Thursday, October 31, 2013

An Interesting Common Core Exchange

From Fordham


Question: Garrett Fryer American Youth Policy Forum

Was there ever a discussion, when you all were designing it, to implement it on a kindergarten level and letting it grow with the students as they aged on through each grade, as oppossed to implementing it with the entire school system nation wide?

Answer: Jason Zimba

This is something that states have each approached differently.  Some states have done something more like that, some states have done something less like that.  I seem to remember at one point I saw a MA plan where the grade level wasn’t the key parameter, but they had a Venn diagram, what we do now the Common Core doesn’t do, what the Common Core does that we don’t, and then what sort of overlap, where we want to do it better. In year one, we’re gonna focus on the overlap and do it better. In year two, we’ll drop things… and then in year three, we’ll add…  I got the details of that wrong, but…  my only point is that different states all approached it differently, and we may find out that some states were much wiser than others in this way.

Singapore has a long standing, high functioning system in which they not only revise their syllabus ever so often, but they do it actually on the basis of how kids do, so think about that, a performance-based loop, a feedback loop. Which is something we are taking halting steps toward, but can only image.  And so roughly every six years or so, they’ll put out tweaks to the thing.  This year I noticed that they’ve rolled out a new thing in kindergarten.

I wonder... How in the world can one "image" OR take "halting steps toward" creating a "high functioning system" based on a "performance-based feedback loop" when we are STARTING with a top-down DESIGN by the name of Common Core?


A problem with Common Core Math Standards at the High School Level

I've explained my concern about the weak high school math in Common Core many times before, but here it goes again as I’ve had many questions lately.

In the Common Core Math Standards, Algebra I is not completed in 8th. That creates a problem for students interested in stem fields, and also for students that may have latent abilities in mathematics which may not develop in high school as a result.

CC high school math (years 1 to 3) is an amalgam similar to Alg1, Geo, Alg2(light) in my opinion.

There are currently 4 years in high school. Common Core lays out 3 years but did not provide a stem alternative for acceleration during those 3 years, so this is what we have to work with:

1- CC hs math year 1
2- CC hs math year 2
3- CC hs math year 3 – doesn’t complete Alg 2 imo and would not prepare
students to take PreCalc/Trig at my school currently.
4 - Students have the following options for math during their senior year. None of these include AP Calculus. Remember, the College Board found that Common Core high school math does not “reconcile” with AP Calculus (and I agree!)

The students’ choices at this point are limited to three options:
A) AP Statistics B) PreCalc/Trig or C) try to complete both simultaneously

Option A) If they chose the AP Stats class senior year, to try to get some college credit while in high school, then they would really be two years behind in stem math progression on entry to college, and would have also had a entire school year between Algebra 2 (light) and PreCalc/CollegeAlg/Trig - (definitely not an ideal situation...)

BTW – This option is what a College Board Senior Vice President recommended to school superintendents! “If you’re worried about AP Calculus and fidelity to the Common Core, we recommend AP Statistics and AP Computer Science”

Option B) They could take precalc/trig during senior year, but as some of you know, the ACT determines scholarship money for many, many students. Efforts on that test and applications for colleges and scholarship start late junior year and finish early senior year for most students. (Ask one!)

Option C) is not viable in my opinion. The slow pace of Common Core math from 7th though 11th grades leaves students woefully underprepared for trigonometry in particular and will create an unnecessarily steep learning curve if they choose this “option” during senior year.