Archive for the ‘math’ Category

Obama creates elite science, math teaching corps and seeks a billion to fund it

From the White House:

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

Today, the Obama Administration announced the President’s plan for the creation of a new, national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps comprised of some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects. The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers.

These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress.

President Obama said, “If America is going to compete for the jobs and industries of tomorrow, we need to make sure our children are …

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Georgia students say math is too easy. So, why don’t we do better?

There are two views of education in America. One is that we are raising standards — especially in math — beyond the reach of many students and losing them as a result. The second perspective is that most classes are a cakewalk, leaving kids bored and unchallenged.

A new analysis by the Center for American Progress supports the latter. The analysis was based on student questionnaires given to students taking a respected federal benchmark test called NAEP or the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The analysis provides state data, and Georgia exceeds the national average in students reporting math is too easy. In Georgia, 40 percent of fourth graders say math was easy, compared to 37 percent nationally. Yet, we have more students saying that they feel they are always learning in math class.

And while nationally 73 percent of 8th graders say they are not taught about engineering and technology, the rate is only 70 percent in Georgia.

Of course, the question becomes …

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NAEP science: Students can do experiments and get answers but can’t explain or justify their results

NAEP — known as the Nation’s Report Card — released results today of how American students fared on a new component of its science test that included hands-on, interactive experiments and virtual labs.

The new component was added to the 2009 science assessment. In one example, 12th graders were asked to determine a location for a new town based on an assessment of water quality flowing near that site. Students were asked to test water samples, determine levels of pollutants and then justify the decision where they would locate the new town using the data from the experiment they conducted.

Overall, students could conduct the experiments but were not as skilled in using their data to justify conclusions or writing reports. In one example cited in a webinar this morning on the results, 93 percent of fourth graders got the right answer in a science experiment, but only 32 percent could use the evidence from the experiment to justify their answer.

On the webinar announcing …

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DOE releases statewide CRCT results: More kids exceed, but slight decline in some math, science scores

From DOE on this year’s CRCT results:

The 2012 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results show more students are exceeding the standards than last year. Results also showed a one-year improvement in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding on 20 of the 30 content-area tests.

“The best news in the 2012 CRCT report is that more of our students are exceeding the standards,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “Teachers are doing a great job teaching the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be applauded for raising expectations for all students.”

Exceeding the Standards: One Year Improvement on 24 of the 30 Content-Area Tests

- Grade 3: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the percentage of students exceeding the standard in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies increased by 7, 3, 3, 3, and 4 percentage points, resp

- Grade 4: When comparing 2012 performance to 2011, the …

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Is slavery controversy a teachable moment? If so, what is the lesson?

Here is one of the questions that shocked parents in Gwinnett. (AJC Photo)

Here is one of the questions that shocked parents in Gwinnett. (AJC Photo)

The AJC has a long, thoughtful piece about what can be learned from the controversy over the slave questions given to third graders in a Norcross elementary school math class.

The piece begins with questions about how  such bizarre questions could have been conceived, no less handed out to third graders, at Beaver Ridge Elementary, a Gwinnett school where 88 percent of students are either black or Hispanic and half the staff is non-white.

(Still no word on the fate of the teacher. Gwinnett has not responded to my most recent questions about the teacher’s employment status but earlier had refuted reports that he has been let go for creating the two slave-related math questions.)

According to the story:

Christopher Braxton said he was helping his son Nicholas with homework like always when Nicholas stumbled upon the slave math word problems meant to re-enforce a history lesson about ex-slave and …

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On Nation’s Report Card, Atlanta improves in math, stagnates on reading

I listened two webcasts this week on the new NAEP 4th and 8th grade math and reading results for 21 urban districts that have volunteered to be part of pilot that highlights their performance. The NAEP tests serve as a common yardstick to compare district performance.

Atlanta is one of the districts that chose to be part of the pilot from its inception in 2002/2003. (The National Assessment of Educational Progress is often called the nation’s report card and is historically only released at the state level.) Atlanta has been praised for showing the most improvement since the trial began, a fact mentioned by two speakers today.

Atlanta showed its greatest growth in the earliest years of the trial. While it showed progress this time on math, it stagnated on reading, as did most of the districts and the nation as a whole.

Based on the results, we ought to be looking at how Austin and Charlotte are teaching math — they are not only outperforming their big city peers, they are …

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CEO: Math and science are the ticket to good jobs and to America’s prosperity

Eric Spiegel is the U.S. CEO of Siemens Corporation, a global energy and engineering company with operations in 190 countries. This piece runs Monday in the AJC Opinion pages;

By Eric Spiegel

Some of America’s most promising students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) recently competed in the nation’s premier math and science competition at Georgia Tech. Every year, our company hosts the competition to support the best and brightest high school students – the next great innovators.

They aren’t the ones I worry about. As the CEO of a company that employs more than 60,000 employees in all 50 states, I’m much more concerned with those who shudder at the thought of algebra or chemistry; those who don’t realize that in the new economy, even in fields you wouldn’t expect, STEM proficiency is essential.

Over the past decade, STEM job openings grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are expected to earn, on average, 26 percent more than their …

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Georgia improves on NAEP. Why is reading falling behind nationally?

The National Center for Education Statistics hosted a live webinar this morning in which Commissioner Jack Buckley shared the results of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8.

I was on the call, which revealed some  good news for Georgia in its first few minutes: A map was flashed with the nine states that showed increases in fourth grade NAEP math scores in 2011 compared to 2009. Georgia was among the states, although we remain below the national average.

However, Georgia had no significant change in 8th grade math scores in 2011 compared to 2009. There was also no significant change in 4th grade reading performance in Georgia.

One of the pleasures of NAEP webcasts is listening to former Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll, who is on the National Assessment Governing Board. He is a very articulate and straightforward guy.

In today’s press call, Driscoll noted that 2011 was a …

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Math: Getting in step with rest of country. Was this fling with integrated math doomed from the start?

As a math teacher told us earlier this week on the blog, Georgia is moving away from its experiment with integrated math in its adoption of the Common Core state standards.

What’s interesting to me is that the reasons cited in the AJC story today echo the initial objections to the switch by many parents — that Georgia was out of step with other states in its math program and that led to problems with transfers and even with college applications.

And, of course, there were those spikes in failure rates in some districts. Yet, other systems reported good results from teaching math in a more integrated fashion.

Could it be that the main problem with the math switch was that teachers were not trained?  There are folks at DOE who have told me that the money was not there for the depth of training that was necessary and that the rollout was undermined as a result.

In his post, the math teacher stressed that the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards is not Algebra 1, Geometry, …

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Math teacher: Whatever math is called, too much content, too little review.

Georgia math classes will now be following the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, but it is not the traditional path of old.

Georgia math classes will now be following the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, but it is not the traditional path of old.

A math teacher sent me this informative e-mail, which I am sharing with the author’s permission. In essence, the teacher reports that state school chief John Barge has been telling groups that Georgia will follow “traditional” math in its Common Core Georgia Performance Standards — the merger of our state curriculum with the new Common Core State Standards.

But the teacher cautions that the “traditional” math path should not be viewed as  “going back to” how math was taught in the past, and that integration remains.

And the teacher says the same problems with math remain.

(Here is an earlier Get Schooled blog on this issue.)

Here is the teacher’s note:

Dr. Barge has announced to various groups over the past two days that Georgia will follow the “traditional” path for the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in High School Math. I am sure …

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