Posted by Bonnie on July 10 2007 02:02 AM
This is a district-wide decision. Over the course of years of NCLB, our failing high schools blamed their low scores on the middle schools not teaching to the level that a student has to have entering high school. Of course, the middle schools blamed their low scores on the elementary schools. The scores seem to support this. Math scores do fall way off at the middle school level and never come up.
So the elementary schools have had to come up with action plans. This is where the accelerated math comes in among other things. (Math is not their main priority -- we have many limited English students and the majority of remedial programs target English Language Arts, not math.) After-school tutoring programs have been started much earlier in the year. The district has implemented a program called HOSTS. (Helping One Student To Succeed) Volunteers from the community come to school and help one student one-on-one. But there are so few of us volunteers that, again, only English Language Arts is stressed. (I learned about dyscalculia from the coordinator of the program.)
Our third grade teacher said sheís been told to skip the third grade curriculum completely and start the 4th grade book from the start this year. Last year some of the 2nd grade classes also accelerated to 3rd grade curriculum, but some didnít. Another retired teacher told me that another elementary school in our district has implemented an independent study program in math. Six elementary schools funnel into two middle schools. Iím trying to imagine when all these different teaching methods in the elementary schools hit the middle school.
Many teachers and administrators dislike the Saxon math curriculum taught at our schools. The beginning chapters review to the point of boredom for those who are talented at math. Even my son says there arenít enough practice questions when learning a new concept. With both my son and I being slightly dyscalculic, the constant reviewing and the incremental lessons are actually easy for us to follow on our own. No degree in math is needed to do these lessons. :) But, Iíve noticed gaps. My son struggles with time and there is only one lesson in the entire 4th grade book devoted to time. I just looked through 10 lessons, each having 30 problems and only there were only 2 problems about time. (Rather involved story problems with elapsed time and analog clocks.)
Whatís scary is the majority of the lessons that will be missed by the students in his 3rd grade class are the lessons at the end of the book where most of the new skills are presented. You canít review successfully if you didnít learn it in the first place. (See the top of the thread, we were struggling with the mental math problems until I started back at the beginning of the book and followed the incremental steps that he missed.)
Iím probably the only parent that bought the school math books (on E-bay, one book was 99Ę plus shipping) and continued covering the lessons. But we couldnít cover all 81 lessons in the 6-week break.