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Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Marie <mfield@stjosephconway.org>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006060610:26:16
Subject: Re: Parent review of accelrated math

On 2006052109:51:27, Jennifer wrote:
>	
>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.
>


AM is set up so 20% of the practice is a review of mastered
objectives. The teacher can change this setting. She can also change
the length of the practices. I would go back and look at your child's
practice sheets to figure out where the mistakes are made. My students
have to find their mistake before they turn it in to me. By analyzing
their work they are able to get a better understanding of the math
concepts. 

Go to www.renlearn.com and look at the data. It will show that AM has
a positive affect on math learning. AM is not meant to be used as the
sole math program. It is meant to provide the practice necessary to
master a skill. 

How much training have the teachers had in using AM? Find out more
before you decide that AM is not good for your child.

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