The top 6.5 things holding back student achievement in Mathematics & what to do about it. MESPA February 2013 MCTM/MDE Mathematics Leadership Task Force
Introductions Sara Van Der Werf K-12 Mathematics Lead Minneapolis Public Schools firstname.lastname@example.org 612-600-6307 Emily Larson K-12 Mathematics Specialist South Washington County email@example.com 651-458-6217 Nancy Nutting Mathematics Professional Development Facilitator, Retired MPS Teacher firstname.lastname@example.org 612-866-2030
MCTM/MDE Mathematics Leadership Task Force Today’s presentation and helpful resources available at: www.mctm.org/principals.php and http://scimathmn.org/stemtc/resources/resources-february-2013-mespa-conference-0 Or go to scimathmn.org/stemtc ---> Resources---> Resources from the February 2013 MESPA Conference (on page 3) Follow us on Twitter @MNMath4All
#1 The structure of the school day isn't meeting student or staff needs for learning and teaching quality mathematics. VISION FOR SUCCESS All students deserve to have opportunities to learn important and challenging mathematics every day.
Time is a critical factor in increasing opportunity and achievement We need to enhance . . . TIME for students TIME for teachers TIME for support staff, including administrators
Action Step – check out time for mathematics & use of that time • Minimum of 90 minutes a day • 60 minutes of core mathematics for all students • 30 minutes of targeted instruction to fill gaps, challenge students, differentiate, flexible groups • “Opportunity to Learn” is key • Lessons Learned from TIMSS – you can’t learn what you haven’t been taught – the MN Anomaly • Singapore’s success – give mathematics equal time with literacy in beginning years • Detroit’s Project SEED – focus on problem solving
Project SEED-Focus on Problem Solving • Additional 90 minutes/day for 15 weeks • Involves specially trained mathematicians • 90% of SEED students passed Michigan’s Educational assessment compared with 79% of comparison group • Improved learning was consistently linked to allowing students to struggle utilizing problem solving – answers not instantly obvious • Supported by a business partnership Detroit News, Jan.3, 2013 http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20 1301031115/SCHOOLS/301030371
What kind of grouping works? • Equity Research consistently shows that ability grouping does not help lowest achieving students (Oakes, Education Trust) • Lower expectations means less opportunity to learn (see Maintaining High Expectations, Best Practices, SciMathMN Frameworks) • Solid interventions require strong diagnostic tools; implies we increase and use assessment FOR learning
Time for Teachers & Support Staff • Additional training in both mathematics and mathematics pedagogy impacts student learning (see Ball and Hill) • The closer the learning to students the greater the impact, e.g. PLCs • Coordinated approaches help students most – Do support staff know and have access to the core curriculum materials and receive training in mathematics and mathematics pedagogy?
#2 We don’t know what we don’t know about good math instruction. VISION FOR SUCCESS All sites will provide intentional/directed PLC time around Content Knowledge AND Pedagogy.
An observation of a 6th grade mathematics classroom There was a lot to like in this lesson, yet I was disturbed. The Lesson: • Students were taught an algorithm for dividing fractions & practiced the skill several times. • Dividing fractions is a 6th grade math standard. • All students were engaged. • Students got the correct answer over and over again.
Why do you think I was disturbed by the lesson I observed? How many groups of ½’s fit into 4/8?
Why do you think I was disturbed by the lesson I observed? Just like…. 3÷3 = 1 20÷20 = 1 425÷425 = 1
Excellent Mathematics teaching values… conceptual development over doing procedures.
We know why MN students are unsuccessful in MS mathematics!There are 3 major content obstacles! A deep understanding of equality. (and even better, relational thinking) 8+4 = +5 A flexible understanding of the base 10 number system (place value) 365
Teachers need to develop a broader understanding of how children think about mathematics. The number in the box is 7 because 5 is one more than 4, therefore the number in the box needs to be 1 less than 8 to keep both sides of the equal sign balanced. • Teachers will become Diagnostic • This allows teachers to Differentiate • KEY = Listen to student talk and look at student work. The number in the box is 12 because 8 plus 4 more is 12.
You get better at what you focus on. • Write out a year long plan for providing on-going on-site PD on Mathematics Content and Pedagogy Development • Are your teachers teaching a balance of skills and concepts? • Use the resources at the SciMathMN Frameworks site.
#3 Math Teacher Leaders are not being identified, utilized and developed. VISION FOR SUCCESS Teacher leaders will be identified who will work in partnership with administration and a math committee to improve mathematics teaching and learning. Nurture talent once it surfaces. Make more talent rise to the surface. National Research Council. Everybody Counts. 1989
Action Steps • Identify teachers who have an interest in mathematics and find opportunities for them to learn about mathematics instruction. Write down the names of two teachers you will work with as your math leaders. • Be a mentor or coach to a teacher to partner together to improve mathematics teaching and learning. Along the way help him/her develop leadership skills.
Action Steps • Learn together through a book study, professional development videos and conversation. • Lenses of Learning (www.mathleadership.org) is one resources specifically for math leaders. • Support your math leaders work in leading learning for other teachers in your building and intentional changes in the structures around mathematics teaching and learning.
Action Steps • Help your leaders become members of NCTM and MCTM. • Support your mathematics leader(s) attendance at Mathematics related conferences or professional development sessions. • Be aware of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics Leadership Symposium and Spring Conference in Duluth (www.mctm.org) as an option.
Build the Future Change takes some time and investing in your teachers in this way will serve your building and your students well.
#4 We are not teaching the right things. VISION FOR SUCCESS Students will not only have the opportunity to learn the skills and procedures of mathematics but will also develop strong conceptual understanding and apply that understanding to solve problems.
Action Steps • Help students develop strong conceptual understanding of mathematics as well as problem solving and reasoning skills. • Have your teachers read their grade level standards at least 3 times a year. • Understand that in order to Meet or Exceed the Minnesota Academic Standards, it is necessary to build strong understanding of concepts.
Action Steps • Be aware of the purpose and structure of online resources and Apps. Online programs often serve as tools to drill basic facts or practice simple procedures. Do not let the use of these tools take away from time spent on developing conceptual understanding.
Action Steps • Use “Helping Children Learn” National Academies Press. This short summary of the National Research Council’s report “Adding it Up” and answers the question, “What does it take to be successful in mathematics”? • Consider the book “How the Brain Learns Mathematics” by David A. Sousa to help build understanding of how to engage students in learning mathematics.
Action Steps • Use the resource from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, including the Focal Point Series books for every grade level. (www.nctm.org) These books show how to introduce concepts and to build deeper understanding of mathematics content.
#5 We don't have solid, diagnostic evidence of student understanding VISION FOR SUCCESS • We have a deep repertoire of formative assessment tools • We use informationfrom formative assessments to drive and personalize instruction • We assess both conceptual and skill knowledge
Cognitive Complexity minimum of • Level 1 – Recall 20% • Level 2 – Skill/Concept 30% • Level 3 – Strategic Thinking 5% • Level 4 – Extended Thinking in classroom Norman L. Webb, Depth of Knowledge Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) Mathematics Test Specifications, Jan. 24, 2013 p. 11-712
Perimeter – Grade 3What’s the cognitive level? • Standard 3.3.2 Understand perimeter as a measurable attribute of real-world and mathematical objects. Use various tools to measure distances. • Benchmark 188.8.131.52 Findthe perimeter of a polygon byadding the lengths of the sides.
What is the cognitive level of these items? 1. Find the perimeter. 2. Draw a four-sided irregular polygon with a perimeter of 23 units. Show all dimensions. 3 5 9 6
Why focus on higher order thinking? • Gives us a better snapshot of both skills and understanding • Increases likelihood of students meeting or exceeding standards on MCA assessments • Engages students • It’s mathematics – what mathematicians and scientists actually do!
But, we taught the Geometry Benchmarks! Achievement Level Descriptors How do I teach the standards? 5% 30% 20%
#6 We do not have enough evidence of student thinking. VISION FOR SUCCESS All students are talking about mathematics out loud every class period.