Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Patrick McMartin

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003071201:36:29
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: accelerated math program

I apologize for not responding earlier to your comments. You have addressed some important concerns regarding accmath. Communication with this program is imperative for it to work correctly. In all fairness to the instructor, if the teacher is new to the program it takes a while to learn the in and outs of how to manage the program correctly. One of the greatest aspects of the program, when run correctly, is the responsibility it places on the student. Teachers, students, and parents become very accountable for their performance. The teacher is informed of all aspects of the students performance. The teacher is then able to communicate successes and failures with the student and parents on a regular basis. Communication is done by generating student and parent reports that are sent home. I inform my parents of the in-and-outs of the program at an open house at the beginning of the year, as well as, letters explaining the program. You have a misconception that the program is done on a computer. The student's work is only graded on the computer by scanning bubble sheets. The child's work is done by paper and pencil, then answers are bubbled on the bubble sheet. This bubble sheet is then scanned, and the TOPS report is generated by the printer. This TOPS reports is used to conference with the student and sent home for the parents. If at that time you have any concerns you should contact the teacher immediately. Accmath is very demanding on the instructor and parents, and we need to work together to fill those gaps when we miscommunicate. Go to the teacher as much as you need to to stay informed. I tell my parents to expect 2 to 10 TOPS reports a week, depending on how often the student scans their work. In a school year, my students that struggle master approximately 40 - 60 mastered objectives. The most advanced students will master over 200. This program allows students that are applying themselves to work at their own pace. If the student is not applying themselves, both you and the teacher will know. Again, communication is the key to success. Set a time to work with the teacher to explain what is expected of both you and the child in regards to using accmath. Find out if your child has set goals, and how hard they are working toward those goals. Make sure the goals are attainable, and reward your child for their accomplishments. Remember the grade is only one aspect of success. Attaining a goal, working hard towards that goal, feeling proud of your accomplishments - loving math, and (no. one in my book)mastering as many objectives as you can in a year is all part of a successful math student. I had a child that averaged an A on their work, but only mastered 90 objectives in a year. I also had a child master 180 objectives, but averaged a high C low B. Which student do you think was more successful? The A student did not apply themself therefore fewer objectives mastered. The C student kept running into walls, struggled with objectives, but mastered them with determination. The C student also did 800 more problems and was very proud of the accomplishment. Another misconception is that the students teach themselves. The teacher should teach using researched based methods. They should use manipulatives, the internet, text, education/entertainment computer programs, whole group instruction, small group instruction, peer instruction, one on one, song, movement, and any other method to get their point accross. Once these lessons are taught, then use accmath to access understanding, communicate results, intervene when necessary, and push the student just short of frustration. Then reward students for their accomplishments. Even though this note is untimely, I hope it is useful and informative. If you have any questions email me at my email address. I'll be glad to help. mcmartp@e-hps.net

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