Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secondary Curriculum Advances @ NCTM

While elementary school math remains in a quiet turmoil; approaches to high school curriculum are fairly stable.

"Research-based" Curriculum

The Collegeboard has fully released it's pre-AP English/Math curriculum named Springboard.  This is researched-based in a different way.  It tries to embed not just the math knowledge, but also the communication knowledge that colleges expect students to have.  By the time a student starts AP, he or she may not have enough time to develop appropriate academic skills for college.  Springboard appears to be considered a hard curriculum that allows a greater chance of college success.  It starts in sixth grade and offers either Algebra 1 or "Middle School 3" in eighth grade.

IMHO, Springboard should be carefully examined.  Even if there would remain the need to continue using the current texts for students who cannot keep up even with interventions.  The effort to use just one text for math courses, while making "Williams" easier, is misguided from an instructional perspective.  One size does not fit all.  ACT provides a test-based approach to rigorous content called QualityCore that covers more areas and works with current texts.

Furthermore, the Kucera Sequence for eighth graders passing Geometry should be strongly considered:
  • Accelerated Algebra 2 + Trig in ninth grade
  • AP Stats in tenth
  • Accelerated Pre-Calc, followed by Calculus A in eleventh
  • Calculus BC in twelfth.
Algebra Readiness

UCLA has split its coherent Introduction to Algebra program into packets called Math Links.  This helps schools, who don't teach the course for the full year, focus on specific needs in short times.

Its-About-Time offers Aim for Algebra which competes with the coherent Introduction to Algebra.  I thought it was better, but the teacher delivery quality to students matters far more.

The Mind Research Institute now offers the software for its Blueprint for Algebra separately.  The complete Blueprint program takes about 1 1/2 years to complete - not good.  It's possible that the software alone may help enough as a supplement to an eighth grade math course.

High School Preparation for Algebra 1 is a unique ALEKS program.  ALEKS suggests that after an assessment at the start of Algebra 1, students who score of 7% or less should be pulled into this program for 6 weeks approximately, 1 hour per day to catch up.  This is very rapid.

10th Grade CAHSEE Prep Approaches

Since CAHSEE results strongly affect 10th grade API, it would be wise to offer a deliberate, year-long, not short term preparation approach.  Revolution Prep offers a solution online for Math and English; in addition to its Algebra Readiness software.  This software could be combined with a tenth grade Business Math course.


Texas A&M has an online Statistics program for Teachers to prepare them for AP. Best if visiting A&M.

The second edition of Statistics through Applications is now available.

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