NEW STANDARDS RESULTS IN LOW MATH
PERCENTILES IN VERMONT
Sixth grade test CAT California Achievement Test scores:
Median National Percentile (MDNP)
1990 1996
Math Computation: 71.6 48.6
Math Concepts and Appl. 89.5 87.4
Total Math: 86.0 70.3
From: Nanny714@aol.com
Date sent: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 14:01:57 -0500 (EST)
To: education-consumers@tricon.net
Subject: Fwd: Math Scores
Our little elementary school in Vermont pioneered and piloted the "New
Standards Project" mathematics initiative. Our elementary mathematics team
leader, was one of three teachers in the nation who sat on the "Governing
Board" of the New Standards Project.
Nancy Hall
Norwich, Vt.
---------------------
Forwarded message:
From: Nanny714@AOL.COM (Nancy Hall)
Sender: EEO-ACT@LIST.UVM.EDU (The Equal Education Opportunity Act)
Reply-to: EEO-ACT@LIST.UVM.EDU (The Equal Education Opportunity Act)
To: EEO-ACT@LIST.UVM.EDU
Date: 97-11-25 11:20:55 EST
Here's an example of the failure of "fuzzy mathemaitcs" and it's stress on
"problem solving" at the expense of "computation." The following are the
California Achievement Test (CAT) scores of my son in the area of
mathematics. The CAT is a norm-referenced objective test measure:
(I don't have results for beginning fourth grade as the Core Knowledge school
didn't test at that time.) All of these tests were given in the first month
of the stated year. Therefore, they are a measure of the knowledge gained in
the previous school year.
The statistic cited is the "national percentile."
3.1
Math Computation: 26
Math Concepts & Appl: 40
Total Math: 38
Thinking skills: 24 correct of possible 41: moderate
The following scores are from fifth grade, the first month after
attending a private Core Knowledge school for one year:
5.1
Math Computation: 59
Math Concepts & Appl: 80
Total Math: 72
Thinking Skills: 45 correct out of possioble 60: High
The next scores are for the sixth grade, first month after spending his
fifth grade year back in public school:
Math Computation: 32
Math Concepts and Appl: 70
Total Math: 52
Thinking Skills: 38 Correct of Possible 60: Moderate
END
If this doesn't tell you that "fuzzy math" and this riduculous way of
attempting to teach "higher order thinking skills" is dumbing-down our kids,
I don't know what will. This is a measure taken on the same kid. And keep in
mind that our elementary school pioneered New Standards Project mathematics.
Our math chair was one of three teachers to sit on the "governing board" of
the New Standards Project. Here's the overall scores for our sixth graders in
mathematics from this year, 1997. Again the tests were administered in the
sixth grade first month:
The statistic given is for the "Median National Percentile (MDNP)":
Math Computation: 41.0
Math Concepts and Appl: 80.0
Total Math: 61.0
Let's take a look at the overall sixth grade scores from 1990, the year
before we became a "New Standards Project" experiment. Here are the summaries
of the 1990 scores for sixth graders:
Median National Percentile (MDNP)
Math Computation: 71.6
Math Concepts and Appl. 89.5
Total Math: 86.0
And here's a look at the summaries of last years sixth graders. The
following summaries are from the sixth grade class, 1996:
Median National Percentiles (MDNP)
Math Computation: 48.6
Math Concepts and Appl: 87.4
Total Math: 70.3
END
I'm telling you folks, if you put the summaries of our sixth grade math
scores on a graph from 1990 to present and you will see a consistent decline
from 1990 to 1997. New Standards Project, math with it's stress on "problem
solving" is not working. Kids need the basics. The CAT test is an objective
norm-referenced test. The New Standards Project Reference exam which the
state has adopted has not been validated as an accurate measure by
credentialed psychometricians. So, the move to use the New Standards
Reference exam as a measurment tool will move us away from "objective"
norm-referenced measures in determining the efficacy of programs and
instruction toward "subjectivity" thus further eliminating accountability to
our kids and taxpayers. Given that our "pioneering" efforts to pilot New
Standards Project mathematical concepts in our little local elementary school
resulted in declines in test scores as measured by an objective
norm-referenced test, I'm sure you can understand my concern that our state
is now buying a measurement instrument whose validity has not been proven, to
"assess" our entire state's school children from this same group causes me,
and many other Norwich parents great concern.
I bring this information forth in an effort to enlighten others. My
intent is not to cause damage to our local school. I believe that there is a
moral obligation to bring this information forward as we are the school that
pioneered and piloted New Standards Project mathematics initiatives. May the
deficiencies which our Norwich children suffer, as a result of this
experiment serve to enlighten others so that the best interests of Vermont
children may be served.
Nancy Hall
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE