Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Jennifer

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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