Just read a rambling article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Maureen Dowd that points fingers and doesn’t come to any conclusions. Main point: math ed has been bad in GA for many years so why blame Common Core.
Citing parents’ laments that they wish math could be taught as it was 30 years ago, Dowd asks whether this is really a solution. She states: “But did students learn math more effectively a generation ago? When the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies evaluated numeracy skills of adults in 23 countries, 20 outperformed the United States.”
The study cited aggregates populations from ages 16 to 65. Thus, there are different types of math teaching people were exposed to based on age. However she leaves out this finding, stated in the study: “In the study, people from ages 16-65 in over twenty countries, including the U.S., were given the same exam consisting of math computations and word problems. According to the study, “the percentage of U.S. adults between 55 and 65 years old who scored at the highest proficiency level (4/5) was not significantly different than the international average for this age group.”
She also cites Elizabeth Green’s NY Times article from a few years ago (Why American’s Stink at Math) and pulls this quote:
“The story is the same every time: a big, excited push, followed by mass confusion and then a return to conventional practices. The trouble always starts when teachers are told to put innovative ideas into practice without much guidance on how to do it. In the hands of unprepared teachers, the reforms turn to nonsense, perplexing students more than helping them.”
In other words, the methods of math reform would work if they were only done right–but they’re never done right. There is much to contest there.
Lastly, she talks about Japan’s “integrated approach” to math, which Georgia will emulate. Japan isn’t the only country to take an integrated approach to math in high school; many European countries do this also. But they do it fairly well. The U.S. has done a horrible job of it; one need only look at the integrated approaches used here: IMP, Core Plus, MVP math.
In short: A typical puff piece that refuses to look at research that would upend the opinions expressed in the article.