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Topic: DPS project helps math skills sprout
Replies: 3   Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 10:47 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: DPS project helps math skills sprout
Posted: Feb 1, 2013 9:55 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Responding to Jerry Becker's post dt. Feb 2, 2013 2:21 AM (his entire post is pasted below my signature for ready reference):

Fascinating, indeed!

And it is delightful to learn of this success.

I observe that the success is attributed to the following:
> In this class, teachers don't offer solutions to
> problems. Instead, they constantly question students
> to get them to think for themselves
> and explain their reasoning as part of their answer.

This appears to be a truly significant advance. I look forward to finding out more about it.

Alas, some who may have learned a couple of useful lessons from this success do not seem to be with us any more.

I do hope that this success will not be found out, later, to be based on spurious data or the like.


Jerry Becker posted Feb 2, 2013 2:21 AM:
> ********************************
> From The Detroit News, Thursday, January 3, 2013.
> . See
> 201301031115/SCHOOLS/301030371
> . Our thanks to Ann Garrett for bringing this piece
> to our attention.
> ********************************
> DPS project helps math skills sprout
> By Jennifer Chambers
> Detroit
> Look inside one Detroit elementary school classroom
> and see the
> unexpected: kids excited about math. It's a
> squirm-in-your-seat kind
> of enthusiasm with students eager to raise their
> hands, stand at the
> chalkboard and solve problems with each other as they
> tackle
> equations.
> Educators credit the sea change in attitude among
> youngsters to a
> 15-week intensive math program in Detroit Public
> Schools called
> Project SEED.
> In this class, teachers don't offer solutions to
> problems. Instead,
> they constantly question students to get them to
> think for themselves
> and explain their reasoning as part of their answer.
> Project SEED is a national nonprofit company that
> sends specially
> trained mathematicians into urban classrooms - places
> where students
> typically are several grade levels behind in math
> comprehension - to
> teach high-level math.
> In each lesson, a SEED math specialist asks students
> to analyze the
> problem, using the continual questioning of the
> Socratic style. The
> class is a 90-minute supplemental course, so the
> students are
> essentially getting a double dose of math every day.
> Keeping students engaged in class is a constant
> challenge for
> educators, especially in districts such as DPS, where
> funds and
> technology are limited.
> Yet in Diana Skinner's fourth-grade Project SEED
> class at Chrysler
> Elementary School, students are smiling ear to ear
> and appear ready
> to jump out of their seats as questions are posed
> about math.
> As student Trey Henry works out a math problem on the
> chalkboard,
> half of the students extend their arms above their
> heads, wildly
> waving their hands and fingers and smiling. Another
> group rotates
> fists in a circle to communicate disagreement, using
> silent hand
> signals that are the kids' way of helping each other
> solve math
> problems.
> Teachers say most students feel comfortable in the
> SEED atmosphere,
> and hand signals are a safe way for shy students to
> get involved
> without speaking.
> Principal Wendy Shirley said Project SEED is
> successful at her school
> because students are engaged. "You see a reduction in
> discipline
> problems. None of them are afraid to raise their
> hand. You see that
> level of confidence," she said.
> Daniel J. Mulligan, Detroit director of Project SEED,
> said a video
> study by an international math organization examined
> classroom
> teaching practices. It found that in math, improved
> learning was
> consistently linked to allowing students to struggle.
> "Too often, teachers feel compelled to give students
> the answer, as
> opposed to the Project SEED pedagogical practice of
> letting the
> students figure it out for themselves and then
> explaining how they
> arrived at their conclusions," Mulligan said.
> The extra support is needed.
> According to the Education Dashboard kept by the
> Michigan Department
> of Education, 8.9 percent of Detroit Public Schools
> students in
> grades 3-8 are proficient in math.
> A global study released last month revealed American
> fourth-graders
> are performing better than they were four years ago
> in math and
> reading, but students who are four years older show
> no such progress.
> Although the United States remains in the top dozen
> or so countries
> in all subjects tested, the gap between the United
> States and the
> top-performing nations is much wider at the
> eighth-grade level,
> especially in math, said Jack Buckley, commissioner
> of the National
> Center for Education Statistics, which coordinated
> the U.S. portion
> of the international exam.
> The study showed that by eighth grade, American
> students have fallen
> behind their Russian, Japanese and Taiwanese
> counterparts in math and
> trail students from Hong Kong, Slovenia and South
> Korea in science.
> Project SEED began in 1963 in Berkeley, Calif., and
> came to Michigan
> in 1970 as a statewide program.
> It has been working in DPS since the mid-1980s,
> reaching about 10
> percent of its target audience each year.
> Mulligan said independent evaluations in Detroit have
> shown a
> positive impact of Project SEED instruction on
> Michigan Educational
> Assessment Program test scores.
> In a one-year study of the program, nearly 90 percent
> of SEED
> students passed the mathematics part of the MEAP,
> while 79.2 percent
> of the comparison group passed, Mulligan said.
> Quicken Loans Inc., the Detroit-based online mortgage
> company that
> has a business partnership with DPS, paid for the
> class. The
> company's $13,900 donation covers the cost of the
> class as well as
> professional development for teachers and a parent
> workshop.
> Project SEED expects to have its contract with DPS
> approved this
> month, and plans to provide services to 35-40
> district schools,
> Mulligan said.
> ----------------------------------------------
> PHOTO SIDEBAR: Diana Skinner teaches a fourth-grade
> Project SEED
> class at Chrysler Elementary School. The project
> sends specially
> trained mathematicians into urban classrooms to teach
> high-level
> math. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
> ----------------------------------------------
> --- (313) 222-2269
> ----------------------------------------------
> Associated Press contributed.
> **************************************************
> --
> Jerry P. Becker
> Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
> Southern Illinois University
> 625 Wham Drive
> Mail Code 4610
> Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
> Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
> (618) 457-8903 [H]
> Fax: (618) 453-4244
> E-mail:

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