Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Math and math waivers

By request, a new thread to talk about math education in SPS, math waivers for our schools, what math should be available to APP students, and what parents could do to try to improve the math instruction that is available.

55 comments :

Anonymous said...

I'm a potential APP parent with a child entering 5th grade at a neighborhood school. Thinking about APP for middle school, but with questions about where the program would be located in the fall of 2013 given the program growth, about who will be the principal and about some of the teachers I'm on the fence.

I've been supplementing math and for the past year basically home-schooled math for my now 5th grader. She spends the time in her math class either doing the assignments from our work together or helping other kids with EDM.

We've been doing Singapore and are up to 6B. She likes math and wanted to work at a reduced rate this summer (I told her she didn't need to do any math this summer). In the fall she'll be in a classroom with a teacher who supposedly differentiates but I'll believe it when I see it.

This will be an interesting year, as I am going to have to take some time to brush up on my pre-algebra and algebra as I am many years out from school and am going to have to get ahead of her!

I'm interested in knowing what other parents are doing to supplement math. If they are using CMP in APP, just accelerated, are you satisfied with that given the deficits of the program?

Does anyone know of a math board where people discuss what to teach kids and when? I'm just going with Singapore but worry that I don't have any special training on how kids learn math and how to identify problems. I just assume that because she can do the work, all is well.

JB

Anonymous said...

If your child is doing Singapore math, she's probably in pretty good shape.

We found the CMP curriculum inadequate. It just didn't get to more difficult problems and the coverage of most topics was weak, in my opinion, especially for fractions and integers, which are essential for algebra. My kids also found some of the exercises mind numbingly tedious.

Here is the APP sequence of CMP coverage:

4th grade
1) Prime Time (factors and multiples)
2) Bits and Pieces I (intro to fractions, decimals and percents)
3) Bits and Pieces II (operations with fractions)
4) Data About Us (mean, median, mode, data presentation)
5) Shapes and Designs (basic geometry - polygons, angles, triangles, parallel lines)

5th grade
1) Bits and Pieces III (decimals and percents)
2) How Likely Is It? (simple probability)
3) Covering and Surrounding (area and perimeter)
4) Variable and Patterns (intro to linear graphs)
5) Stretching and Shrinking (intro to scale and ratio)
6) Filling and Wrapping (surface area and volume)
7) Accentuate the Negative (integers)

6th grade
1) Comparing and Scaling
2) What Do You Expect
3) Samples and Populations
4) Moving Straight Ahead
5) Looking for Pythagoras
6) Shapes of Algebra

If your daughter likes to work independently, the Key to [Fractions, Decimals, Percents,...] books, available at Math-n-Stuff, offer good practice. They can be repetitive, so she may end up doing only half the problems on a page, but the math is solid. Other than that, I'd suggest looking for a basic pre-algebra text to supplement/advance.

Pre-Algebra text

(the table of contents is shown in the Amazon comments, which shows a pretty typical list of pre-algebra topics)

-a parent

Anonymous said...

Year-by-year math standards from Mathematically Correct:

http://mathematicallycorrect.com/kprea.htm#Pa

Anonymous said...

I just came across this from Duke TIP Talent Search:

Duke Independent Study

Has anyone used this?

Anonymous said...

HIMS has chosen to make Algebra 1 an option for only 6th graders with a Winter MAP score of 250 or higher in all 4 mathematics strands.

Does anyone know the details at WMS?

HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Are there 3 different policies?

1) AL's new policy (MAP of 250 in Spring or before)

2) HIMS policy (MAP of 250 in Winter, in all categories). Who is behind this, by the way? There's a new principal. Will she stand by the decision?

3) WMS (?)

It's like TM switching to Singapore (paid for by PTA). Lowell/Lincoln parents have pleaded for better math and were told they couldn't do something different than TM. But TM can?

What is Marni Campbell's stance on the matter? If she says she supports HIMS decision (which is more restrictive than the AL policy - it's an equity issue), the next step would be to go to the Superintendent.

The ultimate goal is to provide appropriate challenges to those that can handle more advanced coursework. You don't want to advance students that can't handle the work years down the road, but you also don't want to hold kids back that can handle the work.

Is the AL policy written in a way that would reach this goal? No. It's pretty bad policy to use just one test as a qualifier, especially when it's not really meant to assess early algebra readiness specifically. It would make more sense to use it in conjunction with an algebra readiness test and teacher recommendation (how it used to be).

Issues of bad policy aside, it's crazy that one school can just make up their own policy in order to lower the number of students qualifying.

-end of rant

Anonymous said...

"As per the SPS math pathway, typically students entering 6th grade have the option of opting up one grade beyond the recommended course. SPS has been quite clear that this is not an option for Algebra 1. That is, no 6th grade students in SPS will be able to opt in to Algebra 1." Mr. Carter

Anonymous said...

More questions about the equality the district promised after the split:
How many 6th graders qualified to take Algebra 1 in HIMS? And in WMS?
Curious

Anonymous said...

When I look at my child's MAP scores, the strand scores are given as a range, with a 12-14 point spread. When HIMS says 250 in all strands, is it the upper number, the lower number, or the middle number?? The reported overall RIT seems to be an average of the four strands (using middle RIT of range).

Not only is it more restrictive to use Winter scores vs Spring scores, but it's more restrictive to require 250 in all strands. A 250 overall RIT could include some lower scores in specific strands, as long as the average is 250.

SPS has been quite clear that this is not an option for Algebra 1. Where in the math pathway does it preclude APP students from accelerating further? Pre-split, there were students that took Algebra in 6th grade.

Look at the OSPI results for EOC exams (2010-11). For Eckstein, 4 students took the Geometry EOC as "7th or lower," which presumes they took Algebra in 6th grade. For WMS, the number was 1; for HIMS, the number was 5. Were all those students homeschooling?

Anonymous said...

From Seattle Schools Math Department (Math Pathway):

*A small number of students – generally those in the APP program at the elementary level - will participate in mathematics two years above grade level. Assuming students continue in this pathway, they would take Math 8 in sixth grade and Algebra II in ninth grade, finishing with BC Calculus or IB Mathematics in twelfth grade.

That's all it says.

Zella917 said...

I'm interested in this issue too; my daughter missed the cut-off by just one strand score. Her teacher thinks she's ready for Algebra I and so do we, but there seems to be no recourse. Is there any plan for a meeting with the new principal?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Carter's reasoning is the following for the decision at HIMS:
"In an effort to protect the social, mathematical, and emotional growth of our (sic!) children, I believe we need to be conservative in this first year of implementation of offering Algebra 1 to our 6th (grade) students."

Maybe he thinks there is no proof that moving students ahead will help them academically and socially. But there is evidence that clearly indicates the opposite: when children's academic and social needs are not met, the result is boredom and disengagement from school.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Carter is no longer principal, but there is not yet contact info for the new principal. Has anyone contacted the Executive Director for the Northwest region (M. Campbell)?

macampbell@seattleschools.org

That would be the logical next step. It's my understanding that AL doesn't have the authority to direct principals, so unresolved concerns need to be taken up with the Executive Director.

The problem with Mr. Carter's reason is that it assumes the AL's policy didn't take such considerations into account, then overrides AL's policy. Either the policy is followed as written by all schools or they need to rewrite the policy for all schools.

There should be some mechanism to allow for teacher input (what teacher would push a student ahead unless they thought they could handle the work?) and the practice of using the MAP test as the sole qualifier makes for a weak policy.

Let's also remember that this is the school that was proposing to send 6th graders to the Hunger Games movie, showed the Kony 2012 movie to 7th graders, and had 6th graders read totally inappropriate material - were they taking into account students' emotional and social maturity then?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Carter's recommending (in his letter dated 12th of June, 2012) to contact:
Anna Box, Lead Math Coach for SPS at 206-252-0238 or ambox@seattleschools.org
if you have any questions.

Anonymous said...

Anna Box can't override the principal either. She is one of the people who decided that those who got 250 in Spring be allowed to take Alg 1 - this is what is done at non APP schools - go figure. Anna Box won't be of help.

The problem here is that principals are allowed to override district decisions. This can be great is some situations (dropping EDM), but here it's just being done for the school's convenience, not the needs of the kids.

Anonymous said...

What's really going on? Did AL set the policy with the advice of the Math Department? Now HIMS isn't following it? Did HIMS come up with their own policy and then get the Math Department's support? If Mr. Carter is no longer principal, does the HIMS "policy" still stand? Do all math teachers at HIMS support the decision?

This is why I'd contact the Executive Director. She's ultimately responsible. cc the math coach and AL. Pre-split, Algebra was allowed for qualified APP 6th graders. This is not something new.

Anonymous said...

end of rant-

Thurgood Marshall is using Envision Math for all students except for 5th grade APP. The 5th grade APP students are using a Glencoe 7th grade math text. I think it is called Math Connects.

The PTA bought the 5th grade APP books. The building budget purchased the Envision materials.

A waiver is easy but requires an 80% approval vote by the staff. Our staff vote was 100%.

Thurgood Marshall Teacher

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. Wonderful for TM, but incredibly infuriating for a parent at L@L when told by principal that we can't do anything different from APP@TM. The PTA money spent on a play structure could have purchased a lot of math books...

Anonymous said...

ANON at 10:04 said: "What's really going on? Did AL set the policy with the advice of the Math Department? Now HIMS isn't following it? Did HIMS come up with their own policy and then get the Math Department's support? If Mr. Carter is no longer principal, does the HIMS "policy" still stand? Do all math teachers at HIMS support the decision? "

From what I have been told, the math decision for Alg 1 happened exactly how you say above. Bob Vaughan and the math department worked together and came up with the requirement of Map scores of 250+ in spring as what is needed to take Alg 1. Carter didn't like this, so he made it much more strict. It's also more strict than non APP middle schools. How does that make sense? I have NOT heard that the math department supports this decision. I still can't believe that they are not only misusing the poor MAP test, they are also ignoring teacher input.

I expect the new principal can change this decision, but we'll probably hear that it's "too late." It seems to me that the best time to fix this decision is before starts. I imagine there are still many parents blissfully unaware of this and won't discover it until the first few days of school.

-fix it

JB said...

RE: Strand Scores

I attended the meeting SPS held to explain MAP scores that was held earlier this year with NWEA reps.

Here's what I wrote to my PTA pres (who'd asked me to attend) at the time, re: strand scores.

The Strand Scores reported are less reliable on an individual child level because there are only a handful of questions assigned to each strand. So while the standard deviation (again, a measure of accuracy) is +/- 3 points for the overall test, it might be more like +/-7 to 10 points when you get down to the Strand level. That's not really very useful to a parent, unless you are seeing a lot of consistency over many tests.

I'd think if you are arguing this point you should point out the high standard deviation on the strand scores.

NWEA says that when looking at strand scores for an entire class the SD is more like 3 points, and as such should be useful to a teacher in assessing a the strengths and needs of an entire class.

Anonymous said...

For comparison, here is Bellevue's listing for middle school math options (Prism - Talented and Gifted Program):

http://www.bsd405.org/Portals/0/curriculum/Coursecatalog/MS%20courses/BSD%20MS%20Catalog.pdf

On page 60, you'll see the following listed for math:
- Gifted Integrated Math Topics
- Gifted Algebra I
- Gifted Geometry I
- Gifted Algebra II
- Gifted Precalculus (may have to
take at Interlake HS)

Anonymous said...

What setting up your own Algebra 1 class? Everyone could ask that their kid be in 1st period math and then meet off site somewhere. Hiring a UW math student would be cheap spread over many kids. Plus, you could use a good curricula - an additional bonus that the Hamilton kids wouldn't get.

The problem is finding out who the other families are.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't have to limit it to 6th grade students - there are probably 7th grade algebra students that would like to bypass the district math books as well.

But...doesn't it seem crazy to join a program, thinking it will provide an appropriate education, only to have to do math outside of school? It's not rocket science we're talking about. It's algebra. Which leads to geometry. Which leads to more algebra. Other districts do manage to serve these students (see Bellevue) - why is there such resistance from the very school that is housing the program? It makes little sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, anon at 5:19, and there's more. Don't forget kids at non APP schools get into Alg 1 with spring scores of 250 and non of this strands nonsense.

I don't know that 7th graders would leave their class. - that teacher is good. Lack of a good teacher is another issue with 6th HH grade math at Hamilton.

-crazy

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't that be a discrimination against the APP students who live in the Hamilton attendance area if they use stricter cut off for the math placement there than anywhere else in the district? Wonder what is the ombudsman thinking about this?
Curious

let her know said...

Anyone one with concerns about the 6th grade math at Hamilton should contact the new principal. Here is her email:

cjwatters@seattleschools.org

Anonymous said...

From an earlier blog:
"Very frustrated mom said...
I did write to Dan Gallagher (Math & Science Program Manager), Anna Box (Math Instructional Coach), and Robert Vaughan. I personally talked with Dan over the phone. He confirmed the cut off score is 250 by spring. But the math department doesn't give the offical permission to middle schools to consider spring scores. Middle schools can't do anything without the official authorization from the math department. Who else needs to be involved to clear this mess? Any advice? Dan told me that he would bring this issue up in a meeting next week and discuss.

June 13, 2012 1:20 PM"

Could "Very frustrated mom said..." please let us know what happened on that meeting?

email said...

The principal at Hamilton appears to be the final word on 6th grade math there. All concerned should email her.

NancyC said...

I am an infrequent readers of this blog, but this issue - math placement, needs lots of attention now. Several parents that I know of are requesting that HIMS add 1 or 2 algebra 1 sections for the sixth graders. If you have a student (or know someone who does) that meets the (albeit arbitrary) 250 spring cutoff, please, please, please add your voice and send e-mail to Watters requesting this. Thanks! Also, I think it is helpful to copy these requests to ombudsman, Vaughan, box, Gallagher etc. Myself, I copy Carr and Martin-Morris (I'm in his district) too.

Anonymous said...

Here's a list for easy reference:

cjwatters@seattleschools.org
macampbell@seattleschools.org
rcvaughan@seattleschools.org
ambox@seattleschools.org
djgallagher@seattleschools.org
harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org
sherry.carr@seattleschools.org

Anonymous said...

Also, from an earlier thread, requiring a 250 MAP in Winter is akin to requiring a 253-258 score in Spring. Likewise, a Spring score of 250 is akin to a Winter score of 245-247 (from 2011 NWEA norm charts, assuming expected growth for a given percentile range).

From NWEA's "Comparative Data to Inform Instructional Decisions":

"A student score at or above the following scores on a 6+ Mathematics Survey with Goals test suggests student readiness for:
• 230 Introduction to Algebra • 235 Algebra • 245 Geometry "

They also say:

"These data should be used as one of many data points for instructional decisions rather than as the only single placement guide."


Of course, 5th graders aren't taking the "6+ Mathematics Survey with Goals" until 6th grade, but a given RIT score is supposed to mean the same readiness level no matter the grade level...

Anonymous said...

What NWEA has to say about triangulation of data and not using a single data point to make "significant educational decisions about a student":

NWEA on Triangulation of Data

Anonymous said...

I just heard that there are 9 sixth grade students signed up taking Algebra 1 at HIMS this year.
Can it be true?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52.

I heard it was 8.

-Insane

Anonymous said...

Is the small number because of HIMS restrictions or because not all qualifying students are opting up? Earlier comments suggested one and maybe up to two classes of students could potentially qualify.

Anonymous said...

The small number of Alg 1 students is due to Hamilton unilaterally deciding to make their own rules for entrance. The AL office and the district math department recommended a Spring score of 250 on the math map test for entrance. Hamilton decided that this would qualify too many kids, so they made up their own rules without informing families or staff at L@L.

-insane

Anonymous said...

I think that there are different reasons for the small number of the students who will take Algebra 1 at HIMS:
- Mr Carter's e-mail with no clear deadline on the last week of school for the qualified students (it is possible that there are still students who haven't signed up yet)
- the strict cut off (Winter MAP of 250 in all 4 strands)
- some of the families could have decided not to take the advanced class (Mr Carter gave 3 reasons not to take it).

Anonymous said...

HIMS has changed the 6th grade Algebra 1 class cutoff to Winter MAP score of 250 (not counting the strands any more). Maybe with this change we will have the 27 students they were talking about earlier...
HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

...but it's still a Winter score, not Spring? Do you know if this will be the policy for all schools, or just HIMS?

Anonymous said...

There were never 2 full classrooms of 6th graders qualifying to Algebra I when they used the previous test -- it was always just a handful even when the program was intact.

Isn't anyone worried that the reliance on MAP isn't the best indicator of who will do well in the class?

Seems unlikely that the number of eligible students would suddenly more than triple...

-Curious

Anonymous said...

That goes without saying...but what to do for those entering 6th grade this year? Since an algebra readiness test wasn't administered, they're left with MAP. It's not just about success in Algebra, but about being able to handle the higher level classes without hitting some wall.

As far as numbers, you have to take into acount that more students are choosing APP than when it was at Washington. Is the ratio of those taking Algebra in 6th to the total number of APP 6th graders still about the same?

dw said...

This site is a great resource for people to share information, but it's also easy to get lulled into a false sense that everything we read here is "the truth".

insane said The AL office and the district math department recommended a Spring score of 250 on the math map test for entrance. Hamilton decided that this would qualify too many kids, so they made up their own rules without informing families or staff at L@L.

This is partially true. HIMS did make up their own rules, and they did so without any input from families or staff at L@L. They did inform some of the families (those that met their own "special" qualifications), but created a lot of confusion for both the families and 5th grade teachers last spring.

However, the recommendations from downtown, i.e. the AL office and the math department, were never 250 for spring MAP. It was always 250 in winter OR on one of the previous 2 tests which would have taken place in 4th grade. This was stated in multiple meetings and was verified at several points with those in charge in both departments. The reason is because of what anon at 8:27 pointed out earlier:

Also, from an earlier thread, requiring a 250 MAP in Winter is akin to requiring a 253-258 score in Spring. Likewise, a Spring score of 250 is akin to a Winter score of 245-247 (from 2011 NWEA norm charts, assuming expected growth for a given percentile range).

I certainly wouldn't claim that no new changes have been made downtown in the last couple weeks, but I will state absolutely that the reasons behind these changes and that number were very clearly made based on winter of 5th grade (or earlier) scores. If spring scores were to be used the cutoff would need to be in the high 250s to be consistent with the research that went into using MAP scores for placement (whether using MAP alone is reasonable is another story entirely).

dw said...

To tag onto another comment, NWEA states:

"A student score at or above the following scores on a 6+ Mathematics Survey with Goals test suggests student readiness for:
• 230 Introduction to Algebra • 235 Algebra • 245 Geometry "


Think about this for a minute. Parents of kids with MAP scores of 245 or so, do you really think your kids should be placed into Geometry based on their MAP score? Of course not! And neither should they be placed into Algebra based on their MAP score alone. Placement into algebra as a 6th grader should be based on the content knowledge required to be successful in that class, which is the pre-algebra material (more or less). If a student has not been taught that material, either at school, at home, in math club, online course, or somewhere, then they are probably not ready for algebra at the same level as a 7th grader who took Math 6HH last year.

Many of these kids are very bright and might be able to run through that preliminary material fairly quickly, but they need to get it somehow! If HIMS were to offer a special class for 6th graders that worked quickly through a bunch of 6HH material at the beginning of the year, then dig into the algebra material at a slightly accelerated pace, that might work. But parents need to understand this before making that decision, and they need to know whether or not their kids will be able to get this, whether they're well-suited to move through material at an accelerated pace, and what happens if they can't fit that particular class into their schedule. What if they get stuck in a class with 7th and/or 8th graders who have already had the requisite material?

The 8 or 9 kids that accepted the enrollment are probably elementary math club kids or kids who have otherwise done a good deal of math outside the classroom. They are likely to be successful in algebra at the same level as those entering the class at a higher grade.

Many parents clamoring for HIMS to use the spring scores probably don't understand how poorly those scores relate to the content of both the prerequisites and the algebra class itself. Remember, both CMP2 and the Discovering text for Algebra are really sketchy. Do you want to push your kid into that class without having solid background coverage. Because of the weak algebra text, problems can easily not show up until Algebra II (although a strong teacher can help fill those gaps).

There's a lot to consider, and the building has NOT been good about pushing information out to families that need to know what they're getting into.

curious said: Seems unlikely that the number of eligible students would suddenly more than triple...

Yep. Historically there were about 8-12 students each year at WMS, for many years. After the split we should expect somewhat less than that because those students are split between two buildings. However, with the district pushing APP "growth", we could expect some of those losses to be recouped. So the expectations would be something like 8-10 kids well-suited for this extra jump, and what do you know? I'm reading in this thread that 8 or 9 families accepted this placement. Magic.

Now the building has changed their tune and they're "lowering the bar" again. Why? Because they can't offer a special class designed for 6th graders unless they have a much larger number. Probably close to 20, although it's clearly a building decision as to what size classes they'll offer for various subjects. Language classes have been as small as a dozen kids, I think. They also can't offer ANYTHING to these kids in 8th grade if the numbers don't support it. This is almost certainly what's behind the new policy changes.

There's a lot to think about. Unfortunately, the district/building are rushing headlong into this without a great deal of care, and they are doing a huge disservice to the families by not engaging them along the way, well in advance of enrollment decisions.

dw said...

BTW, Greg this captcha system is a big pain. I've avoided posting here for months because of it, and it took several tries now. Melissa got rid of it after lots of complaints and the SSS blog seems to be doing fine, perhaps you could consider moving to the system she's using now?

realist said...

Dw. you must have knowledge about just who teaches 6 th grade hh at hims.... I don't think many of those families would say their children were well prepared for algebra. I have been told by many families that their children hardly learned anything this year. that's a major deterrent to staying in hh math.


realist

Anonymous said...

So, in an ideal world, the placement process would have MAP as only one component for enrollment in Algebra. An actual Algebra readiness test would be better in terms of ensuring that students actually have covered the necessary pre-algebra concepts. There is already such a test, the Iowa Algebra Readiness Assessment, but for some reason we're limited to MAP. Problem 1.

He said. She said. There is no formal guideline for parents to read. Why do we have to rely on the blog for updates (which may contain misinformation). Either there's a guideline, and it's posted, or? Problem 2.

Even if a student qualifies, and does well in Algebra I, there is no guarantee of an appropriate level class in 8th grade. Problem 3.

The district uses lousy textbooks. Even if a child accelerates, it's still Discovering Algebra. And pre-algebra with CMP. Problem 4. (depending on the teacher of course, Problem 5)

So, what's a parent to do?

Also, accelerating to Algebra I in order to avoid 6HH? That leads to the potential problem of kids starting without the requisite skills. The Algebra class then becomes less of an Algebra class because time is spent reviewing what should have been covered in pre-algebra. It's not fair to those that truly are ready for a comprehensive Algebra I course.

Furthermore, getting rid of strand scores is not "lowering the bar." It's putting a stop to a misuse of MAP scores. Instead of fiddling around with the MAP score, they need to add another component. See the "triangulation" comment.

2cents

Anonymous said...

Here's a sample math placement process (notice they use a Spring MAP of 250 or above):

http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/academics/GTHP/MSS/Pages/HonorsCourses6.aspx

Also, from the Minnetonka placement policy, Students who qualify will be expected to complete summer Pre-Algebra materials independently and receive an 80 percent or higher on the end of the course Pre-Algebra final taken in August. What a great solution. If a student is motivated enough to accelerate, they prepare on their own time, and then are tested again in August.

2cents

dw said...

realist,

Yes, there is a poor teacher to consider. I don't think it's 100% given that she will be teaching 6HH again this fall (though likely). Perhaps if enough people make this problem known to the new principal something could finally be done; wasn't she on the brink of getting pushed out already? Do we know that she is in fact a poor teacher across the board, or perhaps just a poor match for accelerated kids? I wouldn't want to foist a crappy teacher on a different set of kids, but sometimes there are just incompatibilities to consider.

2cents,

I agree with your assessment #s 1-4, 6HH avoidance, and potential weakening of the algebra class itself. The only thing I would take partial exception to is this: Furthermore, getting rid of strand scores is not "lowering the bar." It's putting a stop to a misuse of MAP scores. Instead of fiddling around with the MAP score, they need to add another component. See the "triangulation" comment.

Getting rid of the strand score requirement is definitely lowering the bar. I'm not saying it's a good thing at all, but it's not putting a stop to a misuse of the MAP, it's just misusing it in a different way. But I agree that the important thing to consider in all of this is that another component is necessary. Exactly what they're doing here: Students who qualify will be expected to complete summer Pre-Algebra materials independently and receive an 80 percent or higher on the end of the course Pre-Algebra final taken in August.

Almost any pre-algebra class or algebra-readiness assessment would be better than using the MAP by itself, although there will be alignment issues to consider. Remember, many districts actually use "real" math texts. Why not just do the simplest thing of all, let the kids take the pre-algebra final exam at the end of 5th grade (to allow the middle school to have some clue about master schedule requirements), and if they pass with, say, 80%, then they're good to go and can sign up for algebra in 6th grade. Some kids may take a class over the summer, so you'd need to have a provision for them to take the test right before or at the beginning of the school year.

At the end of the day this is an option that should only involve 5-10 kids/year, and it's not rocket science. Why does the district keep making such silly mistakes?

Anonymous said...

If the overall MAP score is an average of the strand scores, then requiring all strand scores to meet the average is essentially raising the minimum score to qualify (assuming unequal strand scores).

If the overall score required was 250, and the required individual strand score was only 245, for example, that may make more sense to assure that a student doesn't have any large gaps in learning, yet it still allows for various strengths and weaknesses. But, given the standard error in the strand scores, it just doesn't seem statistically sound to use them for qualification.

Should an algebra readiness assessment be used, it also needs to correlate with state standards, and not be curriculum specific (CMP). Especially now that TM won't be using CMP...

Anonymous said...

As someone that's written to the district for clarification, and has yet to get formal communication on what the policy actually is (either as set by AL or as implemented by HIMS), I'm curious how HIMS parent is getting information.

Anonymous said...

The Iowa Algebra Readiness Assesment costs $2.75 per student.

From Iowa Testing Programs:

While the recommendations of current and former teachers must be given great weight, additional information about mathematics achievement and foundational knowledge is also important...As stated earlier, information on student performance is intended to assist educators in (1) determining the algebra readiness of students, (2) determining initial placement of students in the secondary mathematics curriculum, (3) identifying student strengths and weaknesses, and (4) evaluating instructional programs.

#4 would be useful as well.

http://itp.education.uiowa.edu/iara/iara.aspx

suep. said...

Elementary APP math Q.

Anyone from APP/Lincoln interested in following Thurgood's lead and applying for a math waiver or supplement so our kids can be taught something other than Everyday Math (EDM)and Connected Mathematics (CMP)?

Anonymous said...

Trying to understand an incoming 6th grader's math assignment. Could someone please explain the different levels of placement? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I'm trying to understand the APP math course assignments for 6th grade at Hamilton. I've seen mention of "6H" and "6HH", but no clear definition of what the differences are. (For example, my kid's course name is "Math 6H", but the course number has an "HH" at the end of it, so I'm flummoxed).

word said...

Our schedule looks like yours 6H course designations are all "HH" in the course code. That must be their notation - though I will be happy to take correction from someone more knowledgable.

Whether these courses will be effectively taught at the APP level.......aye, well there's the rub!