kitchen table math, the sequel: Beware of Procedural Knowledge

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beware of Procedural Knowledge

I'm embarrassed to say that I just learned the State of Virginia is in the process of revising its math standards. I will provide updates as I learn more, but apparently they've already taken comments online from parents, teachers and others. There may be other opportunities to comment however.

I learned about it when I approached my school board representative about the possibility of using Singapore Math in Fairfax County where I live. She seems interested in it and passed on my note to the Assistant Superintendent's office. In the reply back which covered several different items, the following sentence leaped out at me:

"We have not looked at the Singapore curriculum in a couple of years; the last time we did it focused on procedural knowledge and was not as aligned to the POS as other texts."

Uh, excuse me? Could you explain why procedural knowledge is a bad thing?

On the other hand, please don't.


Catherine Johnson said...

On the other hand, please don't.

ditto that

Paul B said...

Hi Barry:

What's POS? I have a candidate but....

Is the POS your state standards?

By the way, procedural knowledge is just code for those discredited 20th century skills. You know the ones; multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, fraction ops, etc.

My kids don't need no stinkin' procedures. They know that 24/3 = .125 and they know 3/24 = 8. What more is there to know?

Barry Garelick said...

POS is Program of Studies. There are the standards, and then there is the implementation of same. POS is the specifics; similar to California's "Frameworks".

Independent George said...

I'm really glad you explained that. In my world, POS has two different meanings in my world: Point of Sale, and a much, much funnier (and perhaps more appropriate) one which I shouldn't repeat on an education blog.

Independent George said...

Ack. Always hit 'preview' before 'submit.