Friday, February 26, 2010

Take A Stand Against Inquiry-Based Math

Please read materials available here and consider helping the Seattle Math Group in their stand against inquiry-based math programs.

Educational Psychologist, 2006

Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist,Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching

How Much and What Type of Guidance is Optimal for Learning from Instruction?*
For the past half-century,studies examining the interaction between student aptitudes and different forms of instructional treatments (most often called aptitude x treatment or ATI studies)have consistently reported that students with lower ability levels and/or less prior knowledge and/or lower motivation are more vulnerable to learning difficulties when instruction is incomplete, unstructured,or gives inaccurate information (e.g., Cronbach & Snow, 1977; Kyllonen & Lajoie, 2003).

ACT-R Learning Theory and Math
One does read claims that such cognitive analyses are no longer relevant to the new curriculum standards but such claims are simply false. Instead, we have found that the learning of the new curriculum consists of componential learning just like the old curriculum (Koedinger, Anderson, Hadley & Mark, 1995). It is every bit as important to practice these components of “new look” curriculum to achieve a high level of mastery as it was to practice the components of the “traditional” curriculum.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MO HCR 13 and SB 936

Everyone needs to read this one. HCR 13 The beginning sounds good, but ask yourself... Why in the world would Missouri want to legislate "criterion-referenced" testing. We sure don't have that great of a record in creating quality math standards and assessments.

Don't we need the "reality check" that normative data could provide?

Secondly, why does HCR 13 specifically say that "An external audit would be preferable, but an internal audit would be acceptable, provided that the personnel involved be trained by professionals." An INTERNAL AUDIT (oxymoron) conducted by their own personnel which are trained BY professionals, but don't necessarily have to BE trained professionals!

Please consider sharing your thoughts on this resolution with our Representatives and Senators. The MDHE conducted a great Curriculum Alignment Initiative which seems to be ignored by DESE in this resolution. Why? We want our children prepared for college!

This is what we need!
SB 936 establishes the Missouri Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative within the Department of Higher Education. Matching funds may be provided by the Department and the General Assembly to fund the programs described in the act.

The Initiative will provide support to increase interest among K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and math to increase the number of students who enter these fields at Missouri's public institutions of higher education.

Programs that may be supported through the Initiative include: endowed teaching professor programs to support faculty; scholarship programs to provide financial aid and loan forgiveness to Missouri students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics areas, as described in the act; experiential youth programs at public colleges or universities; and career enhancement programs for current elementary and secondary teachers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields to improve teaching quality.

Consider thanking Senator Pearce

Saturday, February 6, 2010


MUST READ: Ruling in Seattle Court Case
February 4, 2010 – Judge Julie Spector today announced her finding of “arbitrary and capricious” in the Seattle School Board's May 6 vote to adopt the Discovering Math series of high school texts despite insufficient evidence of the series' effectiveness.
Judge Spector's decision states, “The court finds, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the selection of the Discovering series.”
[Read more (and the actual court decision) on the link above]
If you would like to help (even in a small way) to defray the costs of this effort please consider donating to:
Seattle Math Group,
c/o Martha Mclaren
7020 18th Ave. SW, J22
Seattle, WA 98106
Martha is a retired Seattle Public Schools math teacher.