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Topic: Every Child Math. Proficient
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Every Child Math. Proficient
Posted: Feb 10, 1999 9:00 PM
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[Attached below is the announcement of a new report and action
plan from the Learning First Alliance. The full report is available
online, or in hard copy ... this info courtesy of Pete Donahoe.]


The Learning First Alliance
Washington, DC

U.S. student scores in the math section of the National Assessment
of Education Progress (NAEP) have increased since 1990, but American
students continue to be outperformed by their counterparts from
other countries. The Learning First Alliance, a consortium of 12
national education association, uses this information as a platform
to design an action plan for improving the math skills of all U.S.

"Every Child Mathematically Proficient: An Action Plan" summarizes
the need for change in K-12 math instruction and provides
recommendations for reforming math programs in key areas, including
curriculum, professional development, parent involvement and tapping
research-based reforms.

A key goal for the Alliance is "for virtually all students to
successfully complete a challenging K-12 mathematics curriculum that
includes mastery of the content included in the two one-year Algebra
I and Geometry courses by the end of grade nine." The Alliance
decided to focus on algebra and geometry because these courses are
"powerful gatekeepers" for entry to post-secondary education studies
and key jobs.

"Every Child Mathematically Proficient" argues that upgrading middle
school math is not "simply to require students to take a standard
high school algebra course in seventh or eighth grade." Instead, the
entire K-9 curriculum must be revamped to allow for a coherent
transition from grade-school math to upper level math.

Professional development opportunities must be aligned with
curriculum changes and new assessments, according to the report. The
report argues that current in-service professional development
programs in math fall far short of addressing inadequacies in the
math training of pre-service teacher candidates. Appropriate
professional development should occur over time, with teachers able
to view effective teaching strategies, have time to practice these
strategies and learn new mathematics "that will support their
teaching practice," writes the report. Other recommendations
regarding professional development include:

* Create a closer link between professional development
programs and research in the teaching and learning of math in
the middle grades;

* Enforce teacher licensure and certification requirements in
school setting to recognize specialist teachers and to ensure
that students have access to fully qualified teachers of math
at all levels;

* Explore incentives to attract qualified individuals to
math teaching.

The report also calls for continuing research in the field of
teaching math and the application of solid research in the
classroom. To make this happen, teachers should be included in all
facets of research and the research should be translated into
"strategies to improve the effectiveness of various instructional
approaches, commercial and project materials, and the use of
technology to foster student achievement and increase rates of
student retention in school math programs."

"Every Child Mathematically Proficient" underscores the need for
parental and public awareness and support for a challenging math
program to benefit all children.

The report is available at (see Publications),
or from the National Education Association Professional Library at
800/229-4299 for a cost of $3.00. For more information about the
Learning First Alliance, contact them at 1001 Connecticut Avenue,
NW, Suite 335, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 296-5220, fax (202) 296-

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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