Byline: Gala M. Pierce Daily Herald Staff Writer
About 95 percent of Batavia third- and fifth-graders meet or exceed state standards in math skills - a significant improvement since 1999, when the district first implemented Everyday Mathematics.
The nationally used program developed at the University of Chicago teaches math skills in everyday situations instead of one skill at a time, encouraging students to see the relationships between numbers through games and puzzles.
While stressing the overall program is sound, Batavia Curriculum Director Jan Wright said this week that elementary students still need help learning the basics like computational skills. In addition, low-income, minority or disabled students also score below their peers.
"We feel it has done a lot of good for students, but we need to tweak it a little," Wright said of the Everyday Math program.
Batavia school officials approved using Everyday Math as the primary way to teach the subject in May 1998 after testing the program for a year.
Teachers found it introduced children to concepts earlier, and it encouraged students to analyze numbers rather than just compute them.
Because the program sparked a lot of controversy with parents in St. Charles who were concerned it did not provide enough basic math skills, Batavia board members advised evaluating it periodically. St. Charles parents were eased when students' standardized scores increased.
For the past year, three teachers and Wright have assessed the math program's effectiveness at the elementary level. They examined data from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test and Measures of Academic Progress …