The Mathematics Curriculum Team at the University of Georgia endorses the integrated math approach now in Georgia schools, calling it “typical in countries whose students are high achievers in mathematics. This approach to teaching mathematics enables students to understand connections among concepts from algebra, geometry, and data analysis, which, in turn, leads to effective problem solving and critical thinking.”
The team says that the state DOE’s plan to revert to traditional math “would be inefficient, wasteful, and demoralizing. Switching back to traditional courses would also indicate lack of vision on the part of our state and the inability to persevere through the implementation of true reform.”
Here is the full statement:
We, the Mathematics Curriculum Team at the University of Georgia, endorse the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with great enthusiasm and anticipation. We applaud the GaDOE for the visionary progress of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and see the CCSS as an additional step forward. We suggest the full adoption of the CCSS over adapting the GPS to be aligned with CCSS. It is doubtful that a state-created blend of two different sets of standards would result in a well-designed set of standards.
Therefore, we hope that the use of “CCGPS” designates only that we will be in transition for a period of time. Using the language and enumeration of the national standards will help teachers in Georgia readily communicate and collaborate with other teachers across the nation and will also enable them to fully utilize CCSS national resources.
Today’s students must be prepared to enter a global workforce that is more competitive and challenging than that of previous generations. Toward that end, the CCSS specifies mathematical and statistical content that all students must learn in order to be ready for college and career. Achieve, a well known educational reform organization, and the CCSS mathematics writing team brought together experts to organize the CCSS into Model Course Pathways described in Appendix A of the CCS.
Two model pathways were created for high school mathematics: a traditional and an integrated pathway; however, only the integrated pathway presents connections among topics within a course in a way that preserves the key advances made through the GPS. This integrated pathway also lends itself well to the international benchmarks that will be developed according to the CCSS.
Integrated mathematics curricula are typical in countries whose students are high achievers in mathematics. This approach to teaching mathematics enables students to understand connections among concepts from algebra, geometry, and data analysis, which, in turn, leads to effective problem solving and critical thinking. Being able to reason both mathematically and statistically is essential for today’s citizens.
The Mathematics Curriculum Team strongly advocates for the CCSS Integrated Pathway Model. In response to an audit in 2001 showing the need for an overhaul of Georgia’s mathematics curriculum, extraordinary resources have been utilized in the transition from traditional courses in the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) to the integrated approach in the GPS. The extensive training, the development of materials, and the tremendous work by teachers have established Georgia as a national leader in mathematics education.
Returning to the traditional model of separated subjects would be inefficient, wasteful, and demoralizing. Switching back to traditional courses would also indicate lack of vision on the part of our state and the inability to persevere through the implementation of true reform. In contrast, adoption of the CCSS Integrated Pathway Model would be a natural continuation of the extensive effort already exerted in Georgia in developing the GPS. Even with the adoption of the CCSS Integrated Pathway Model, much collaborative work needs to occur with respect to designing courses and assessments. Georgia is to be commended for the P-16 committees that characterized the creation and implementation of the GPS. Indeed, the number of people across organizations listed in the Georgia Performance Standards High School Mathematics Research and Resource Manual, compiled by the GaDOE in 2007 is impressive.
Postsecondary faculty from universities, colleges, and technical schools; math specialists from school districts, RESAs, the GaDOE, and professional organizations; and teachers from classrooms across the state worked side-by-side. We hope and trust that the state will continue to use this model of collaboration in every phase of CCSS implementation. To do so will provide the multiple perspectives needed to ensure an exemplary world-class curriculum. The Mathematics Curriculum Team is eager to join others across the state in these efforts.
The Mathematics Curriculum Team (MCT) at the University of Georgia is an interdisciplinary learning community that includes UGA faculty from the Departments of Mathematics, Statistics, and Mathematics Education; a UGA doctoral student from the Department of Educational Psychology; and mathematics educators from three different school districts.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog