Math Results Spinning in Prince William
Today's WAPO article "Pr. William Pupils Still Grapple With Math Test" appears to be a masterful exercise in the "spin", by Prince William County. Essentially, the "Math Investigations" program introduced last year amidst wide derision by Parents and Teachers has failed to produce any metrics of success. Zero - and in fact partially negative - progress in improving 3rd grade math performance for yet another year.
Take note, Loudoun County Public Schools(LCPS) - as Edgar Hatrick (LCPS Superintendent) answered our question a year ago when asked about Math Investigations in Loudoun - "we are evaluating the use of Math Investigations..." Well, it seems evaluation period is over, based both on the experience of parents and children we know in Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William, and on reports and metrics such as the WAPO article describe.
The "spin", however, is swirling faster than the center of TS Hannah today. The article quotes "many" education experts and area school officials "hailing" Investigations, while "some" parents and educators "deriding" it. Our informal surveys of online and offline response to the program have these measures reversed, with "most" parents and educators solidly in the camp of derision. Prince William school officials said "it was an accomplishment that the overall percentage of proficient and advanced students stayed flat...because new programs often result in sudden drops". (Cue pause of disbelief while your mind wraps itself around this nonsense.) Such an "accomplishment" of "no change at all" reminds me of my teenage lifeguard test - tread water and don't drown for 30 minutes, and you pass.
A spokeswoman for Pearson (publishers of the Investigations program material) said "if Investigations were not successful, why would Pearson continue publishing it year after year after year?". Simple answer - it's just business. Ask the cigarette manufacturers the same question - "if smoking actually kills you, why would we keep selling cigarettes year after year?". Because a lot of money is to be made.
Here's an interesting quote regarding Loudoun, from the Teachers.net bulletin board - " I talked to a 3rd grade teacher from a school in Loudoun who was told to be doing "full investigations" if asked. However, the teacher told me they SUPPLEMENTED 75 percent of the year and did MI only 25 percent. The admin said you do what you got to do to pass that test. They got 94 percent and they really didn't do Math Inv. but they have to pretend they did!! "
Keep supplementing, and stop pretending