Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Dwight Blubaugh

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005040601:09:32
Subject: Re: Huge growth in scores with AM

PILOTING AM I started piloting Accelerated Math in my classroom partway through last school year, after a long, drawn-out fight to purchase it at no cost to the district (using profits from our student-run school store, which I supervise - the students voted to purchase the AM program and the STAR Math testing program). Getting the program started a quarter of the way through the year, and only having one advanced (but not terribly motivated) student using it most of the year (a few others "dabbled" with it late in the year in addition to the regular curriculum), I didn't see all that great of results. Therefore, this year turned into our real "pilot" year for it. I have had three fourth graders using the program this year as their main curriculum (and again, several others dabbling). Two of the three had me last year for fourth grade math (out of the text), as third graders, so they started on the fifth grade library at the beginning of this year - they both recently completed the fifth and started the sixth grade library. A third student started with the rest of the class out of the text, but worked so hard on the fourth grade AM library after school (I let students stay after 1-2 nights a week to work on it), as extra homework, and when done with other classwork, that I took her out of the text at semester time and put her just into AM. She recently finished the fourth grade library and started on the fifth. THE SCORES / GROWTH Each marking period, all of our fourth graders in three classrooms have taken the STAR Math test (produced by the same company as AM), which gives grade level equivalency. At the end of our third marking period, we gave the STAR again, and I compared scores. Of those students not working on AM, the highest score a student attained was 8-point-something (not in my classroom), with a couple at 7-point-something, and the vast majority at 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade level - 4.7 would have been the expected average this time of the year. However, my three students who have worked on AM scored much higher. The LOWEST of the three STAR scores was 10.5, up from 5.7 in the fall (6.3 the previous spring). The student who started on grade level last fall scored 11.4, up from 4.7 in the fall (4.1 the previous spring). And the last student scored 12.9+ (maxed out the test!), up from 4.2 last fall (6.0 the previous spring). Even taking into account that two of these students were already one grade level ahead of the rest of their classmates as far as coverage of curriculum, the growth of the students working on AM has been amazing! And the fact that all three of them were consistent in these huge gains seems just too coincidental to BE coincidental. REASONS I am thoroughly convinced that Accelerated Math can do things for students in math that are almost impossible to accomplish otherwise. The instant feedback and the emphasis on mastery ensure that students do not just coast through the program without truly learning the material. While the teacher (or someone) still has to do much of the teaching, students can be much more independent much of the time, and can cruise quickly through objectives that come easily to them. I have never made it through the end of the math book with any of my classes - I'm lucky to get past the halfway point with some of them. But with AM, motivated students can master EVERY SINGLE objective for the grade level library they work through, eliminating the gaps I see in the math skills of most of my students. Dwight Blubaugh dblubaugh@erps.k12.mi.us Northwestern Elem. Eaton Rapids, MI

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