kitchen table math, the sequel: help desk

## Sunday, February 18, 2007

### help desk

Christopher did great on his ITBS (more later), but he's STILL amazingly low on measurement, comparatively speaking!

After all this time!

At this point I'm pretty sure I have no idea what "measurement" means as defined by mathematicians and the people who develop tests.

What does "measurement" on a 7th grade standardized test mean?

And how should I teach it?

Any resources?

How about the Key Curriculum books?

question: Does "measurement" mean geometry?

I'm thinking it may.

Simple geometry - perimeter, area, etc. Those concepts have been pushed way down in the state curriculum; they're no longer even covered in workbooks titled "Geometry."

I haven't done much reteaching of simple geometry; the accelerated course mostly assumes the kids just know it, whether they've been taught it or not....

Is that it?

Does "measurement" in grade 7 mean what I think of as "geometry"?

update

Just checked my Singapore Math books.

Huge amount of simple geometry, all labeled "measurement."

Meanwhile Saxon Algebra 1/2 is languishing unused.

grrr...

Instructivist said...

My Spectrum test prep booklet for 7th grade (generic) has a section called Measurement.

The problems have to do with customary measures (inches, feet, yards, pints in gallon, fraction thereof...) and metric measures (grams in kg, mL in liter...), map scales, coins (adding nickels, dimes, quarters), reading temp changes on a thermometer incl. negs, time problems (time for commuting to work), estimating size of book in inches.

I think thst's it.

Unknown said...

NY is kinda funny in this way. CA combines them, I think.

By the by, CA may have the "best" standards [who comes up with that label?], but the state's achievement is still at the bottom of the country.

Educators are pretty much united in the argument that CA's standards are TOO HARD.

I don't really know where I stand, but "great standards" doesn't equal "great achievement." That's pretty much common sense.

Instructivist said...

"I don't really know where I stand, but "great standards" doesn't equal "great achievement." That's pretty much common sense."

One could argue that high standards are necessary for high achievement but not sufficient. Necessary, because schools are unlikely to thrive for high standards on their own. Not sufficient, because any number of other factors have to go into the mix - factors too numerous and tedious to recount.

Catherine Johnson said...

The problems have to do with customary measures (inches, feet, yards, pints in gallon, fraction thereof...) and metric measures (grams in kg, mL in liter...), map scales, coins (adding nickels, dimes, quarters), reading temp changes on a thermometer incl. negs, time problems (time for commuting to work), estimating size of book in inches.

I think he can do all these things, and do them pretty well.

I think I need to call the ITBS folks and find out what was on that scale.

Also, I need to assess the "real" measurement questions you've just mentioned.

Catherine Johnson said...

Necessary, because schools are unlikely to thrive for high standards on their own.

State or national standards are critical for a slide-and-glide district like mine. The feeling many parents get is that the school is actively seeking ways to suppress achievement (not kidding - this is a widespread feeling).

At the 7th-to-8th grade transition meeting the teachers were citing the state standards over and over again.

It struck me that the standards are really the only thing working in kids' favor.

If New York issued a demand that everyone take Regents Earth Science in 8th grade and pass the testyou can bet they'd start figuring out how to do this, rather than telling us that only the top 10% of the country can handle the course because it's "taught conceptually."

Catherine Johnson said...

I just looked again at the ITBS scores - there's a separate scale for geometry. He did better on that than on measurement.

I bet he's got the same problem with measurement he's got with computation.

He's probably got conceptual understanding without procedural fluency.

I may order the Key Curriculum books on measurement.

Instructivist said...

One of the flaws of NCLB is that only two subjects (reading and math) count with respect to AYP. Science supposedly kicked in too now. (Does anyone know what the deal is with science regarding AYP?)

This means that other subjects like history and geography (presumably subsumed under the nebulous catch-all title of "social studies") get the shaft.

I recommend that history and geography be specifically named and tested. This requirement should be added to the new and improved NCLB law. Naming these subjects specifically will cause hysteria in the "social studies" crowd but who cares.

Catherine Johnson said...

I recommend that history and geography be specifically named and tested.

I'm with you there.

And what a fantastic end run around the social studies folks!