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New Math Report
Posted:
Mar 9, 1998 8:35 PM


>This press release is available online at the US Dept of Education >at http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/031998/mathreport.html >The URL for the actual report appears below. > >FOR RELEASE >Contact: Julie Green (202) 4013026 > >March 5, 1998 > >REPORT RECOMMENDS STEPS TO IMPROVE MATH PERFORMANCE > >First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today released a new report, >prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, which examines ways >to help U.S. students do better in mathematics. > >The report, "Improving Mathematics in Middle School: Lessons from >TIMSS and Related Research," responds to the recently released >Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which >found that U.S. 12thgraders outperformed their counterparts in >math and science in only two of the 21 participating countries. > >Earlier TIMSS reports found that U.S. students performed relatively >well at 4th grade  above the international average in both >mathematics and science, and second only to Korea in science  but >by 8th grade, U.S. students were only slightly above the >international average in science and below the international >average in mathematics. > >"The TIMSS results are unacceptable and confirm the need to raise >academic standards across America," U.S. Secretary of Education >Richard W. Riley said when the 12thgrade study was issued. The >analysis released today recognizes the need to build a firm >foundation in math and science for our students in the middle >school years and its recommendations will help educators find ways >to do so." > >The new report, written by University of Pittsburgh professor of >mathematics education and cognitive studies Edward A. Silver, calls >for three steps to get American students on track in the middle >school years for better mathematics and science performance in the >future. > >The report calls for: > >1) A serious national commitment to improve mathematics learning by >ALL students. The report cites a common attitude in America that >most people "are just not good in math" and that only a few have >the ability to be successful. Additionally, the report notes the >belief that highlevel mathematical performance expectations are >not appropriate for all students is often reflected in the >instruction found in schools serving lowincome communities. The >report points to researchbased examples that demonstrate that many >more students can learn rigorous mathematics. > >2) A more ambitious mathematics curriculum with enhanced classroom >instruction. The TIMSS findings suggest a need for states and >school districts to examine their math curriculum to see if it is >sufficiently challenging. Noting that the U.S. middle school >mathematics curriculum is excessively repetitive and undemanding >compared to those of other nations, the report calls for inclusion >of geometry, measurement, proportionality and algebra in the middle >grades. Equally important, the report calls for mathematics >instruction to include the careful, indepth development of a small >number of mathematical ideas which engage students in "an >appropriate mix of important mathematic topics." This approach >contrasts with the most common form of math education in the U.S., >which TIMSS characterizes as "a mile wide and an inch deep." > >3) A greater investment in teacher professional development and >capacity building. As TIMSS shows, there is a need for higher >standards for all students and more rigorous and focused >curriculum. The report stresses that meeting these goals requires >that teachers be prepared to handle more complex math teaching. >However, most teachers in grades 58 have no more background in >mathematics than teachers in grades K4, yet they are expected to >teach more challenging and complex mathematics. TIMSS found that >U.S. teachers are less likely to help students understand the >concepts behind mathematical formulas or require students to engage >in highlevel mathematical thought such as reasoning and solving >complex problems. And many teachers have limited experience with >teaching more ambitious curricula, helping students deal with >complex mathematical tasks or learning complex math themselves. >The reports calls for "increased attention to building the capacity >of teachers" to improve their math teaching and suggests such >specific support as summer educational opportunities, teacher >networks, and linking professional development closely to rigorous >curriculum materials. > >The First Lady referred to the new report today at Washington, >D.C.'s Dunbar Senior High School, where she was joined by NASA >Shuttle Commander Lt. Col. Eileen Collins and actor Tom Hanks in a >discussion with students about space and science. > >The new report is available on the Internet at >http://www.ed.gov/inits.html#2. > >    > >If you have limited or no easy access to the world wide web, copies of this >report on Middle Grades Mathematics released last week can also be >requested from: > >U.S. Department of Education >Office of the Deputy Secretary >Room 6251, FB10B >Washington, DC 20202 >Email: judy_wurtzel@ed.gov >(202) 4013389 >FIRS 18008778339, 8 a.m.  8 p.m., ET, MF >
*************************************************************************** Fran Berry, CoPrincipal Investigator CONNECT, Colorado's Statewide Systemic Initiative in Mathematics and Science 1580 Logan, Suite 740 Denver, CO 80203 Phone: (303) 8942142 Fax: (303) 8942141 email: fberry@connect.colorado.edu CONNECT Home Page: http://connect.colorado.edu/connect ***************************************************************************



