Mathematics Standards Committee. High Standards for All Children. Our Genesis. Independent Math A Panel formed to investigate large failure rates on June 2003 Math A Regents Panel had several findings, one being that the Math A standards lacked clarity and specificity
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High Standards for All Children
24 Members – 6 of whom served on the Math A Panel
The Committee deeply appreciates the invitation to assist with this important effort.
WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE HELP.
The Committee is grateful to many SED staff members.
THIS IS A CONSENSUS REPORT.
The recommendations are supported by all 24 Committee members.
To improve clarity, specificity and functionality, the Committee proposes:
Standard 3 should be revised to read as follows:
Through the integrated studies of number sense and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and probability and statistics.
Replace the current seven key ideas with five content strands and five process strands:
This was the bulk of the work, the creation of 850 specific, grade-by-grade performance indicators in grades Pre-K through high school, to be used to guide curriculum development and assessment development.
The committee established guiding principles for the development of the performance indicators, based on its review of mathematics programs in other states and nations.
Performance Indicators should:
The field needs time to redesign curriculum and train staff on these revised standards. The committee recommends that SED seek a waiver for a one-year postponement from USDOE for the administration of the grade 3-8 tests in math. If this is not possible, we recommend the results not be considered for accountability purposes until 2006-2007.
Because each year’s skills and knowledge build upon the previous year, the revised high school program should be phased in over a three year period, following the implementation of the 3-8 program by one year.
Because Math A will be a one year course for the typical student, and because three years of math are required for an Advanced Regents diploma, Math B will become a two year course for the typical student. The Committee recommends that an additional Regents exam be created to test students at the end of the first half of Math B. Thus, the typical student will take three math Regents exams, one after each year of study.
To improve clarity, the labels for high school mathematics should be changed as follows:
If recommendations 6 and 7 are approved, the high school math program for the typical student will consist of three years of study:
each ending in a Regents examination.
Each local school district should establish criteria based on the course grades and Regents exam scores for students to continue to the next course in the Integrated Algebra, Integrated Geometry, Integrated Algebra II and Trigonometry sequence.
The amount of course credit that can be granted by local districts for Integrated Algebra should be limited to two units.
Grade-by-grade curriculum guides should be developed as suggested models for mathematics instruction statewide, and there should be alignment among the standards and performance indicators, the curricula and the assessments.
We strongly endorse Recommendations 9A, 9B, 9C and 9D of the Math A Panel:
Our Committee recommends that the Panel’s Recommendations 9A and 9D be implemented immediately, and that a Professional Preparation Committee be established to make specific recommendations regarding 9B and 9C.
Q. Comparing the proposed performance indicators with the current ones, it appears there are fewer in grades K-4, and a shift of content from higher grades into grades 5-8?
A. Absolutely correct. This decision was reached after reviewing programs in other states and nations, and TIMMS and NAEP reports. In K-4, children need to spend a lot of time first developing strong numeracy skills and then proportional thinking. In 5-8, there is currently much repetition and many topics covered each year. In order to develop a strong program leading to a robust Integrated Algebra course, these middle grades need more content and more focus. (Many districts are already successfully implementing similar models.)
Q. Isn’t the proposed high school program going back to Course I, II, III?
A. Absolutely not. The major change from I, II, III to Math A and B was the inclusion of process standards, which were woefully lacking in I, II, III. The Committee feels strongly that these process standards must continue, and that the curricula developed for classroom teachers will emphasize this.
We believe the goal of all teachers of mathematics should be to inspire their students to appreciate the power and beauty of mathematics. This is not recommended in Standard 3 because we could not find a way to assess this, and, even if it can be assessed, we do not believe a high school diploma should be conditioned upon this. However, it is our hope that this will be listed as a goal in all curriculum documents.
Our work revising the standards is only one part of a systemic approach to improve the mathematics learning of our students.
FINDING: The Math A content standards are not clear.
FINDING: There are technical problems in the test development process, which result in the exams being inconsistent over time.
FINDING: There is no agreed upon curriculum.
Test Development Process
FINDING: Because the standards are unclear, and there is no agreed upon curriculum, teachers look to past Regents exams for guidance.
FINDING: THE SYSTEM IS NOT ALIGNED.
The Standards need to be retooled.
The Math A Regents exam
needs to have technical changes made, and to be linked to the retooled standards.
A grade-by-grade curriculum,
K-8, Math A, Math B
needs to be written
and disseminated, with Math A being a one-year course.
Test Development Process
Teachers need to understand the standards, and need to have enough preparation to teach the curriculum.
• K-12 - Higher Ed
• Public Libraries
• Public Television
The solution must be systemic in nature. Our work builds the foundation with new standards, but it is still only one part of the system.
High expectations for student performance, alignment of suggested grade-by-grade curricula and assessments, and professional development to the standards must all be in place to ensure success for our students.
Ultimately, the goal we must all have is to establish a set of “world class” standards in New York that will guarantee that New York’s children receive the best mathematics education anywhere.
We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this effort, and we hope our work has advanced this goal.