Thursday, October 8, 2009

NCTQ report on Colorado

Thanks to the blog "kitchen table math, the sequel", I just found out about a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality that specifically focuses on my state, Colorado. I was most interested by the section recommending the adoption of Singapore Math statewide for the elementary grades:
Within the United States, Colorado’s performance against other states is itself quite mediocre, 28th in 4th grade mathematics and 18th in 8th grade mathematics according to the latest NAEP data, well below where it should be given Colorado’s relative wealth.

Singapore’s approach to elementary mathematics education first came to the attention of U.S. educators in 1997 with the release of the results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Singapore’s fourth and eighth grade students placed first in mathematics, well ahead of students in the U.S. and other Western countries, and that performance has stayed strong. The Singapore system was lauded for providing “textbooks [that] build deep understanding of mathematical concepts while traditional U.S. textbooks rarely get beyond definitions and formulas (AIR report, 2005).” While countries such as Japan and Korea have also done well in international testing, Singapore is the only Asian country where English is the medium of instruction for all state-approved schools in grades K-12, meaning that their curriculum is written in English.

Singapore’s curriculum offers another advantage to states like Colorado with growing numbers of English Language Learners. Only 20 percent of the students who come to school in Singapore can speak English, the language of schooling. Because of that dynamic, the curriculum is sensitive to the limited understanding of non-English speaking students.
As a mother with a bachelors degree in mathematics, I'm going to seek the best math curriculum I can for my children. "Fuzzy" math with little mastery just won't cut it, and as long as my local school district uses the Everyday Math curriculum, we will be voting with our feet against it by either homeschooling or going to a charter school. Is there a chance the local school administration will pay attention to this report and actually adopt Singapore Math?

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