Tag Archives: Math Education

Drexel University study: New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics

27 May

Jonathan Cohn reported about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.
APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement

Math improves your skills:

• Critical Thinking Skills
• Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills
• Problem Solving Skills

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

Business and Commerce

Actuarial Sciences

Medicine

http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

Often, the students who need the best math teachers are shortchanged.

Science Daily reported in New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics:

Parts of the brain not traditionally associated with learning science become active when people are confronted with solving physics problems, a new study shows.
The researchers, led by Eric Brewe, PhD, an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, say this shows that the brain’s activity can be modified by different forms of instruction.
Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure blood flow in the brain, the researchers looked to map what areas become active when completing a physics reasoning task, both before a course on the concepts and after.
“The neurobiological processes that underpin learning are complex and not always directly connected to what we think it means to learn,” Brewe said of the findings, which were published in Frontiers in ICT.
More than 50 volunteer students took part in the study in which they were taught a physics course that utilized “Modeling Instruction,” a style of teaching which encourages students to be active participants in their learning.
Before they participated in the class, the students answered questions from an abridged version of the Force Concept Inventory while undergoing fMRI. The Force Concept Inventory is a test that assesses knowledge of physics concepts commonly taught in early college physics classes.
After the volunteer students completed their physics course, they again took the Force Concept Inventory, once more monitored by fMRI.
In the pre-instruction scans, parts of the brain associated with attention, working memory and problem solving — the lateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, sometimes called the brain’s “central executive network” — showed activity.
“One of the keys seemed to be an area of the brain, the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, that generates mental simulations,” Brewe said. “This suggests that learning physics is an imaginative process, which is not typically how people think of it.”
After the subjects had completed their class, comparison of the pre- and post-learning scans revealed increased activity in the frontal poles, which was to be expected since they’ve been linked to learning. But there was another area that also became active: the posterior cingulate cortex, which is linked to episodic memory and self-referential thought.
“These changes in brain activity may be related to more complex behavioral changes in how students reason through physics questions post- relative to pre-instruction,” Brewe and his co-authors wrote about the study. “These might include shifts in strategy or an increased access to physics knowledge and problem-solving resources….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524141527.htm

Citation:

New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics
Date: May 24, 2018
Source: Drexel University
Summary:
A new study showed that, when confronted with physics problems, new parts of a student’s brain are utilized after receiving instruction in the topic.
Journal Reference:
1. Eric Brewe, Jessica E. Bartley, Michael C. Riedel, Vashti Sawtelle, Taylor Salo, Emily R. Boeving, Elsa I. Bravo, Rosalie Odean, Alina Nazareth, Katherine L. Bottenhorn, Robert W. Laird, Matthew T. Sutherland, Shannon M. Pruden, Angela R. Laird. Toward a Neurobiological Basis for Understanding Learning in University Modeling Instruction Physics Courses. Frontiers in ICT, 2018; 5 DOI: 10.3389/fict.2018.00010

Here is the press release from Science Daily:

New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics

May 24, 2018 by Frank Otto, Drexel University

Parts of the brain not traditionally associated with learning science become active when people are confronted with solving physics problems, a new study shows.

The researchers, led by Eric Brewe, Ph.D., an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, say this shows that the brain’s activity can be modified by different forms of instruction.

Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure blood flow in the brain, the researchers looked to map what areas become active when completing a physics reasoning task, both before a course on the concepts and after.

“The neurobiological processes that underpin learning are complex and not always directly connected to what we think it means to learn,” Brewe said of the findings, which were published in Frontiers in ICT.

More than 50 volunteer students took part in the study in which they were taught a physics course that utilized “Modeling Instruction,” a style of teaching which encourages students to be active participants in their learning.
Before they participated in the class, the students answered questions from an abridged version of the Force Concept Inventory while undergoing fMRI. The Force Concept Inventory is a test that assesses knowledge of physics concepts commonly taught in early college physics classes.

After the volunteer students completed their physics course, they again took the Force Concept Inventory, once more monitored by fMRI.
In the pre-instruction scans, parts of the brain associated with attention, working memory and problem solving—the lateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, sometimes called the brain’s “central executive network—showed activity.

“One of the keys seemed to be an area of the brain, the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, that generates mental simulations,” Brewe said. “This suggests that learning physics is an imaginative process, which is not typically how people think of it.”

After the subjects had completed their class, comparison of the pre- and post-learning scans revealed increased activity in the frontal poles, which was to be expected since they’ve been linked to learning. But there was another area that also became active: the posterior cingulate cortex, which is linked to episodic memory and self-referential thought.

“These changes in brain activity may be related to more complex behavioral changes in how students reason through physics questions post- relative to pre-instruction,” Brewe and his co-authors wrote about the study. “These might include shifts in strategy or an increased access to physics knowledge and problem-solving resources.”

One of the aims of the study was to further explore how the form of teaching used, Modeling Instruction, encourages students to use their own mental models to understand new concepts.

“The idea of mental models is something that people who research learning love to talk about, but have no evidence of what is happening inside brains other than what people say or do,” Brewe said. “We are actually looking for evidence from inside the brain.”

As such, Brewe and his fellow researchers think their study provides a good look at what might be typical when these “mental models” take hold.
But why physics? What makes this the ideal subject to study mental modeling in the brain?

Brewe said that there has been some research on the brain networks associated with learning math and reading. But mental modeling especially lends itself to physics, which has not gotten as much attention.

“Physics is a really good place to understand learning for two reasons,” Brewe said. “First, it deals with things that people have direct experience with, making formal classroom learning and informal understanding both relevant and sometimes aligned—and sometimes contrasted.”

“Second, physics is based in laws, so there are absolutes that govern the way the body works,” Brewe finished.

Moving forward, Brewe is excited by what this study opens up in his quest to improve physics learning in the United States and beyond.
“I would like to follow up on the question of mental simulations in physics, to see where that shows up at different levels of physics learning and with different populations,” he said. “But this whole study opens up many new areas of investigations and I’m pretty excited about how it will play out.”

Explore further: Scientists discover how the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts

More information: Eric Brewe et al, Toward a Neurobiological Basis for Understanding Learning in University Modeling Instruction Physics Courses, Frontiers in ICT ( 2018). DOI: 10.3389/fict.2018.00010
Provided by: Drexel University

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein. https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

Every child deserves not only a good education, but a good math education.

Related:

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

Girls and math phobia https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

r. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Michigan State University study: Young children can understand large numbers

21 Dec

Mary Niederberger of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes in the article, Formula written for math success:

Mastery of fractions and early division is a predictor of students’ later success with algebra and other higher-level mathematics, based on a study done by a team of researchers led by a Carnegie Mellon University professor.
That means more effective teaching of the concepts is needed to improve math scores among U.S. high school students, which have remained stagnant for more than 30 years….
The study said a likely reason for U.S. students’ weakness in fractions and division could be linked to their teachers’ “lack of a firm conceptual understanding” of the concepts, citing several other studies in which many American teachers were unable to explain the reasons behind mathematical solutions, while most teachers in Japan and China were able to offer two or three explanations. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/formula-written-for-math-success-640962/#ixzz1ym9qos5j

Citation:

Early Predictors of High School Mathematics Achievement
1. Robert S. Siegler1,
2. Greg J. Duncan2,
3. Pamela E. Davis-Kean3,4,
4. Kathryn Duckworth5,
5. Amy Claessens6,
6. Mimi Engel7,
7. Maria Ines Susperreguy3,4 and
8. Meichu Chen4Abstract
Identifying the types of mathematics content knowledge that are most predictive of students’ long-term learning is essential for improving both theories of mathematical development and mathematics education. To identify these types of knowledge, we examined long-term predictors of high school students’ knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement. Analyses of large, nationally representative, longitudinal data sets from the United States and the United Kingdom revealed that elementary school students’ knowledge of fractions and of division uniquely predicts those students’ knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement in high school, 5 or 6 years later, even after statistically controlling for other types of mathematical knowledge, general intellectual ability, working memory, and family income and education. Implications of these findings for understanding and improving mathematics learning are discussed.
1.Published online before print June 14, 2012, doi: 10.1177/0956797612440101 Psychological Science June 14, 2012 0956797612440101

Math is important for a number of reasons.

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:
Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement
Math improves your skills:
◦Critical Thinking Skills
◦Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills
◦Problem Solving Skills
A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options
Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics
Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry
Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography
Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development
Business and Commerce
Actuarial Sciences
Medicine
http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

Young children have the ability to grasp large numbers.

Science Daily reported in the article, Kids Grasp Large Numbers Remarkably Young:

Children as young as 3 understand multi-digit numbers more than previously believed and may be ready for more direct math instruction when they enter school, according to research led by a Michigan State University education scholar.
The study, online in the journal Child Development and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, has implications for U.S. students who continue losing ground internationally in mathematics performance.
“Contrary to the view that young children do not understand place value and multi-digit numbers, we found that they actually know quite a lot about it,” said Kelly Mix, MSU professor of educational psychology and co-author of the study. “They are more ready than we think when they enter kindergarten.”
Understanding place value is the gateway to higher math skills such as addition with carrying, and there is a strong tie between place value skills in early elementary grades and problem-solving ability later on.
“In short, children who fail to master place value face chronic low achievement in mathematics,” the study states.
In several experiments, Mix and Richard Prather and Linda Smith, both from Indiana University, tested children ages 3 to 7 on their ability to identify and compare two- and three-digit numbers.
In one task, for example, children were shown two quantities (such as 128 and 812) and asked to point out which was larger. “There was significant improvement in interpreting place value from age 3 to 7,” Mix said, “but it was remarkable that even the youngest children showed at least some understanding of multi-digit numbers.”
Mix said the surprising findings are likely due to the fact that children in today’s society are bombarded with multi-digit numbers — from phone numbers to street addresses to price tags.
Interestingly, children may be developing partial knowledge of the place value system at least partly from language, she explained. Children often hear multi-digit numbers named while also seeing them in print, such as when parents comment on a calendar, ask their child to push the elevator buttons or look for a room number in an office building.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218112914.htm#.UrVMao_ZKxU.email

Citation:

Journal Reference:
1.Kelly S. Mix, Richard W. Prather, Linda B. Smith, Jerri DaSha Stockton. Young Children’s Interpretation of Multidigit Number Names: From Emerging Competence to Mastery. Child Development, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12197
Michigan State University (2013, December 18). Kids grasp large numbers remarkably young. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2013,

Jonathan Cohn reported about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.
APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Related:

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

Girls and math phobia https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

National Center for Education Evaluation study: Teach for America teachers more successful at math teaching

14 Sep

Moi wrote in Urban teacher residencies:
One of the huge issues in educating ALL children is how to attract high quality teachers to high needs areas and to retain those teachers. One program designed to address that issue is the “Urban Teacher Residency Model.” Barnett Barry and Diana Montgomery of the Center for Teaching Quality along with Jon Snyder of Bank Street College wrote an interesting 2008 paper, Urban Teacher Residency Models and Institutions of Higher Education: Implications for Teacher Preparation:

In brief, UTRs recruit teaching talent aggressively, with the supply and demand needs of local districts in mind. They also insist on extensive preparation, whereby recruits are paid a stipend while learning to teach in a full-year residency, under the watchful eye of expert K-12 teachers. Because the Residents are not fully responsible for teaching children, they have more quality time to take relevant pedagogical coursework ―wrapped around‖ their intense student teaching experience. While both AUSL and BTR are relatively new programs, early studies on their graduates’ effectiveness and their high retention rates of 90 to 95 percent suggest these models hold great promise for preparing and supporting teachers in high-needs urban schools.
We believe the time is now for the teacher education community to embrace UTRs —supporting the development of them while also using them to improve their current programs. The struggles of both traditional and alternative pathways to certification are well known. For example, many traditional university-based programs are challenged by:
 Difficulty in attracting high academic achievers and teacher candidates of color;
 Too few opportunities for prospective teachers to be taught by exemplary classroom teachers;
 Failure to meet shortage area needs in subjects such as math, science, and special education, as well as the need for English Language Learners teachers;
 Limited resources and structures to provide induction support for their graduates in a systematic way once they begin teaching; and
 Lack of accountability for the effectiveness of their graduates.
On the other hand, alternate pathways, which often are touted for their ability to recruit high academic achieving candidates and to prepare teachers for specific districts, face challenges as well…. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED503644

https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/urban-teacher-residencies/

Schools must be allowed to match available resources to students.

Julia Ryan reported in The Atlantic article, Study: Students Learn More Math With Teach for America Teachers:

The results of a two-year, 4,573-student study by the U.S. Department of Education
How effective are Teach for America teachers? It’s a question that the organization’s critics and fans alike have been trying to answer for years. The Teach for America website points to studies of school districts in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, which all found that “corps members often help their students achieve academic gains at rates equal to or larger than those for students of more veteran teachers.” (Emphasis mine.) TFA skeptics cite a range of other studies that show students with traditionally certified teachers achieving higher gains.
A new study by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (a part of the United States Department of Education) will encourage TFA supporters. The first large-scale random assignment study of TFA secondary math teachers, it found that the TFA teachers were more effective than other instructors at their schools.
“By providing rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from TFA and the Teaching Fellows programs, the study can shed light on potential approaches for improving teacher effectiveness in hard-to-staff schools and subjects,” the authors wrote.
The study included 4,573 students at middle and high schools across the country. In the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years, researchers randomly assigned the students in each school to similar math courses–some were taught by TFA teachers, and others or by teachers who entered teaching through traditional or other, less selective alternative programs. The students with TFA teachers performed better on end-of-year exams than their peers in similar courses taught by other teachers. The bump in their test scores is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.
The study also seemed to disprove the common criticism that, because TFA teachers only sign on for two years of teaching, they do not gain the experience necessary to become effective teachers. The study found that TFA teachers were more effective than both novice and experienced teachers from other certification programs. Students of TFA teachers in their first three years of teaching scored 0.08 standard deviations higher than students of other teachers in their first three years of teaching and 0.07 standard deviations higher than students of other teachers with more than three years of experience teaching.
However, the study pointed out that the results do not necessarily reflect the effectiveness of the TFA training itself, as the organization attracts a different applicant pool than traditional or other, less selective certification programs. The authors point out that both TFA and Teaching Fellows, another competitive teaching program, have “unique procedures for recruiting and selecting individuals” and look for characteristics they believe are “associated with effectiveness in the classroom.”
Only 23 percent of teachers from traditional or less-selective certification programs graduated from a selective college or university, while 81 percent of TFA teachers did. And although the TFA teachers were less likely to have majored or minored in math, they scored significantly higher on a test of math knowledge than their teacher counterparts. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/study-students-learn-more-math-with-teach-for-america-teachers/279527/

See, TFA Teachers Shown to Boost Secondary Math http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/11/04alternatives.h33.html?tkn=MWLFZkqS35ySzRJT3SsDjWlS1lm%2BJyt5VscZ&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Citation:

The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows Programs
Teach For America (TFA) and the Teaching Fellows programs are important and growing sources of teachers of hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty schools, but comprehensive evidence of their effectiveness has been limited. A large-scale random assignment study examines the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from two highly selective alternative certification route programs: Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows.
The study separately compares the effectiveness of teachers from each program with the effectiveness of other teachers teaching the same subjects in the same schools. On average, students assigned to TFA teachers had higher math scores at the end of the school year than students assigned to comparison teachers. Students of Teaching Fellows and comparison teachers had similar math scores, on average. However, students with Teaching Fellows teachers did outperform students whose teachers entered the classroom through less selective alternative routes.
View, download, and print the report as a PDF file (1.9 MB)
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20134015/pdf/20134015.pdf
View, download, and print the executive summary as a PDF file (386 KB)
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20134015/pdf/20134016.pdf

Here is a portion of the Executive Summary:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Teach For America (TFA) and the Teaching Fellows programs are an important and growing source of teachers of hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty schools, but comprehensive evidence of their effectiveness has been limited. This report presents findings from the first large-scale random assignment study of secondary math teachers from these programs. The study separately examined the effectiveness of TFA and Teaching Fellows teachers, comparing secondary math teachers from each program with other secondary math teachers teaching the same math courses in the same schools. The study focused on secondary math because this is a subject in which schools face particular staffing difficulties.
The study had two main findings, one for each program studied:
1. TFA teachers were more effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students assigned to TFA teachers scored 0.07 standard deviations higher on end-of-year math assessments than students assigned to comparison teachers, a statistically significant difference. This impact is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.
2. Teaching Fellows were neither more nor less effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students of Teaching Fellows and students of comparison teachers had similar scores on end-of-year math assessments.

By providing rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from TFA and the Teaching Fellows programs, the study can shed light on potential approaches for improving teacher effectiveness in hard-to-staff schools and subjects. The study findings can provide guidance to school principals faced with the choice of hiring teachers who have entered the profession via different routes to certification. The findings can also aid policymakers and funders of teacher preparation programs by providing information on the effectiveness of teachers from various routes….

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts. There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education.

Related:

Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Studies: For struggling math students, teacher quality matters

14 Apr

 

Moi wrote in Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?

 

Math is important for a number of reasons.

 

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

 

Why is math important?

 

All four year Universities have a math requirement

 

Math improves your skills:

 

  • Critical Thinking Skills

  • Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills

  • Problem Solving Skills

 

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

 

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

 

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

 

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

 

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

 

Business and Commerce

 

Actuarial Sciences

 

Medicine

 

http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

 

Often, the students who need the best math teachers are shortchanged.

 

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, Qualified Math Teachers Elusive for Struggling Students, Studies Find:

 

Succeeding in freshman-level mathematics is critical for students to stay on track to high school graduation, with students who make poor grades in math in 8th and 9th grades more likely to leave school entirely.

Yet two new studies presented at the Association for Education Finance and Policy meeting here last month suggest that students who enter high school performing below average in math have a lower chance of getting a teacher who is well-qualified to teach math than do higher-achieving students. The problem, the research concludes, exacerbates gaps in teacher access between schools with different performance and wealth levels.

In one studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, Cara Jackson, a research assistant at the University of Maryland College Park, analyzed the math coursetaking and achievement of 12,900 9th graders at 730 high schools nationwide who were linked with their high school math teachers as part of the federal High School Longitudinal Study of 2009.

Ms. Jackson calculated the odds of different students’ learning math in 9th grade from a “qualified” teacher, defined as one who: had earned at least a bachelor’s degree, with seven or more different courses taken in mathematics; was certified by the state to teach high school math; and had been teaching at least five years.

Assignment Priorities

Ms. Jackson found big differences in how high- and low-performing schools allocate teachers….

Similarly, in a separate reportRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, researchers from the American Institutes of Research’s Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER, probed the differences in the value, as measured by assessment results, that teachers added at high-poverty and wealthy schools in Florida and North Carolina from 2000 to 2005.

At schools with more than 70 percent of their students in poverty, the researchers found, teachers were, on average, less effective than those at schools with less concentrated poverty. Specifically, while highly effective teachers performed at about the same level in both high- and low-poverty schools, there was a much greater range of effectiveness among lower-performing teachers in high-poverty schools than in richer ones. Teachers in high-poverty schools were also generally less likely to have a graduate degree, or to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

“These differences are apparent even among new teachers,” said Philip M. Gleason, a senior fellow with Mathematica Policy Research who was not associated with either study. “This isn’t just a story of high-poverty schools having lots of turnover so more students have inexperienced teachers; that isn’t explaining what they are finding.”

Rather, teachers at low-income schools did not improve professionally over their years of experience as much as their colleagues at wealthier schools, according to study co-author Zeyu Xu, a CALDER senior research associate. “Why is the bottom of the teacher distribution lower in high-poverty schools?” Mr. Xu said. “It could be teachers are learning less in high-poverty schools, or that better teachers are likely to move out of high-poverty schools.”

At the same time, Ms. Jackson’s research also found that, among schools with lower overall student achievement, those with good student behavior and principals with high expectations were more likely to give students of all stripes access to qualified teachers in math. In higher-achieving schools, student behavior was not linked to teacher availability. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/04/03/27access_ep.h32.html?tkn=UMXFs3hTCKncLf9QXvVbjwJ1dHWiba0wucND&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

 

Here is what the Pearson blog said about the Jackson study:

 

Study: Struggling students least likely to have quality math teachers

Many low-performing ninth graders struggling to meet the more rigorous Common Core math standards could improve their chances of success if they had access to quality instruction, but a new study suggests that these students are the least likely of all to be taught by a qualified math teacher.

“Within schools, a student’s access to qualified teachers wasn’t related to gender or race or socioeconomic status, or whether the student is an English-language learner,” Cara Jackson, a research assistant at the University of Maryland College Park, told Education Week. “It is related to whether the student is enrolled in special education or a low-level math class.”

The study defines “qualified” teachers as those who have earned at least a bachelors degree, with seven or more different math courses taken, are state certified to teach high school math and have been teaching for at least five years.

Jackson found that only 54 percent of ninth grade students have a math teacher that is, by the study’s standards, “qualified.” High-performing students are 10 percent more likely to have a qualified math teacher than low-performing students.

At this critical juncture in math education, the disparity may make it even more difficult for struggling students to close the achievement gap as they move towards graduation. http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS1n4y&elementType=news&elementId=197441

 

Here is information about the CALDER paper No. 52:

 

Working Paper 52

 

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools
Working Paper 52
Author(s): Tim R. Sass, Jane Hannaway, Zeyu Xu, David N. Figlio, and Li Feng

Using data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper examines whether teachers in high-poverty schools are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. Bottom teachers in high-poverty schools are less effective than bottom teachers in lower-poverty schools. The best teachers, by comparison, are equally effective across school poverty settings. The gap in teacher quality appears to arise from the lower payoff to teacher qualifications in high-poverty schools.  In particular, the experience-productivity relationship is weaker in high-poverty schools and is not related to teacher mobility patterns. Recruiting teachers with good credentials into high-poverty schools may be insufficient to narrow the teacher quality gap. Policies that promote the long-term productivity of teachers in challenging high-poverty schools appear key.

Published: November 2010 | Download: pdf icon new Full Text (PDF 629KB) | Journal Publication

 

In Perhaps the biggest math challenge is how to teach math, moi said:

 

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.

 

There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

 

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education

 

https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

 

Related:

 

Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/

 

Where information leads to Hope. ©                  Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                  https://drwilda.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study: Elementary school teachers have an impact on girls math learning

31 Jan

Science Daily reported in the March 14, 2011 article, Gender Stereotypes About Math Develop As Early As the Second Grade

Children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers. And the children applied the stereotype to themselves: boys identified themselves with math whereas girls did not.

The “math is for boys” stereotype has been used as part of the explanation for why so few women pursue science, mathematics and engineering careers. The cultural stereotype may nudge girls to think that “math is not for me,” which can affect what activities they engage in and their career aspirations.

The new study, published in the March/April issue of Child Development, suggests that, for girls, lack of interest in mathematics may come from culturally-communicated messages about math being more appropriate for boys than for girls, the researchers said.

But the stereotype that girls don’t do math was odd to lead author Dario Cvencek, who was born and raised in the former Yugoslavia. “We didn’t have that stereotype where I grew up,” said Cvencek, a postdoctoral fellow at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “People there thought that math went with girls just as much as it did with boys.”

Cvencek and his co-authors wanted to examine whether American children have adopted the cultural stereotype that math is for boys during elementary-school years, and if so, whether they apply that stereotype to themselves….

Math self-concept — how much youngsters identify themselves with math, as in “math is for me” — has been left out of previous studies of the math-gender stereotype. Even though other studies using self-report measures show that boys and girls alike make the “math is for boys” linkage, the studies don’t distinguish between whether girls simply know about the math-gender stereotype but aren’t fazed by it, or are instead applying it to themselves so that it affects their identity, interests and actions….

In the math-gender stereotype test, for example, children sorted four kinds of words: boy names, girl names, math words and reading words. Children expressing the math-gender stereotype should be faster to sort words when boy names are paired with math words and girl names are paired with reading words. Similarly, they should be slower to respond when math words are paired with girl names and reading words are paired with boy names.

As early as second grade, the children demonstrated the American cultural stereotype for math: boys associated math with their own gender while girls associated math with boys. In the self-concept test, boys identified themselves with math more than girls did.

The researchers also used self-report tests and on all three concepts found similar responses to the Implicit Association Test.

“Our results show that cultural stereotypes about math are absorbed strikingly early in development, prior to ages at which there are gender differences in math achievement,” said co-author Andrew Meltzoff, a UW psychology professor and co-director of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. Meltzoff holds the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Chair at UW.

Parental and educational practices aimed at enhancing girls’ self-concepts for math might be beneficial as early as elementary school, when the youngsters are already beginning to develop ideas about who does math, the researchers said.

Here is the study citation:

Dario Cvencek, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Anthony G. Greenwald. Math-Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children. Child Development, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01529.x

John ChildUp has an excellent synopsis of the math study, Math Gender Stereotypes Start As Early As Second Grade at his ChildUp blog:

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, For Girls, Teachers’ Gender Matters, Study Says:

Female elementary school teachers’ comfort with mathematics has an outsize effect on the girls they teach, according to new research.

Girls taught by a female teacher got a learning boost if that teacher had a strong math background, but had consistently lower math performance by the end of the school year if she didn’t, according to a study presented at the American Economic Association’s annual conference here.

By contrast, boys’ math scores were not affected by having a female math teacher, regardless of the teacher’s background in that subject, and there were no differences in math performance among male and female students of male teachers of different math backgrounds. The study adds to growing evidence that children’s gender biases can significantly affect their own ability.

“Children’s perceptions of gender start emerging between the ages of 7 and 12,” said study coauthor I. Serkan Ozbeklik, an assistant economics professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “Positive or negative, the primary school experiences may shape the academic course of students, leading to long-term consequences like choice of study, choice of major, and occupation.”

Scope of Research

Researchers led by Heather Antecol, an economics professor at Claremont McKenna, analyzed the mathematics performance of more than 1,600 1st through 5th grade students under 94 teachers in 17 high-poverty, high-minority schools in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta region between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years.

On average, the teachers had more than six years of experience, but only 11.5 percent of the study’s students had a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in math or a related field like engineering, economics, or accounting. Nearly a third of the teachers were men, far above the national average of only one-tenth of primary school teachers.

Ms. Antecol and her colleagues found that girls taught by a female teacher, as opposed to a male teacher, saw their math test scores drop by 4.7 percenage points by the end of the school year. Moreover, those girls performed on average 1.9 percentage points lower than their male classmates, about 10 percent of a standard deviation. The researchers characterized both effects as strong.

By contrast, boys saw no drop in math performance under the same teachers.

While education-watchers have voiced similar concerns about gender stereotyping of boys’ reading ability, the study found no differences between boys’ and girls’ reading performance based on having a male or female teacher. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/16/17gender.h32.html?tkn=TQQF4ViNm%2F1xKCaioCNY6Pqekt2d6g3I1Bbu&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Citation:

The Effect of Teacher Gender on Student Achievement in Primary School: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Author Info

  • Antecol, Heather

(hantecol@cmc.edu) (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Eren, Ozkan

(ozkan.eren@unlv.edu) (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

  • Ozbeklik, Serkan

(serkan.ozbeklik@cmc.edu) (Claremont McKenna College)

Registered author(s):

Abstract

This paper attempts to reconcile the contradictory results found in the economics literature and the educational psychology literature with respect to the academic impact of gender dynamics in the classroom. Specifically, using data from a randomized experiment, we look at the effects of having a female teacher on the math test scores of students in primary school. We find that female students who were assigned to a female teacher without a strong math background suffered from lower math test scores at the end of the academic year. This negative effect however not only seems to disappear but it becomes (marginally) positive for female students who were assigned to a female teacher with a strong math background. Finally, we do not find any effect of having a female teacher on male students’ test scores (math or reading) or female students’ reading test scores. Taken together, our results tentatively suggest that the findings in these two streams of the literature are in fact consistent if one takes into account a teacher’s academic background in math.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large. File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6453.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein.  https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

Related:

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

Girls and math phobia                                                                    https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers                                               https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning? https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                          http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                            http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                    https://drwilda.com/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers

15 Nov

Jacob Vigdor wrote the interesting Education Next article, Solving America’s Math Problem:

American public schools have made a clear trade-off over the past few decades. With the twin goals of improving the math performance of the average student and promoting equality, it has made the curriculum more accessible. The drawback to exclusive use of this more accessible curriculum can be observed among the nation’s top-performing students, who are either less willing or less able than their predecessors or their high-achieving global peers to follow the career paths in math, science, and engineering that are the key to innovation and job creation. In the name of preparing more of the workforce to take those jobs, we have harmed the skills of those who might have created them. Although there is some evidence of a payoff from this sacrifice, in the form of marginally better performance among average students, some of the strategies used to help these students have in fact backfired…

Not all children are equally prepared to embark on a rigorous math curriculum on the first day of kindergarten, and there are no realistic policy alternatives to change this simple fact. Rather than wish differences among students away, a rational policy for the 21st century will respond to those variations, tailoring lessons to children’s needs. This strategy promises to provide the next generation of prospective scientists and engineers with the training they need to create jobs, and the next generation of workers with the skills they need to qualify for them. http://educationnext.org/solving-america%E2%80%99s-math-problem/#.UG25FCk_6rE.email

One way of looking at Vigdor’s conclusions is to ask whether high performance preschool programs and early intervention can affect student achievement?

Science Daily reports about a University of Missouri study about the effect of counting ability in preschoolers in the article, Preschoolers’ Counting Abilities Relate to Future Math Performance, Researcher Says:

Along with reciting the days of the week and the alphabet, adults often practice reciting numbers with young children. Now, new research from the University of Missouri suggests reciting numbers is not enough to prepare children for math success in elementary school. The research indicates that counting, which requires assigning numerical values to objects in chronological order, is more important for helping preschoolers acquire math skills.

“Reciting means saying the numbers from memory in chronological order, whereas counting involves understanding that each item in the set is counted once and that the last number stated is the amount for the entire set,” said Louis Manfra, an assistant professor in MU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “When children are just reciting, they’re basically repeating what seems like a memorized sentence. When they’re counting, they’re performing a more cognitive activity in which they’re associating a one-to-one correspondence with the object and the number to represent a quantity.”

Manfra analyzed data from more than 3,000 children from low-income households in order to determine if the children’s reciting and counting abilities in preschool affected their first-grade math scores. He found that students who could recite and count to 20 in preschool had the highest math scores in first grade; however, less than 10 percent of the children in the study could count and recite to 20.

“Counting gives children stronger foundations when they start school,” Manfra said. “The skills children have when they start kindergarten affect their trajectories through early elementary school; therefore, it’s important that children start with as many skills as possible.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108142808.htm

Here is the press release from the University of Missouri:

News Bureau

University of Missouri

Preschoolers’ Counting Abilities Relate to Future Math Performance, MU Researcher Says

Counting, in addition to reciting, should be emphasized in early childhood education to establish foundation for future academic success

Nov. 08, 2012

Story Contact(s):
Jesslyn Chew, ChewJ@missouri.edu, (573) 882-8353

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Along with reciting the days of the week and the alphabet, adults often practice reciting numbers with young children. Now, new research from the University of Missouri suggests reciting numbers is not enough to prepare children for math success in elementary school. The research indicates that counting, which requires assigning numerical values to objects in chronological order, is more important for helping preschoolers acquire math skills.

Reciting means saying the numbers from memory in chronological order, whereas counting involves understanding that each item in the set is counted once and that the last number stated is the amount for the entire set,” said Louis Manfra, an assistant professor in MU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “When children are just reciting, they’re basically repeating what seems like a memorized sentence. When they’re counting, they’re performing a more cognitive activity in which they’re associating a one-to-one correspondence with the object and the number to represent a quantity.”

Manfra analyzed data from more than 3,000 children from low-income households in order to determine if the children’s reciting and counting abilities in preschool affected their first-grade math scores. He found that students who could recite and count to 20 in preschool had the highest math scores in first grade; however, less than 10 percent of the children in the study could count and recite to 20.

Counting gives children stronger foundations when they start school,” Manfra said. “The skills children have when they start kindergarten affect their trajectories through early elementary school; therefore, it’s important that children start with as many skills as possible.”

Previous research has shown that, in low-income families, parents often think children’s educations are the responsibility of teachers, while teachers expect parents to teach some essential skills at home, Manfra said.

These low-income children aren’t learning math skills anywhere because parents think the children are learning them at school, and teachers think they’re learning them at home,” Manfra said. “This is a problem because it gives parents and teachers the idea that it’s not their responsibility to educate the children, when it’s everyone’s responsibility. This is problematic because, when the children enter kindergarten and are at lower math levels, they don’t have the foundational skills needed to set them on paths for future success.”

Parents and teachers should integrate counting into all aspects of children’s daily activities so they can master the skill, Manfra said.

You can learn anything anywhere, and this is very true for counting,” Manfra said. “When adults read books with children, they can count the ducks on the page. They might count the leaves that fall to the ground outside or the number of carrots at lunchtime.”

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. The study, “Associations between Counting Ability in Preschool and Mathematic Performance in First Grade among a Sample of Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Children,” will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.

There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education

Related:

Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success                                                                                  https://drwilda.com/tag/formula-written-for-math-success/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                 http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                   https://drwilda.com/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?

10 Oct

Moi wrote in Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success:

Math is important for a number of reasons.

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement

Math improves your skills:

  • Critical Thinking Skills

  • Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills

  • Problem Solving Skills

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

Business and Commerce

Actuarial Sciences

Medicine

http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

In Perhaps the biggest math challenge is how to teach math, moi said:

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.

There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/perhaps-the-biggest-math-challenge-is-how-to-teach-math/

https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/

Jacob Vigdor wrote the interesting Education Next article, Solving America’s Math Problem:

American public schools have made a clear trade-off over the past few decades. With the twin goals of improving the math performance of the average student and promoting equality, it has made the curriculum more accessible. The drawback to exclusive use of this more accessible curriculum can be observed among the nation’s top-performing students, who are either less willing or less able than their predecessors or their high-achieving global peers to follow the career paths in math, science, and engineering that are the key to innovation and job creation. In the name of preparing more of the workforce to take those jobs, we have harmed the skills of those who might have created them. Although there is some evidence of a payoff from this sacrifice, in the form of marginally better performance among average students, some of the strategies used to help these students have in fact backfired.

To some extent, the nation has reduced the costs of this movement through immigration. Foreign students account for more than half of all doctorate recipients in science and engineering, two-thirds of those in engineering. Many of these degree recipients leave the country when they finish, however, limiting their potential benefit to native-born Americans. Immigration policy reform that emphasizes skills over traditional family reunification criteria, much like the policies in place in Australia, Canada, and other developed nations, could change this pattern.

A second possible policy option would be to implement a curricular reform more radical than tinkering with the timing of already existing courses. Many schools have adopted the so-called “Singapore math” model, which emphasizes in-depth coverage of a limited set of topics. There are concerns, however, regarding whether a curriculum developed in a different cultural and educational context could produce similar results here. Singapore’s public schools, for example, use a year-round calendar, obviating the need to review basic subjects after a summer spent out of the classroom. Evidence also indicates that Singapore’s teachers have a firmer grasp of math than their American counterparts.

The United States need not import its science and engineering innovators, however. It need not borrow a faddish curriculum from a foreign context. And it need not sacrifice the math achievement of the average student in order to cater to superstars. It need only recognize that equalizing the curriculum for all students cannot be accomplished without imposing significant lifelong costs on some and perhaps all students.

Curricular differentiation might, for its part, exacerbate test-score gaps between moderate and high performers, if high performers move ahead more quickly. A narrow-minded focus on the magnitude of the gap, however, can lead to scenarios where the gap is closed primarily by worsening the performance of high-achieving students—bringing the top down—without raising the performance of low-achieving students. Society’s goal should be to improve the status of low-performing students in absolute terms, not just relative to that of their higher-performing peers. A growing body of evidence suggests that this type of improvement is best achieved by sorting students, even at a young age, into relatively homogenous groups, to better enable curricular specialization. Recent results from Chicago, cited above, provide evidence that differentiating the high school mathematics curriculum can have long-run benefits, even for students assigned to remedial coursework.

Not all children are equally prepared to embark on a rigorous math curriculum on the first day of kindergarten, and there are no realistic policy alternatives to change this simple fact. Rather than wish differences among students away, a rational policy for the 21st century will respond to those variations, tailoring lessons to children’s needs. This strategy promises to provide the next generation of prospective scientists and engineers with the training they need to create jobs, and the next generation of workers with the skills they need to qualify for them. http://educationnext.org/solving-america%E2%80%99s-math-problem/#.UG25FCk_6rE.email

One way of looking at Vigdor’s conclusions is to ask whether high performance preschool programs and early intervention can affect student achievement?

Moi wrote in Oregon State University study: Ability to pay attention in preschool may predict college success:

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:

Preschool is a portal to the continuum of life long learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner are reporting in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/early-learning-standards-and-the-k-12-contiuum/

Jonathan Cohn’s study about the value of early learning is described in Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’:

Jonathan Cohn reports about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the Nw Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.

APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

https://drwilda.com/2012/08/08/oregon-state-university-study-ability-to-pay-attention-in-preschool-may-predict-college-success/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                     http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                 https://drwilda.com/