Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vermont Math Scores

While the recent disclosure of the lack of growth in math scores in Vermont is depressing by far the most depressing situation is the fact that we are still using these  NCLB measures to evaluate student performance and, ultimately, schools and teachers  The way the AYP, annual yearly progress, targets are set up is almost like saying the average height of children must increase by a half inch each year. When we know what children are developmentally capable of learning and understanding at each stage of their lives why do people think we can constantly increase that natural development without changing something else.

There are, no doubt, places where the quality of teaching mathematics could be improved but to set "standards" so high that only half the population achieves them suggests that either the standards have to be reviewed or the method of evaluation has to be changed.

What is of much greater importance right now in math education, the "something else" I refer to above,  is to get students to enjoy, like and be captivated by mathematics. Part of the reasons why more students do not do well in mathematics is because they find it so deathly dull and irrelevant. The tests focus on memorization and recall and do not always test those things in math that are most important and meaningful in the lives of young children..

Our culture in general also has a terrible time with math. Many people are not afraid to say "I'm  no good at math" but no-one would say publicly that they cannot read. A recent news item about T-shirts being sold at The Children's Place store just adds to the way math is portrayed as being un-cool and not something to be enjoyed and valued by young people.

For the past few posts I have been suggesting that there are ways of making way captivating while at the same time maintaining the rigor and precision called for in the Common Core Standards. We have to do something before it is too late.

No comments:

Post a Comment