us have children that will look out side the University of Georgia College System. Afterall, many of us were imported as the best and brightest.

Georgia must get rid of this failed Math if it is to attract business to the State. Sure the executives can send their kids to the $20,000 a year private schools, but what about their engineers and computer scientists? They will go to other States.

Carol

July 30th, 2010
1:31 am

Students are struggling with math. Actually, nowadays, children are very likely to avoid STEM subjects, especially. I don’t understand why they do so. Besides parents, online tutors are best persons to encourage students to give attention to such subjects. There are several online tutoring services available to help students across grades for a very nominal cost. Some of them specialize in STEM subjects, for instance, tutorteddy.com. Students with difficulties in math or science can try it.

No More For Us

July 30th, 2010
1:42 am

Our daughter, an unfortunate member of the class of 2012, is going to be homeschooled this year, largely because of this math curriculum. Her freshman year, she was in Accelerated Math I (”Integrated Algebra I”). About halfway through the first semester, we saw she was in danger of failing so hired a tutor at $60/hour (another teacher at her high school). He told us that the material she was studying at that time he wouldn’t even be covering with his advanced Algebra II students until 2nd semester. She passed by the skin of her teeth and moved out of the advanced level for 2nd semester, and finished that class with a B (most of that semester was spent on Geometry, not Algebra). First semester of Math II (Geometry)she started strong when they were actually studying Geometry, but they soon moved into Trig and her grades started falling. She passed with a C, but 2nd semester – with it’s dizzying array of Trig, Algebra II, and who knows what else – was a complete disaster. We just gave up and decided to get her out of there so she could study traditional math.

She’ll spend this year in remediation, hopefully unscrambling her brain, starting with a full course of traditional Algebra I.

I can guarantee you the situation is worse than these statistics would indicate because they only report the scores on the end of course test and not the final overall grade for the course. My daughter somehow got a 60 on her EOCT, which she basically took with her eyes closed (randomly filling in the dots on the answer sheet). Her final grade in the class was 36.

Very Upset Parent

July 30th, 2010
1:54 am

My son is in the class of 2012 and he seriously struggled with Math II this past year. The biggest problem I had was that the teacher’s couldn’t present the material in a manner where the students could understand the material. Then the school implemented tutoring which didn’t help because the same teachers were doing the tutoring. My son’s grades actually worsened with the school’s tutoring. I finally hired an outside tutor that helped him grasp the material in the old school manner and he passed the class with a C although he failed the EOCT. Our school/county implemented a unit recovery program to help students pass the class which I found quite sad because I felt with proper teaching the kids should have been able to grasp the material. So once again if the teachera can’t properly present the material how are the students supposed to grasp the information. I mean really…. when will my son be forced to work a quadratic equation in life that would dictate this type of change in the way Math has been taught over the years.

HS Math Teacher

July 30th, 2010
1:57 am

To the DOE: there are schools with poverty rates of 60 percent or higher. Have you ever taught at one? Have you ever visited and observed instruction at one? Have you ever tried teaching Algebra 2 concepts to a class full of Johnny Gym Rats, who escaped from the 8th grade & found their way to the 9th? Oh, and throw in some special ed kids who sit in one section of the room working with a co-teacher. Not to mention that there are around 30 in each class, and all the teachers are on extended day. The students who are serious about studying will and can learn just about anything, but must have to put up with daily distractions from other less serious classmates, and repetitive explanations of the most basic concepts.

Our Math EOCT results and the students’ final course averages were close, as well as the pass/fail percentage. However, this isn’t saying very much as I had about a 40% failure rate for the course.

After 20 years of enjoyable teaching, this GRANOLA MATH FED TO ALL KIDS WITH A SHOE HORN is going to burn me slap out. I used to love teaching; however, for the first time, I’m considering teaching at a Technical College, or a small Community College. Hell, I would even consider teaching at a prison. Aside from a vast number of students being poorly served from this “experiment”, a great deal of math teachers are going to be taking early retirement, or just get out of the profession altogether. I know of a few already who have done one or the other.

Very Upset Parent

July 30th, 2010
2:04 am

Oh to further validate my point about my son’s teacher… factoring has been the same for many years. My son came home and attempted to show me how she was teaching them to do it and I was totally confused and so was his tutor. I’m sad to say that in 10th grade my son was still a little confused about the pos/neg math rules, which prompted me to e-mail the teacher and ask how was she teaching factoring without first covering the math rules and she told me he should have learned it in 7th grade. While this may be true, I still find that a true Math teacher always begin teaching equations and factoring by reviewing the Math rules. Maybe it’s just me and my old school thinking.

new my a@@

July 30th, 2010
2:25 am

New math…as my Dad told a teacher years ago when they brought up new math.When 2 + 2 does not equal 4 call me.

BMChrisConserve

July 30th, 2010
2:34 am

I liken giving an accelerated math exam to these students to moving a family (or anybody for that matter) into a house with a foundation that didn’t pass housing inspections. Last I checked, if the foundation doesn’t pass, by law YOU CAN”T BUILD THE HOUSE! It might be because of social promotions, but we are breaking the law with our children. We are building houses (giving these accelerated exams) on foundations that don’t pass inspection (children whose skills are significantly below the grade they are in). And to threaten a teacher’s employment well-being based on getting significantly below grade-level kids to pass accelerated exams is blasphemous! THAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THIS COUNTRY! They build these houses on foundations that did not pass inspections! Also, public schools don’t have practical systems in place to monitor parent participation in their child’s schooling (PRIVATE SCHOOLS, ESPECIALLY CHRISTIAN ONE’S HAVE PRACTICAL SYSTEMS IN PLACE! THEY ARE NOT PERFECT, BUT THEY GOT THEIR ACT TOGETHER IN THAT REGARD). It’s going to take basically a miracle to get the public schools in this country out of this rut. I personally believe that as long as public schools continue to kick God out of the class room, they will NEVER get out of this rut. I believe the USA hasn’t seen rough times just yet!

BMChrisConserve

July 30th, 2010
2:58 am

Giving these children accelerated exams is like moving someone in a house whose foundation did not pass housing inspections. Last I checked, you are breaking the law when you build the house on failed foundation. Thus one can say that we are breaking the law when we build that house (i.e. administer an accelerated exams) on a failed foundation (i.e. administer on students who perform significantly below the grade they’re in). And to evaluate teacher performance based solely on this is blasphamous! This and the fact most public schools don’t monitor parent participation in their child’s schooling is troubling to say the least. While private schools are not perfect, none of them (at least VERY FEW) have problems with the above mentioned issues with public schools. And in my opinion, things will not get any better as long as public schools continue to kick God out the classroom. I believe that it will take a miracle to get public schools out of this rut. And if this maricle doesn’t happen and happen quickly, then I think that the USA hasn’t seen difficult economic times just yet!

Very Upset Parent

July 30th, 2010
3:12 am

@new my… I said the same thing… when did 2 + 2 stop being 4.

Ross

July 30th, 2010
4:29 am

Can’t add, can’t build, can’t find Arizona on a map – Americans: dumber than a bag of hammers.

Yikes!

July 30th, 2010
5:15 am

If only 52% of all high school students that took Math II this past year passed the End of Course Test, what will happen when these very same students take the new Math Graduation Test based on Math I and Math II next spring? If they can’t pass the EOCT at the end of the course, how are these students going to do on a test over material that they haven’t had recently in a course? Lastly, the results of the new Math Graduation Test affects AYP for each high school. I foresee very few high schools making AYP next year across the state and it does not take a genius to see that!

Just Wondering

July 30th, 2010
5:30 am

My niece is a senior at MIT with a GPA over 3.0. She did not have to take this math. At my request she has looked at it many times. She had the same questions that I do? What was the purpose of the change? How much training and support were teachers given to teach this math?
The problem is not the test. It is the content of classes.

We all know that Georgia does not exactly lead the nation in education. Why did we change to this way of teaching math?

Jim Snell

July 30th, 2010
5:31 am

@Michael in Decatur… I agree. ‘Implementation’ is the main problem. The state of Massachusetts has been the one referred to most often by GA leaders as the role model for the integrated math program. While the curr. standards between GA and MA may be similar, MA provides flexibility with implementation. I provide a more in depth explanation in a piece I wrote back on Feb. 4, and posted on my website at http://www.jsnellpost6.com

A TRADITIONALIST

July 30th, 2010
5:37 am

DOES THE “NEW MATH” HAVE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS-?????..Where-??

Susan

July 30th, 2010
5:48 am

This was a failed Idea in other states but Georgia ALWAYS thinks IT knows more than other state. It will be different here! We are ranked 49th because of a misprint. THIS MODEL FAILED MISERABLY IN OREGON and OTHER STATES. Georgia KNEW this going into it. Too bad this wave of students will suffer in math because of experimental programs such as the “new math.” My daughter had the misfortune of having the “whole language” debacle for english and writing instruction. Not until she went out of the system did she receive English grammar and writing instruction which made her a top writer. Wake UP Georgia, You are not smarter than the rest of the country. THINGS dont go perfectly here when they fail elsewhere….. get rid of the project managers, consultants, vendors and get back to the basics of teaching math from its roots…adding, subtracting, multiping, dividing and algebra. THOSE are the building blocks upon which the other is based.

Thelma

July 30th, 2010
6:12 am

In 2007, a group of concerned parents met with county officials to “discuss” the implementation of the new math program. Our concerns:
1. How will students receive instruction in the new “discovery process”?
2. How will students who move into the county with prior math classes be assimilated?
3. How will students who move out of the state still retain their HS math credits moving into the traditional programs?
4. How will advanced students still take the equivalent of AP stat, AP calc, and post variant analysis still get those classes? (they won’t)
5. How will students who still don’t know their multiplication tables be able to pass Math III, IV?
6. How will students who fail Math I still be able to graduate?

Our prediction: this program will be a disaster for GA schools. Note, the questions still remain.

Upset Parent Too

July 30th, 2010
6:27 am

@ Very Upset Parent “…prompted me to e-mail the teacher and ask how was she teaching factoring without first covering the math rules and she told me he should have learned it in 7th grade.”

The concepts are being introduced to students in middle school. But there are a number of students that actually grasp the concepts before moving to something else. And at the beginning of each school year, there is no review of the concepts that were covered the previous year(s). The assumption is that students have already learned it and we have to move on.

My student is also in the class of 2012. We spent a portion of the summer reviewing math concepts that was supposed to have been “taught” in Math II. The math book that was used in his class was useless (as a matter of fact, I don’t think they used a math book; the teacher gave a lot of handouts). As a matter of fact, I noticed that the math books changed during my child’s 7th grade year. There is little explanation of each concept…only practice problems. As a parent wanting to help my child understand their assignments, I could not use the book to refresh my memory. Instead, it seems that the expectation is to go to various websites to get the explanations/understanding needed.

I agree that a change is needed…not necessarily the what but the how.

Upset Parent Too

July 30th, 2010
6:28 am

I meant there are a number of students that DON’T actually grasp the concepts before moving to something else.

Hmmmm

July 30th, 2010
7:02 am

We know the brain looks for patterns as a student is learning. Where is the pattern in this math? And thank God my youngest daughter graduated in 2009 before having to take this math. She would have been completely lost.

God Bless the Teacher!

July 30th, 2010
7:07 am

I’m a HS math teacher. I teach accelerated maths 1 and 2, and those students have asked me numerous times, “why can’t you just teach us what we need to know?” I rarely use the state developed tasks anymore because they’re written by folks who have never taught high school students (i.e., GaTech professors – P.S. I graduated from GaTech). That and there’s just not enough time in the day/year to touch on all of the concepts the state curriculum expects us to cover. The bottom line is that colleges and politicians who think obtaining a college degree is the end all of a perfect society are the ones who developed this new curriculum. Kathy Cox (history teacher, albeit smarter than a 5th grader) wanted to go to Washington. This was her ticket because most of the folks in DC also think our future landscapers, construction workers, production line employees, and check out line cashiers will need college degrees to do what they do. Now she can help ruin the rest of the country with her “expertise.” Mark my words, Sonny won’t be far behind her after he leaves office.

Finally, until the culture of the USA becomes one that truly values and supports education, no changes will make a bit of difference in our students’ test results. In a recent Time Magazine article, a bar graph showed the TOTAL instructional hours per year vs. a selected test score average for various countries. I found it quite interesting that South Korean students (even going to school on average 200 days per year, averaging less than 4 hours of instruction per day according to the numbers) performed much better than USA students (who go to school on average 180 days per year, averaging around 6 hours per day of instruction). Hmmm, performing better with 200 hours (on average) less instruction per year. Can’t all be about the teacher or the curriculum…just sayin’.