Investigations Math Section
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There Goes the Neighborhood
(AKA "Track Two")
Where Have All The Prophets Gone?
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Connected Math (CMP) and Interactive Math (IMP)
Sign the Petition
to rid us of Investigations Math & Associated Programs
Some of you are wondering about the other programs being used in Alpine School District that come after the Investigations Program. Some have heard positive statements by teachers about these programs and may be under the impression that they are OK programs to use in teaching our kids. Let me begin by saying, it's more of the same, just at a higher level so the kids are still under a "constructivist" program where they construct their own strategies on math. CMP and IMP may be "better" programs than Investigations Math because there's more substance to the math being covered, but that doesn't mean it's the "best" program that our children could have. Below are some excellent articles on these programs where I'll put links and quotes from the articles.
From the Connected Math website:
"Connected Mathematics was developed with the belief that calculators should always be available to students, and that students should know when and how to use them."
A Review of Connected Math by Lappan, Fey, Fitzgerald, Friel and Phillips
Overall Evaluation: F, "This rating is perhaps deceivingly high, as 7 of the 11 topics rate no higher than 1.2. The rating is as high as it is based largely on two high subscores, proportions and graphing. It is impossible to recommend a book with as little content as this and an inefficient, if philosophically attractive, instructional method."
Disconnecting Schoolchildren from 'Connected' Math
Mathematician William G. Quirk, Ph.D., whose career has included teaching 26 different math and computer science courses at three different universities, noted in 1997 that "nowhere in the NCTMs 258 pages of standards do they suggest that kids should remember any specific math facts." Dr. Quirk warned that calculator skills, "pushed by the NCTM" and emphasized in "whole math" classes, "shouldn't be substituted for mastery of the traditional skills of arithmetic."
...The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) lists six warning signs to parents that their children are enrolled in "standards"-based or fuzzy math programs. These include when students
- (1) direct their own learning
- (2) work in groups to teach one another
- (3) construct their own math language, facts, and computations
- (4) are not required to memorize facts or formulas
- (5) use calculators as the primary form of computation
- (6) are taught that correct solutions are not important
An Evaluation of CMP by Dr. James Milgram, Stanford, PhD, Math Department
Page 1 of 22: “If one visits the web site of the program (Connected Math), http://www.math.msu.edu/cmp/Index.html, one finds two preprints, presumably using rigorous methodology and statistical analysis, that are advertised as showing the benefits of CMP. Unfortunately, as we see in the appendix to this report, both studies are fatally flawed and deceptively presented. Additionally, at the website one will find a strong endorsement of the program by the AAAC. They grade it as one of the most effective programs for teaching middle school mathematics Unfortunately, this too must be taken with a grain of salt, as is also discussed in the appendix. In fact, it is generally acknowledged that there are no reputable studies showing that any of the NSF developed mathematics programs actually benefit students in testable ways.
Leaving aside these issues, we turn to the program itself.”
Page 2 of 22: “Overall, the program seems to be very incomplete, and I would judge that it is aimed at underachieving students rather than normal or higher achieving students. In itself this is not a problem unless, as is the case, the program is advertised as being designed for all students. In fact, as indicated, there is no reputable research at all which supports this.”
Testimony of Susan Sarhady to U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Welfare
"...I am going to tell you OUR story. It is the story of the undertaking of a pilot and eventual adoption of Connected Math in the middle schools in our community. It is the story of my friend Sally who ran to the store late one night to pick up a bag of marshmallows for her son’s math homework. They had to be tossed in the air to see whether they landed on their ends or on their sides. When her boys took an entrance exam for a private school, the youngest, in his first year of Connected Math, qualified; but the oldest, in his third year of Connected Math, didn’t because of his lack of Algebra skills. It is the story of Melinda whose gifted son has never scored below a 90 on any portion of the ITBS, who during his second year in Connected Math scored a 74 on math computation. It is the story of my neighbor Jill, who spoke with me in exasperation about her son’s poster for his first math unit project called the Special Number project. The assignment reads, "Many people have a number they find interesting. Choose a whole number between 10 and 100 that you especially like. In your journal, record your number, explain why you chose that number, list 3 or 4 mathematical things about your number, list three or four connections you can make between your number and your world." Mind you, this is a six-week project for 6th graders. It is the story of my friend Kathy who bought a supplemental textbook and sits at the kitchen table just about every night making her son do a half-hour of additional math to make sure he isn’t missing anything. She told me, "We sit here at the table, doing all this extra work, day in and day out, and when they report those terrific TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) scores, it will be Connected Math that gets the credit --- not me. And it just makes me crazy!" There are too many stories to tell here and let me emphasize that they come from all over the country. Bess in Mankato, MN and Rhonda in Chattanooga, TN and Linda in Traverse City, MI and Marilyn in Chicago, and Betty in Okemos, MI and John in Silver Springs, MD and others who have written me these letters. I would like to ask that these be added to the official record.
...Millions of dollars have been spent to design math programs that align with the NCTM standards, millions more are spent by the Statewide Systemic Initiatives to "reform science and mathematics education for all of its students by reforming curriculum and assessment through changes in teacher development."(24) Then, even more is spent to issue a report saying the end product of the millions spent is exemplary. But, the effect of all of this on student achievement is a hotly debated topic. And, most importantly in my humble opinion, parents have been left out of the whole process.
You asked "what role the federal government should play in improving mathematics instruction in our schools." I would ask that much stricter controls be put into place to prevent schools from using untested programs without informed consent from the parents and students. Some of us have the fortitude to take on our local school districts, but we cannot take on the federal government as well. True local control must include from the outset, not just administrators, but parents as well. At the very least, the federal government should first do no harm."
Connected Math Disconnects Parents
"Connected Math is part of a nationwide fad sometimes called "Fuzzy Math," "Whole Math," or "New New Math." The approach relies on group work, calculators and "discovery learning" (read: teaching yourself). The text has been criticized by independent groups, such as California’s Mathematically Correct, and has been adopted by fewer than 4% of districts statewide. Connected Math’s increased calculator use is additionally troubling in light of SB103, recently signed into law by Gov. Bush, which prohibits calculator use on the TAAS.
...Maybe it’s time Plano ISD stopped fighting parents with their own tax dollars, and started listening to them."
Review of Interactive Math Program by Douglas A. Riepe (profile of author at end of article)
"Conclusions and Recommendations:
1) The expert panel that granted the “exemplary” rating to IMP and other
programs had the appearance of conflict of interest as well as other issues.
While the “exemplary” rating is an historical fact, it is of little value.
2) IMP is a program designed to retain the attention of students who will either
not attend college or will major in non math fields. It lacks the depth of study
for students who will study math in college. It is not a college prep math
3) SAT scores from high schools in California that use and are “satisfied” with
IMP are lower than the California state average.
4) Some college professors do not allow the use of calculators and college
professors in general warn of reliance on calculators being a handicap for
students. Some KSU freshman calculus coordinators do not allow the use of
calculators on calculus tests.
5) USD-268 should contract with Garden Plain or Norwich to provide college
prep math because IMP is not a college prep math program.
The experience of those in California was that IMP was unable to provide the basic skills
needed in chemistry and physics classes. It would appear that the concerned parent
would also have to tutor the physical sciences as well as math to compensate for the effects of IMP."
The California Math Wars
"East Bakersfield High School...has been an
IMP school since 1991, one of the first
to pilot the curriculum, while rival Bakersfield
High has been able to resist the
subtle pressure to move to IMP...
...The student performance
numbers are so different between the
two schools that it is surprising that
the school board has not chosen to intervene
on behalf of unknowing students
at East Bakersfield.
At the top end mathematically, East
Bakersfield had only 2 students
who took the AP Calculus exam
last year and only 1 who passed,
with a score of 3, the minimum
passing grade. By contrast, Bakersfield
High had 29 students [who
took the exams], of whom 25
passed, 18 with a score of 4 or better.
At the top end overall, over the
last five years Bakersfield High has
had 32% of the National Merit
Scholar semifinalists of Kern
County with only 9% of the
county’s student population.
Still looking at the academically
better-prepared students, the percent
of the seniors at East Bakersfield
taking the SAT has dropped
from 30% to 23% from 1992 to
1996, while Bakersfield High has
risen a couple of points to 40% and still manages to maintain a 37-
point lead in the mathematics average over East Bakersfield, to rank in the top third of all high schools in California versus the bottom third for East Bakersfield.
IMP Woes in Oregon
- A student with four years of IMP math graduated with honors and a 4 point plus GPA. She applied for classes at a community college and could not pass the entrance requirements for basic freshman math. Her father was outraged saying his daughter was now in the "bonehead" math class. He wants some answers from the high school as to why his daughter is being remediated after four years of "college prep" IMP math.
- A 10th grade honor (4.0 GPA & IMP math) student informed her parents that she would not return to her high school for another two years of OBE, saying she would leave home first. The parents made arrangements for the student to attend a school in a neighboring school district, allowing the daughter to move to another town twenty miles away so she could meet the entrance requirements. Based on her GPA and transcripts, she was admitted to all "Honors" classes in the school. After just two weeks, the teachers notified parents that the student could not do the work and requested permission to have her tested. The parents opted to take her to an independent testing center for evaluation. She could perform only some math functions at 2nd grade level and the overall results placed her mathematically at grade level seven. This is after two full years of IMP and straight A's. The parents are paying to have the student remediated in math, history, English grammar and other subjects so she can graduate with her class this year.
- A student with three years IMP math registered for senior physics. The student and parents were told that he would be better off taking a fourth year of IMP. The student was adamant, he didn't want another year of IMP. The school counselor told them that IMP did not prepare him for physics -- it did not lay the proper foundation.
A few of the problems in Alpine School District are:
- Pleas of parents are ignored
- Our board and district "educators" ignore all the evidence of the failures of these programs
- Teachers are in fear of being fired for wanting to teach traditional math (I personally know people that have been let go after years of service to the district and others that live in fear that when they teach how to do a math problem that goes against the Investigations math program they will be fired.)
- Parents are teaching their kids at home and the school district takes credit for how well the students appear to do.
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