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Topic: Standards--readability and usefulness
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Ronald A Ward

Posts: 298
Registered: 12/4/04
Standards--readability and usefulness
Posted: Jul 14, 1995 8:29 PM
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In a number of recent posts, under various headings, the readability of
the NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards has been questioned.
Back before there was an Addenda series, I used to use the NCTM C&E
Standards as a resource in my graduate math education classes. What I
found was that, while students had the book in front of them, the sentences
read beautifully and everything sounded great. But when they got away
from the document, they really had difficulty explaining what was meant
by the things they had read--the ideas were hard to "hold onto." And
although there were some illustrations (and very good ones!), there was an
obvious need for many more. Back then, I spent a great deal of time
generating my own or pulling some from innovative curricula (such as the
Comprehensive School Mathematics Program).
I, for one, was delighted when the Addenda series was produced,
whatever its shortcomings may be [it has also been criticised on this
listserv]. I have used it extensively during academic years in school
district inservices and during both summer and Saturday workshops and
classes in my Eisenhower projects. I find that experienced elementary
school teachers relate very well to the illustrations therein. And
when they can suggest improvements, I am delighted--not disappointed!
But I still need the C&E document for reference, and I still use
some of the original illustrations it contained. [I wonder if some
subscribers to this listserv, in reading SUMMARIES of the Standards, do
not have access to the "Focus" and "Discussion" parts of the document.
The illustrations and examples some have been calling for are contained
in the Discussion sections.]
Although the C&E Standards may not read as fluently and
beautifully as, say, Everybody Counts, I think they are very well
written. As a former national-level college debater and debate coach, I
know something about reading carefully and analyzing critically. I think
this document holds up pretty well, even under intense scrutiny.

Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225

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