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Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Jennifer <jlcorpus@sbcglobal.net>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006052108:51:27
Subject: Parent review of accelrated math

	
I am writing to share our experience with accelerated math.  

Background:
My child is in 2nd grade and scored in the 100 percentile across the
board in all 8-10 subject areas (with exception of one of the reading
ones- she got an 95%) in the state aptitude testing.  She scored at
129 in an IQ type test. She gets straight As and has been selected for
the gifted program that starts in 3rd grade. 

My concern with AM: there is not enough repetition. She is currently
completing 2nd grade curriculum in AM as they do not accelerate kids
formally until they start the 3rd grade. She average 96% for the test
scores.  She averages 78% for the review.

What does this low review score reflect? Is it a lack of ability in
math?  I would argue no- given her aptitude scoring and her IQ. 
I argue that this score reflects that once an objective is introduced-
if a child scores well, they do not practice the same objective again
for God knows how long??? No more questions are asked on the objective
except maybe 1-3 questions on the test that follows.  I have seen
objectives introduced and then not touched upon again for 6 weeks. 
Then- out of the blue, they are slipped into a test as review
material.  

I would argue that she does understand the concept- otherwise she
would not be scoring so well with mastery of math in her aptitude
testing.  It would seem that perhaps they need to have kids repeat
work involving the "objective" at least 2-3 days within the same week
it is introduced.  For advanced students/ gifted learners, they could
just include a small number of problems.  Without this feature,  I
view the program as an exposure to math that does not allow the child
to be able to immediately recall how to solve a certain type of
problem because they have practiced it sufficiently to allow
instantaneous recognition. 

Having taken higher mathmatics and science classes in colleges, I have
to say that extremely fast manipulation of mathmatic formulas is a
requirement to finishing the tests and answering all the problems.  I
do not believe that kids who are introduced to a concept and only
taught one day on the concept will achieve the speed required in
higher mathematics to succeed. 

I make the general conclusion form the facts involved in my daughter's
situation, that there is something wrong with the program because her
aptitude testing clearly show a mastery of 2nd grade math curriculum,
but there is a discrepancy between her ability and how she is
performing in accelerated math.  I think that AM will have even worse
long term effects for those students who are not as bright.  They will
show false high scores on exams because they can figure out some
problems because they have been exposed to them.  The problem is that
they have not truly mastered them. 

The program is experimental and I would prefer that my daughter's
future not be adversely affected because of the experiment. 
Unfortunately,  they will be using the AM solely in the gifted class
next year.  I am considering pulling her from the program because I
want to make sure she masters skills the first time they are presented
and not merely be exposed to them for 1 day.

- From a parent convinced that the AM prgram will have long term
adverse affects on our children's math skills.

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