Monday, December 29, 2008

The Key Results of the NMAP Report.

The tables and what readers infer from them in the National Math Advisory Panel Report are what truly matters.

A streamlined curriculum means that mandated topics need not be 100% of a math course. This is the great unwritten benefit of the report. Without stating it, NMAP agrees with the Core Knowledge, CK, method of using a core curriculum: the core hovers around 50% of a course in a CK classroom. The actual percent of time spent on streamlined curriculum will depend on students and their groups, which is a difficult issue to address in print. This allows enrichment and remediation to occur in real-time, while staying on an acknowledged, understood national path.

The Benchmark Table is what regulates math instruction. The table implies that mastery learning be implemented within a streamlined curriculum and its assessment. It's about learning, not teaching!

The School Algebra Table, California Algebra 2 without conics, adjusts the pathways of the high school math curriculum, striking a balance between rigor and realism. Algebra 2 is absolutely necessary, but High School Geometry, isn't! Knowing how to determine the measures of inscribed angles isn't really vital. Yes, A1-G-A2 may be the standard and wonderful, but A1-A2 works.

All of the comments and responses on research methods, etc. are embarrassing. They really are beside the point. Words on research-based are merely buzz or rants of the chattering class, but a reasonable, streamlined curriculum that demands mastery learning - now that's something special. Are there any comments that the tables of the NMAP Report are unreasonable or a poor starting point? No. In short, opponents of the report, need to ask themselves: are we bricks in the wall? (with thanks to Pink Floyd)

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