kitchen table math, the sequel: non-school factors and math

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

non-school factors and math

from the new blog The Common School, written by an anonymous cog in the D.C ed organization scene:

In general the impact that school-based factors have on reading tests scores is significantly lower than the impact that such factors have on math scores and conversely the impact of non-school factors such as parental education levels is much bigger for reading than for math. Given that parents typically interact with their children more through language than through math, it makes intuitive sense that the parental (and peer etc.) impact on language skills would be larger than their impact on math skills.
A Question of Scale

I've been assuming this was true for some time now, but it's nice to see it confirmed by an anonymous cog.

This phenomenon is clearly true for us.

The ITBS has C. reading at a 12.6 level, which is in the 95th percentile.

At school he's reading books at a 5.1 to 6.5 level.

He's acquiring his reading comprehension at home.

His math is at the 88th percentile, and that's with huge amounts of teaching and reteaching at home. Without our help I assume C. would be much lower. He'd probably have the same kind of Verbal-Math gap our friend D's son ended up with. His SAT-V score was 780 or 790; his math, after massive tutoring, was in the low 600s (iirc).

That's an enormous gap, and it's directly attributable to the constructivist pedagogy of the schools he attended. (Think what that score would have been without the tutor.)

Back to Christopher. The ITBS says he's great on fractions -- and, again, ditto. We've spent lots of time directly teaching fractions at home.

On scales measuring skills we haven't worked on (punctuation, "words with affixes," decimals, etc.) he scores lower.

Looking at C's ITBS report, what I see is very high scores in the areas of "home influence," not so great scores in the areas being handled by the school.

Slide and glide.

non-school factors and math
non-school factors, math, and reading


Anonymous said...

it's directly attributable to the constructivist pedagogy of the schools he attended.

Could it be that the SAT itself? I don't know much about it.

I'm looking for articles that are critical of the SAT and they are hard to find. There is the one about the writing portion that's up at Joanne Jacobs. In the transcript of the National Math Panel I also saw a hint of criticism for the College Board and I'd love to get the inside scoop on that.

Is the SAT an achievement test or an IQ test? A mixture of both?

Independent George said...

I'm generally supportive of standardized testing (and the SAT in particular), but the writing exam is an abomination, for the very reasons described in the Joanne Jacobs post.

Reading comprehension and math are relatively straightforward to test. Writing is inherently subjective, and not well suited to a standardized test. It's the difference between the 100m dash and figure skating.

Catherine Johnson said...

Could it be that the SAT itself? I don't know much about it.


this kid had EXTREME constructivist teaching. unreal -- beyond anything people have talked about here

his mom is still furious

her head starts spinning around when she even thinks about it

Catherine Johnson said...

This is an extremely bright kid. You don't get 800 Verbal scores without being way up there.

He still can't do long division.

Catherine Johnson said...

The SAT is great.

I took a practice test a couple of months ago.

The reading test is VERY high level.


Apparently I haven' written anything about the SAT-V??

SAT writing

SAT math

I missed one item on the reading comprehension test, no items on the multiple choice SAT Writing test.

God only knows what I'd get if I actually wrote a composition.

Catherine Johnson said...

My guess is that you can't lay a glove on a 700 Math without knowing algebra 2 very well.

I know algebra 1 to mastery (I'm pretty sure) and my score range was 540-620.

Catherine Johnson said...

I'll take a practice SAT Math again when I finish Saxon Algebra 2.

That will be interesting, because the Saxon books are "integrated"; it's not clear that I will actually have completed the algebra 2 level content on the SAT when I finish this book.

Catherine Johnson said...

I agree.

I wouldn't put writing on a standardized test.

Grammar, usage, punctuation -- all of those things, yes.

Not writing.

TurbineGuy said...

Arggggg.... I just saw you had already linked to A Common Ground.

At least I didn't duplicate your point.


Catherine Johnson said...

I'm glad you did!

I was going to have to write a second post!

What a fantastic new blog!