Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

Amber Lee's Independent Research


After attending Math Night orientations for Investigations in the Fall of 2001, I couldn’t wait for my 3rd grader to get started.  Since then, I have gradually become more and more dissatisfied with the results of the program for my children who are now in grades 8, 5, 4, and 1 in Alpine School District.  Many of my neighbors also are dissatisfied with the Investigations program.  But I have often wondered how the math situation looks outside my personal view which is based on my own family’s subjective experience.  So reading K12 Administrator Barry Graff’s “wow" statement in the Daily Herald ( regarding Alpine School District’s state math test scores, really perked my curiosity about how ASD scores rate compared to others in the state, nation and world. 

The first place I looked for a ‘wow’ was at the state level.  I visited, but I was unable to access the reports because of internet difficulties.  So I looked at my child’s 3rd grade UPASS report for spring 2005.  The percent correct of total points possible were comparable or nearly identical for students in the school district compared to students statewide in the math areas tested:

Number Sense –                 District 85; State 84
Algebra –                               District 87; State 87
Geometry –                           District 80; State 81
Measurement –                   District 81; State 81
Data & Probability –             District 91; State 91
Procedural –                         District 86; State 85
Conceptual –                        District 81; State 81
Problem Solving –               District 86; State 85

I wish I had access to all the grades and all the years.  I did look at some of my other children’s reports for other grades and years.  The pattern seemed to me to be that the district’s average scores were very similar to the state’s average scores.  It is good news that as a district we have not fallen below state average, but this did not ‘wow’ me.  

Next I looked to the national rankings for a ‘wow’.  I wondered if perhaps Utah State and Alpine School District scores exceeded national averages.  I visited the website for the National Center for Educational Progress (NCEP) otherwise known as “the Nation’s Report Card”

In 2005, the most recent year for which math results are available, 4th graders in Utah schools scored 239 compared to the national average of 237 and Utah 8th graders scored 279 compared to the national average of 278.  It appears we are doing a good job here, but nothing here suggests to me a ‘wow’.

In my final quest for a ‘wow’.  I looked to international math performance.  Perhaps Alpine School District scores on standardized test are exceptional when compared to those in other developed countries.  The best information I could find on the international picture was from a study released in November 2005. 

“The study, conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) under funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education, reexamined data from three international surveys assessing mathematics achievement in 2003 – the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which assessed students in grades 4 and 8, and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assessed 15-year-olds, most of whom were in 10th grade.

The study, “Reassessing U.S. International Mathematics Performance: New Findings from the 2003 TIMSS and PISA,” focused on students in the United States and 11 other industrial countries that participated in all three assessments: Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the Russian Federation.”

U.S. students consistently performed below average, ranking 8th or 9th out of twelve at all three grade levels.”

Clearly international math performance ranking failed to give me the feel good ‘wow’ I was looking for.

I realize the local student scoring data I have access to is necessarily incomplete.  I don’t know how Alpine School District math scores compared to State math scores before the new math programs were implemented.  And there are other factors and variables involved.  For example, extra instructional help from parents may be raising the student averages in our area.   However, general impression I got from my brief searching is that Alpine School District student’s math scores are average for the state and nation while failing internationally.  I am looking forward to results of the latest District test scores which will available to the public on Sept 15th and perhaps I will then understand what Mr. Graff was referring to when he said "Our student achievement data is really -- all I can say is wow."   

Amber Lee

Investigations Math Menu

** Most important pages to read (all have value but if you will only read a few pages make it these)
* Very important

Research and Information Press Coverage

THE PETITION TO REMOVE INVESTIGATIONS MATH** (OVER 5% of ASD represented--still ignored by ASD)


Math With Madeline Video

All Weekly Email Updates **

Edspresso Article on WMD Comics

Weapons of Math Destruction Comics**

What Can You Do About Fuzzy Math in Your Area - 13 Ideas**

Brain Programming

ASD's Saxon Math Deception
Part 2 of the Deception

4/21/07 ASD Superintendent Calls Parents Extremists (for wanting the times tables in schools)

Alpine School District Residents Should Choose Saxon Math

9/13/06 Dual Enrollment Guidelines - Opting Out of Math or Other Classes

9/2/06 Jaime Escalante and NCTM Standards**

9/2/06 Amber Lee's Independent Research

The Math Story (ie. How I Got Started)

7/31/06 Educators Ignore Project Follow-Through**

7/26/06 Comparison of Alpine to Nebo and Provo Districts and comments on Orem City Breaking Off **

3/30/06 Utah Public Radio Broadcast with David Wright and Damon Bahr* (Right-Click and use Save As to download)

Insane Supplementary Materials Compound Investigations Math Nightmare**

Map of ASD Precincts and Election information- You must register to run by 3/17

3/2/06 David Wright's Mathematician Petition to the State of Utah*

2/14/06 Why are Charter School Scores Better than Alpine School District's?*

2/14/06 Alpine School District IOWA Test Math Scores

10 Myths About Math Education and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them

2/1/06 The Case for Utah adopting California's Math Standards-Testimony to Utah Congress**

1/10/06 School Board Meeting challenge to find just one valid study by 1/31/06 ** (I'm still waiting)

Math Tutors in Utah (find one/list one)

11/9/05 Update - How ASD is failing more children each year**

ASD's statement to teachers authorizing them to teach traditional math without fear of repercussion

California Study showing tripling of scores for schools that left constructivist math and implemented Saxon Math**

10/31/05 Petition Maps (see where people are signing the petition-blue dots are schools, red are petitions)

How About Grades 6-12 Connected and Interactive Math?**

Raising Critical Thinking Skills*

Pro-Investigations websites (for anyone interested)

8/15/05 Update (compares Alpine to other districts and charter schools) *

7/29/05 Update (resources given to ASD, sample problems, ASD vs. Nebo School District) *

Investigations Math Origins and Articles*

Math Programs Compared ("Traditional", Investigations, Saxon)

Supplementing your Public School Student's Education**

The California Investigations Math Failure**

Community comments - both Pro/Anti Investigations **

Investigations Math Poll Introduction and Question Summary*


Additional articles are covered in weekly updates since April 2007

Victory in Utah - State to Revamp Standards (11/16/06)

Major Breaking News...NCTM does a 180 after 17 years of destroying math in America

It must really irritate the folks at Alpine School District (ASD) who have taken to calling all my work "biased and flawed" to have such no-name disreputable organizations pandering to my lies. The legacy of ASD will be the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of students unable to obtain a technical higher education degree.

4/25/07 Provo Daily Herald - Math petitioners called 'extremists' in Alpine District

4/24/07 Deseret News Article - So how many different programs are appropriate to use at one time Mr. Henshaw?

3/1/07 - Deseret News - Schools' grades mixed - Utah system rated by U.S. Chamber in a new report

2/14/07 Provo Daily Herald - Committee makes math program suggestions for Alpine: Many in district pine for 'Investigations'

2/14/07 Deseret News - Alpine seeking balance in math

2/12/07 Deseret News - Math Program Deleted - Alpine District dumps controversial approach

11/16/06 Deseret News - State leaders support math overhaul for schools

11/16/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Utah's 'fuzzy math' curriculum scrapped; legislators endorse plan to revamp state standards

11/15/06 New York Times - As Math Scores Lag, a New Push for the Basics

10/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Survey: Math Program Doesn't Add Up

10/25/06 Deseret News - Students decline at 5 Utah colleges

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math learning is shallow in U.S., professor says

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math in Utah — 'fuzzy' or A-OK?

10/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Bad marks for Utah's schools

10/9/06 BYU NewsNet - Alpine School District Under Attack

9/30/06 Provo Daily Herald - Districts evaluate 'failures' in testing

9/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Utah schools receive progress rankings

9/26/06 - Parents Know the Right Equation for Teaching Math - by Phyllis Schafly

9/12/06 Wall Street Journal - New Report Urges Return to Basics In Teaching Math

9/6/06 Provo Daily Herald - Parent suggests Alpine district be responsive

8/28/06 Provo Daily Herald - Alpine readies to let schools choose curriculum for math (be sure to check out the comments section)

8/26/06 Provo Daily Herald - Charter schools attract parents concerned about public education

7/29/06 Deseret News - Burned-out teachers problematic

7/26/06 Deseret News - Most favor creation of small school districts

5/28/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine School District relents and will change its math offerings***

5/26/06 Deseret News - Alpine opts for choice in its math programs***

5/25/06 Provo Daily Herald - District Reviews Math Options***

5/23/06 - Provo Daily Herald -Orem OKs feasibility study of splitting from Alpine district

5/23/06-Deseret News - Orem not hastening into a schools split

5/23/06-Salt Lake Tribune Article-Orem to study Alpine District split

5/12/06 Provo Daily Herald - Math decision delayed

5/10/06 Provo Daily Herald - Petition Requests District Division

5/6/06 Deseret News - Utah to study states' math programs

4/16/06 Provo Daily Herald- Alpine District continues to lose students to charters

4/6/06 Provo Daily Herald- Charter school debate heats up in Alpine school district

3/20/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine in grip of 'Math Wars'

3/3/06 Provo Daily Herald-Professor: Clearer math standards needed

3/2/06 Deseret News- Math Petition Circulating

2/19/06 San Jose Mercury News - Math back in forefront, but debate lingers on how to teach it.

2/18/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Battle over math teaching spreads

2/15/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Indifference to math skills part of the problem

2/15/06 Deseret News-Parents voice their views on Alpine math

2/15/06 Provo Daily Herald-Provo district seeks math balance

2/9/06 Deseret News - Alpine trio defend approach to math
Rebuttal Letter to Editor: Math approach is harmful

2/7/06 Deseret News - Alpine defends math classes

2/2/06 Deseret News - Lawmaker Gives Alpine Math an F

1/29/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Charter School Funding Tight

1/20/06 Deseret News Letter to Editor: Rote exercises pay vital role in mathematical education

1/7/06 Provo Daily Herald - Investigations: Not your parent's math

12/18/05 Provo Daily Herald -Math doesn't add up for all

12/13/05  15 Charter Schools Scheduled to Open Next Year

11/24/05 Provo Daily Herald - Parents mad over new math curriculum (be sure to read the comments)



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