
Re: Algebra 1  How is it going?
Posted:
Oct 27, 2013 1:00 PM



First, I am retired, so I am not "immersed" in the Core Curriculum. From everything I've read and heard I am advising parents of students in Math 5, Math 6, Math 7, Math 8 and Algebra I to get tutors for their children if they have had any difficulty in math last year. The amount of material and the new approach will cause so much stress among weaker students, that I'm afraid they will not graduate.
Eleanore Vollweiler Retired Math Teacher George Junior Republic Union Free School District
Original Message From: Nick B <nbiancul@ic.sunysb.edu> To: nyshsmath <nyshsmath@mathforum.org> Sent: Sun, Oct 27, 2013 11:28 am Subject: Re: Algebra 1  How is it going?
This thread is specifically about Algebra 1. Are there any teachers who feel positively about the Algebra 1 modules or curriculum? I have read very few or no posts that have alluded to victories in Algebra 1, with possibly the exception of the graphing story topics. I personally have seen students become frustrated and alienated by this curriculum. I would love to hear from teachers who have a positive view of how their classes have gone this year. These teachers should share what they have thought the positives have been and share their implementation strategies.
One of the core issues here (no pun intended) is that the algebra 1 curriculum has too many topics. The writers of the modules, wellintentioned, had to contend with a curriculum that moves forward assuming mastery of past grades because that's the only way to fit in all of the topics that are covered in this course. The modules sacrificed practice and flow in favor of coverage and modeling, violating the shifts of coherence, deep understanding, and dual intensity. Could anyone really describe the theme of Algebra 1 module 1 in one sentence? Two sentences? A paragraph?
Unless you are teaching the Algebra 1 course or are carefully monitoring the situation, this can be perceived as whining or shirking the hard work that needs to be done. However, I can assure you that teachers are working as hard as they can, but are feeling (rightly so) intense frustration.
My middle school colleagues report that the number and complexity of the standards in their grades are much more manageable. And 6570% of the students in those courses still scored 1 or 2 on the state assessments. I shudder to think what the Regents will show in June.
I support the promise of the Common Core. It's unfortunate that the promise of the Common Core will be obfuscated by faulty and visionless implementation, namely:
1. No trial or grace period to see how the standards will work in classrooms. 2. Standardized tests that teachers will have little knowledge of before the test is given. 3. (This is specific to Algebra 1) The assumption that students will be ready for ninth grade Common Core Algebra 1 coming from just one year of indoctrination in Common Core. 3. Standards that can be interpreted in many ways and taught at many different levels of depth. 4. Modules that need to be edited due to errors and feedback from the field. 5. The conflation of student assessment, teacher assessment, and a changing curriculum; it will be extremely difficult looking back after 5 years or so to decide which reforms are working and which aren't. 6. Lack of true leadership in the field regarding what to teach and at what depth to teach it, due to standards that do not specify this. 7. No contingency for students with disabilities or students coming to us with abilities several grades below their chronological age. 8. Lack of truly Common Core Aligned resources (most textbooks are old texts with a Common Core sticker appended to the front.)
All of these concerns should have been either solved or made clear that they would be solved before the rollout of the CC with highstakes testing. It's a shame that a reform with ideals many teachers support would be implemented in such a terrible way that puts the reform movement at grave risk of being rejected by teachers, administrators, parents and, most of all, students.
Take away the highstakes testing for a few years and replace it with informational testing so that teachers and students alike can use the assessments for learning, as opposed as assessments of learning. Create alternate forms of assessment for students who are underassessed by paperandpencil tests. Address the concerns above before implementation, rather than "building the airplane as we're flying it". Then the Common Core will see its full potential. ******************************************************************* * To unsubscribe from this mailing list, email the message * "unsubscribe nyshsmath" to majordomo@mathforum.org * * Read prior posts and download attachments from the web archives at * http://mathforum.org/kb/forum.jspa?forumID=671 *******************************************************************

