Date: Sep 24, 2012 1:11 AM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: IMP and Berkeley High

In a recent Dy/Dan post (that Richard pointed us to)...

http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=14945

blaw0013 posted...

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I believe this conversation is confused somewhat by our inadequate language; we are failing to distinguish between the narrow (and outdated / dead) symbolic manipulation component of Algebra, and the broader Algebraic Thinking?something I conjecture is actually shut down by most ALL pedagogical practices in the modern high school classroom.
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Outdated and dead? That naturally piqued my interest. Algebra has outgrown the need for algebra? After a trivial amount of research, the poster turns out to be Brian Lawler, a consultant to and fan of IMP (one of those doomed math programs given the seal of approval by the Dept of Education back in the 90's). I am still looking through the IMP material as to its pedagogy but it appears to be favored in remedial situations. Which brings me to Berkeley High.

It seems that Berkeley High is divided into 4 parts and one of those parts, known formerly as Community Partnerships Academy raved about IMP in the following presentation...

http://2010.ccpc-conference.net/sites/default/files/presentationfiles/IMPPresentation.pdf

they made many claims of success, like the number of students completing 3 years of math and the number of students completing AP calculus, but no stats on the number of students actually passing the AP calculus exam. In fact, the presentation goes on to say that the standardized algebra tests are of no use for an IMP student, which would explain the lack of any backup in the STAR test system to their claims of success (I looked). And finally, it seems that this academy has completely switched gears, renaming itself the "Academy of Medicine and Public Service" ...

http://bhs.berkeleyschools.net/communities/academy-of-medicine-and-public-serivce/amps-curriculum/

While they still offer IMP they seem to have dropped the pretense that this is a pathway to a college career in higher mathematics. If you look at the other academies, one does offer such a path, with traditional subjects like Algebra and Geometry and an IB program. I am not ridiculing the new AMPS academy, they seem to have adopted a more realistic approach. I know it is wishful thinking to expect a lot of this refactoring to take place in public education but as I have said in the past, I think the perfect economic storm regarding tuition is upon us and schools will have no choice.

Bob Hansen

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