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Topic: New Math Report
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Fran Berry

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/3/04
New Math Report
Posted: Mar 9, 1998 8:35 PM
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>This press release is available online at the US Dept of Education
>The URL for the actual report appears below.
>Contact: Julie Green (202) 401-3026
>March 5, 1998
>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. 12th-graders 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 12th-grade 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
>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 high-level mathematical performance expectations are
>not appropriate for all students is often reflected in the
>instruction found in schools serving low-income communities. The
>report points to research-based 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, in-depth 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 5-8 have no more background in
>mathematics than teachers in grades K-4, 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 high-level 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
>- - - -
>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
>(202) 401-3389
>FIRS 1-800-877-8339, 8 a.m. -- 8 p.m., ET, M-F

Fran Berry, Co-Principal Investigator
CONNECT, Colorado's Statewide Systemic Initiative in Mathematics and Science
1580 Logan, Suite 740
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 894-2142
Fax: (303) 894-2141
CONNECT Home Page:

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