Here is a detailed analysis of the state math performance by a former Georgian and one of the writers of the Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics. Brad Findell now works at the Ohio Department of Education leading that state’s mathematics initiatives, and also serves as president of the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics.
For those of you interested in this, please check out the PDF of his Excel file, which I have placed in Google docs and which you should be able to access. (Let me know if you can’t)
While reading a recent AJC article, I was struck by the fact that the statement about 80,000 failures in the Spring 2010 EOCTs was made without any context. For comparison, there were about 71,000 failures in the Spring 2008 EOCTs in Algebra and Geometry. But the real crime is that the AJC did not mention that the number of students passing the EOCTs rose from about 99,000 in 2008 to about 116,000 in 2010. With a little comparison, it is hard to call the Spring 2010 results a crisis.
By digging a little deeper, the data reveal a more interesting story: All of the increased failure was in Math II as compared to Geometry, which is not surprising, given that Math II was in its first year of implementation. About 40,000 students failed each of Math I in 2010 and Algebra in 2008. But about 73,000 students passed Math I in 2010, as compared to 49,000 passing Algebra in 2008. This is a tremendous increase that deserves to be celebrated.
With the idea that a graphical representation can tell this story more compellingly, and using annual report card data (rather than Spring only), I have prepared the attached Excel file, which shows the statewide data graphically, along with data for a number of districts. I chose districts that had stories to tell along with a number of districts in the Atlanta metro area as well as Richmond County.
The graphical display for the statewide results shows that Math I is a huge success and that the 2009-10 Math II results are slightly worse than, but not qualitatively different from, the Geometry results from 2007-08.
At the level of districts, you will see that Atlanta, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Richmond have seen significant improvement in Math I as compared to Algebra, but they are struggling a bit at the level of Math II, partly because of lower enrollment. (I am interested in why the enrollment is lower.) In Cobb and Gwinnett the losses are only slight.
Brooks, Carrollton City, Forsyth, Peach, Ware, and White counties have seen success in both Math I and Math II, and the results in Forsyth and White counties are astounding!
What would be the best way to tell these stories? Among the counties I have chosen, which stories most need to be told?
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog