garddwr Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 I'm not familiar with the elementary program, I inherited an entire set of the UCSMP secondary series --I think first edition, from the early 90's. I remember using the geometry book in High School and liking it. When I read descriptions of Everyday Math it sounds like a program designed to get kids thinking and figuring things out--which is in my opinion how real learning happens. So why is it so maligned? Does it just not work in a school setting with too many kids in a class and inadequately trained teachers or is there really something seriously wrong with the program? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Murmer Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 Inadequately prepared teachers is a HUGE one. Many teachers are very unfamiliar with the way they were trying to teach the math and were not able to truly help the children move to complete understanding. Many let children sit in ineffective techniques for too long and never really made it automatic. There is also a huge disconnect from children learning the math facts....which are important when children are not getting automatic numeracy understanding which many teachers were not getting children too...so the children had HUGE gaps in basic understandings. Side Rant: Many teachers are teachers not because they were best in math, actually most of the ones I knew HATED math of any kind. I believe that teacher experiences with math really impact how the children in their class do with math. Most teachers love reading and that is why literacy is better taught in schools than math. End rant Another big issue was getting everyone around the "new" math ideas. Many schools weren't able to really show the value of the program and all any one saw was that children were not getting the basic mathematic understandings for their childhood such as borrowing in addition and subtraction. Parents weren't able to help with math which left them out in the cold about what their children were learning. It was a HUGE PR problem in the schools that I worked at that did it...and again if the teachers were not really understanding/liking/able to teach the program then they were not helping the parents see the value of it and many times were agreeing with the parents that hated it. Personally I think that the "new" math programs can be amazing IF everyone is really invested and if the teacher/parents really understand how to get the child to true mathematic understanding and not let them sit on a crutch like counting on fingers or a numberline or what not. Honestly when I taught "new" math I saw children who learned incredible things about math but I also had a teacher helping me in my classroom 2 times a week helping me learn how to move children through the underlying skills until they truly had numeracy understanding and could add or subtract as fast as a child who had memorized the facts...because they had memorized them and internalized it...but many many many of the other teachers I worked with did not have the help and didn't really invest in the program. JMHO Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

MBM Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 I'm not familiar with the elementary program, I inherited an entire set of the UCSMP secondary series --I think first edition, from the early 90's. I remember using the geometry book in High School and liking it. When I read descriptions of Everyday Math it sounds like a program designed to get kids thinking and figuring things out--which is in my opinion how real learning happens. So why is it so maligned? Does it just not work in a school setting with too many kids in a class and inadequately trained teachers or is there really something seriously wrong with the program? EM started out with the best of intentions, developed by some wonderful mathematicians, including Paul Sally, the first director of UCSMP. Initially, it was designed for gifted and talented kids, not everyone. The program was ultimately messed up by meddling educrats (I believe Sally left the project early on -- very unfortunate). This is my understanding of what went wrong. One of Sally's gripes is that elementary teachers are atrociously deficient in their understanding of the fundamentals of mathematics which affects teaching. He offers an improvement program at U of C to teachers who want to improve, though. Read more here: http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=485702&messageID=1490928 http://oilf.blogspot.com/2010/12/favorite-comments-of-10-deirdre-mundy.html Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Crimson Wife Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 Have you ever watched the following video? The biggest problems I have with EDM are that (1) it doesn't place enough emphasis on making sure students master the traditional algorithms and memorize math facts and (2) it encourages the over-reliance on calculators. Calculators should be just a useful tool to speed up solving problems AFTER the student has had sufficient practice with paper-and-pencil calculations. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 More articles, from MathematicallyCorrect: UCSMP [also known as Everyday Mathematics and Chicago Math] Evaluation of Everyday Mathematics If math were a color . . . by Marcia Tsicouris Concerned Parents of Reading sent a Letter to the Massachusetts Board of Education, Feb 13, 2000 Test Scores reported by Concerned Parents of Reading A Florida Parent Speaks about UCSMP Chicago math by Redyarrow Suburban Chicago: Is Your Child Learning Math? From the first article in the list: My recommendation to the State Board of Education is that the K-6 Everyday Mathematics submission be rejected. My recommendation is based on the following: 1) Missing or drastically abridged presentations of the standard algorithms of arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division at all grade levels. 2) Numerous statements in the curriculum contrary to the California Mathematics Standards. Promotion of calculator use contrary to the California Mathematics Standards. 3) The criticisms of the IMAP #4 and CRP #2 reports were insufficiently addressed. 4) The absence of textbooks or materials for students for independent study, in contradiction to a criterion of the California Education Code Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

kiana Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 Lack of drill; lack of standard algorithms; over-reliance on calculators. That said, what I've seen of it looks like it'd work fine when combined with a solid arithmetic program and/or a teacher who really understands the WHYs and also has a goal of fluency for the kids. I'd prefer, though, one program that did both. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Iucounu Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 They use Everyday Math at DS6's public school. I see some good points about it, but agree about the drawbacks. The good includes the spiraling treatment of topics in a way designed to increase number sense and generally a conceptual feel for math. Incidentally, my school district is in Title I status for math, which led to the hiring of a math consultant, who apparently insisted on extra months' worth of drills for the elementary grades. I'd be curious to know whether this was as a result of his feelings on EDM, or just a realization that extra drill would help many students score better on tests, but if they previously weren't it could well be due to the use of EDM. After thinking about it a bit, I agree that focusing less on calculation and more on calculator use is a drawback. It's certainly not a drawback at the upper levels, in terms of developing high-level abstract thinking and problem solving ability, and it'd be a rare calculus or other advanced math student who didn't rely on a calculator some of the time-- but in the lower levels practicing multi-step multiplication, division, etc. (in the right way, and with plenty of conceptual support) can increase number sense IMHO. Also, in general working problems on paper increases attention to detail and error-trapping skills that are very important, and in the earlier years what is there to do but arithmetic operations? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

garddwr Posted November 9, 2011 Author Share Posted November 9, 2011 I can see that calculator use would be a real drawback in the elementary grades. Does anyone have any specific experience/feedback on the secondary series beginning with Transition Mathematics? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted November 9, 2011 Share Posted November 9, 2011 When I read descriptions of Everyday Math it sounds like a program designed to get kids thinking and figuring things out--which is in my opinion how real learning happens. So why is it so maligned? Because in math, just knowing the concept is not sufficient - the student must also be trained to become proficient in applying the concept and performing the calculations quickly and accurately. This requires a lot of practice. By encouraging calculator use and by not teaching standard algorithms, the students do not develop proficiency in actually doing math. This poses a huge problem in algebra and higher math - because, after all, if there are just symbols, the calculator is useless and you must be capable of doing all manipulations by hand. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

AK_Mom4 Posted November 10, 2011 Share Posted November 10, 2011 We've been thru the Everyday Math program and survived. DS20 was in the first class to go thru it from Kindergarten thru 6th grade. He's naturally very good in math and as fortunate in that his teachers had all been recently trained in the program because it was just launching. He did fine and had no trouble transitioning to pre-algebra in 7th grade. DD17 - well, not so good. She had a pair of teachers in 3rd/4th who were new to the district and didn't *get* EM. As a result, DD17 didn't get the drill and the reinforcement that DS20 got. She had a more difficult time because she never really got multiplication/division down properly and struggled. And it's not because she isn't good in math - this year she is teaching herself calculus from a college level text and is doing really well. I think the flaw with EM is that it is hard to teach. Teachers have to be trained properly in HOW to teach it and it really shouldn't be *tweaked*. If the school cuts corners on materials or tries to cut costs on the teacher training = or if you just get a new teacher who isn't "with it", then the program is a flop. There is a rather painful debate going on here because math scores are dropping in spite (or because of) the EM program. There's been a lot of $$$ sunk into it in the last 15 years and they hate to throw more $$$ at it. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Halcyon Posted November 10, 2011 Share Posted November 10, 2011 (edited) Have you ever watched the following video? The biggest problems I have with EDM are that (1) it doesn't place enough emphasis on making sure students master the traditional algorithms and memorize math facts and (2) it encourages the over-reliance on calculators. Calculators should be just a useful tool to speed up solving problems AFTER the student has had sufficient practice with paper-and-pencil calculations. After watching a bit of that video (need to watch the rest, kids were noisy!) I thought the TERC approach seemed rather advanced--waaay too lengthy for every day use, but certainly interesting. And again, the EM approach to multidigit multiplication (partial products) is one that SM demonstrates, and wants kids to understand, but it's not their "main" approach. I agree that the traditional algorithms must be mastered. Edited November 10, 2011 by Halcyon Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Nan in Mass Posted November 11, 2011 Share Posted November 11, 2011 I have a few who did it. Oldest had it starting in 2nd or 3rd. It sounds great on paper, but it has some major problems. The teachers who understood math were able to teach it well and wound up with students who really understood math. The teachers who just memorized the algorithms and didn't really understand how math works could not teach it. At all. Unfortunately, there were only a few elementary school teachers in our system who were able to teach it successfully. My other complaint is the standard algorithm one. My sons only did multiplication using the lattice system, which works but requires way too much writing to be practical. He had a third grade teacher who understood math and insisted that all the students in third grade, whether hers or not, memorize their facts tables. Even so, this math program significantly contributed to his deciding not to go to engineering school and instead going into plumbing. He felt very insecure about his math. (The regional high school had to do extra tutoring to get the algebra students from our system up to speed on the basics.) He later took math at cc and went to engineering school, but even so, he struggled for the first two years until he finally realized what we had been telling him for ages - that he was really especially good at math. The middle one had EM from the beginning. We pulled him out of school at the beginning of 5th grade and he was one huge mass of misconceptions about math. It took me years to straighten it all out. We tried Saxon for a year (good because it taught him the standard algorithms, bad because he gained absolutely no understanding of math outside that particular math book). I backed him up to Singapore's Primary Math 3 for 6th grade. He did Singapore until senior year of high school when he took pre-calc at the community college. The youngest did math at home with me. I made up my own math until he was 7, when he began PM2. All I can say is - thank goodness for Singapore. My neices and nephews did EM in school and did just fine, but their father is a mathematician and the family lives, breathes, and eats math. The oldest was able to be banker for Monopoly when he was 5. For them, which math program doesn't matter at all. Nan Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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