kitchen table math, the sequel: Consequences of Common Core

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Consequences of Common Core

Nationally, there is a movement toward standards-based teaching in mathematics education.

The main idea of standards-based teaching, that every school and classroom works from a common defined set of standards, and that therefore, a curriculum will  be designed and then implemented based on those standards, certainly sounds better than the alternative of no standards. Sadly, too many of our schools don't even know what standards are, and they define what they teach by how far through the textbook they happen to got.

Standards are enforced by assessments that claim to test exactly the standards. The whole thing is then an engineering process: write standards, write assessments to match standard, tell teachers to teach exactly that, repeat until proficient.

With the standards based zeitgeist also come the ideas of data driven instruction--check the outputs! test what they know! adapt accordingly. This gives you time to see if your student will pass the assessment before the student takes it.

But most schools still don't know how to teach to these standards, so they look to textbook publishers who claim to help. Because this push was national, Common Core was adopted nationally, giving the textbook publishers one non-moving target to hit.

The good news: Spiral Math is losing its grip. It would seem that publishers couldn't figure out how to map standards onto their spiral's scope and sequence, and opted instead to order their books to match Common Core. And schools want new textbooks. Because how can you do interim data driven instruction assessments in november and checkbox which standards your kids have passed if they haven't seen the material completely until May?

The bad news: at least some of the new textbooks teach Common core standards in order. exact lexicographic order in some cases. First the operations strand, then number and operation base ten, then  number and op fractions, then the decimals, geometry strand, etc.

Why is this bad? Because while Common Core is far more coherent than most, if not all state standards to date, the authors did not seem to understand that this line-by-line method would be how schools and publishers implement the teaching of the standards.

But, at least now it will be a lot easier to afterschool your child with Singapore's Primary Math because at least the sequence is stable.

More on cargo cult education in standards based mathematics teaching in a couple days.

6 comments:

SteveH said...

"It would seem that publishers couldn't figure out how to map standards onto their spiral's scope and sequence,"

Do you have any indication that CCSS will cause any significant change in Everyday Math or TERC? "Fluent" is rarely used in the standard and is not defined. It seems that tests like PARCC will define the standard in concrete terms. I'm not optimistic that the spiral (repeated partial learning) is on the way out.

Allison said...

TERC investigations isn't spiral like everyday math. It's just so very strongly constructive/guided inquiry.

Investigations was, in fact, one of the first programs to admit it needed serious change to match CCSS. What that change looks like I don't know.

Mcgraw hill has a new textbook series with a bunch of software bells and whistles called My Math. It's teach-in-order, not spiral. You can read it and weep. Let me find the website...

Allison said...

TERC investigations isn't spiral like everyday math. It's just so very strongly constructive/guided inquiry.

Investigations was, in fact, one of the first programs to admit it needed serious change to match CCSS. What that change looks like I don't know.

Mcgraw hill has a new textbook series with a bunch of software bells and whistles called My Math. It's teach-in-order, not spiral. You can read it and weep. Let me find the website...

Allison said...

https://www.mheonline.com/mhmymath/esampler.php

you need to reg to read it, but reg is free, and you can see quite a lot of student and teacher materials.

SteveH said...

"The McGraw-Hill Company is a leader in the educational community known for its development of successful classroom materials based upon a solid foundation of research."

Everyday Math is published by McGraw Hill. How does MyMath fit in with that? What role does a publisher play, as a publisher of other people's stuff, or as a developer? (or is it just a company that wants to make money whatever the pedagogy?)

I know that publishers really only want to sell products where there is demand. Some offer two series of math textbooks; one rigorous and one watered down. If you read the hype, you might even believe that the less rogorous one is better for critical thinking and understanding.

"My Math is written to meet the Common Core State Standards. Customized for the way teachers teach, personalized for the way students learn, and individualized to maximize student success, My Math is truly "Made for You." "

"You" is apparently the teacher, not the student.


"Written to meet the CCSS, My Math provides a colorful and intuitive lesson format that is engaging and kid-friendly, making math fun and memorable."

But maybe not effective.



"My Math is a completely consumable program where each student interacts with the text in multiple ways throughout the learning cycle. Personalized vocabulary, student created examples, online games, and downloadable apps move students from learning abstract concepts to concepts they can apply."

"completely consumable"

Of course. That must be some sort of financial "best practice".

It sounds like it will make EM look rigorous.


McGraw Hill keeps all options open. They don't care - whatever sells.

"Everyday Mathematics: Common Core State Standards Edition c. 2012 is fully aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Both the Common Core State Standards and Everyday Mathematics are built on the same foundation of sharing decades of research."

Yes, EM and CCSS are best buddies. MFEO.

Blah, blah, woof, woof.


How about Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Math Connects?


How about SRA Connecting Math Concepts?

How about waiting for the tests, like PARCC, and then writing the material. Everybody is rushing towards a standard that is mostly defined with vague terms like understand. "Fluent" is rarely used, but it's undefined. Forget the fact that CCSS never solved the issue of K-8 math. CCSS test proficiency cutoffs will still not keep 21st century STEM career doors open.

McGraw-Hill is hedging its bets. EM will try to keep and build on its base, and schools looking for a new product will perhaps opt for one built directly on CCSS.

SteveH said...

"McGraw-Hill My Math and Glencoe Math were created in tandem by a K–8 authorship and consultant team with one goal in mind . . . consistency to ensure student and teacher success. See how students can successfully transition from elementary to middle school and beyond."


This is interesting. One of the issues with Everyday Math is that kids hit a big filter at the end of sixth grade. There is no proper continuity to the different split math paths. Either you make the big transition (usually with help at home) or you end up on the math track to nowhere.


MyMath talks about ConnectED, "the one-stop digital platform ensures a seamless, consistent experience from Kindergarten to Grade 8." However, Glencoe has different series for math in 7th and 8th grades.


Is this the Glencoe Pre-Algebra and Algebra I textbooks my son used when our school finally (!) got rid of CMP? No, it appears to be something new, with lower expectations, that is based on CCSS.


"Glencoe Math is a robust toolkit designed to support your unique teaching style, your ideas, and the needs of your students. Your imagination, creativity and expertise fuel Glencoe Math. It’s about teaching math, your way."

[It's odd when they talk about "Glencoe Math" as it it's just one thing.]

It appears we are headed back in the wrong direction under the guise of tougher standards.

See:

https://www.mheonline.com/glencoemath/product_information.php


Glencoe also has Mathematics: Applications and Concepts, and at the top of the rigor scale, Pre-Algebra and Algebra I, which is what my son had. (not bad)

I can only guess, but it seems that the Glencoe math that MyMath uses is the more like their lower end "Applications and Concepts" series, but aligned with CCSS and tied to MyMath.

This still leaves the issue open to what middle schools will use to properly prepare kids for getting to geometry as a freshman in high school. Our middle schools got rid of CMP and used just the more rigorous Glencoe Pre-Algebra and Algebra books. The lower tracks just covered less material. With the MyMath/Glencoe (watered down) series, some middle schools might think this will be more rigorous since it's tied to the "more rigorous" CCSS standards.

Of course, CCSS won't do anything much to raise rigor and expectations in K-6, and with this Glencoe series, it might cause some schools to get rid of using Glencoe's more rigorous math textbooks. I can just see this happening in our schools, except for the fact that they are now tied so deeply with Everyday Math. The only thing that might stop this is the reality of the top math track in high school. That's how we got rid of CMP in the first place.

[It's interesting how rock solid the top math track is in high school, but how capricious math is in K-8.]

I think Wu talked about the nonlinear transition that has to happen in 7th and 8th grades. The K-6 math slope is too low, and anyone who want to get onto a proper high school STEM math track has a lot of work to do. The schools won't help. In fact, if kids follow the MyMath/Glencoe Math series, it probably guarantees that kids won't make it.

K-8 educators seriously need to learn more real math! They are in their own pedagogical dream world.