The Mathematics Program Improvement Review: A Comprehensive Evaluation Process for K-12 Schools

The Mathematics Program Improvement Review: A Comprehensive Evaluation Process for K-12 Schools

The Mathematics Program Improvement Review: A Comprehensive Evaluation Process for K-12 Schools

The Mathematics Program Improvement Review: A Comprehensive Evaluation Process for K-12 Schools

Synopsis

Regardless of how well your students are scoring on standardized math tests, test scores can't tell you which aspects of your program are moving students from proficient to advanced and why some students are falling behind. To get a total picture of math learning, hundreds of schools in urban, suburban, and rural districts use the detailed, research-based evaluative process described in this book. An award-winning math educator and textbook author provides you with all the steps you need to review how well your math program stacks up to 10 essential standards. Included are guidelines for forming your math review team, plus all the materials you need to conduct the review, such asQuestionnaires and templates for interviews and classroom observations Forms for compiling ratings and generating a final report Tips and handouts for review team training and practice activities

Excerpt

Accountability is a huge issue in education. Politicians make it the centerpiece of their education policy. School board members say they want their school system run like a business, with each child seen as a profit to the community and no child seen as a loss. As all educators know, this emphasis on measurable success has inspired an increase in standardized testing. In the United States, nearly every state has instituted its own high-stakes testing in mathematics. The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires annual mathematics testing in grades 3 through 8 and sets serious consequences for those schools that do not make adequate yearly progress.

One consequence of this accountability focus is that school officials, parents, and politicians have come to view standardized test scores as perhaps the most important measure of a school's effectiveness. But what do all these test scores really tell us, and how useful are they for schools focused on program improvement? To develop and maintain high-quality academic programs, school personnel need specific information that clarifies what is working and what is not. The standardized test results they receive are reports that compare their students' scores with those of students at other schools or in other districts, other states, and even other nations. In addition, testing companies often provide results as percentile scores based on isolated skills and concepts that have little relationship to state or local objectives.

The data available to the public, such as the mathematics score information depicted in Figure 1.1, are often even more obscure about the strengths and weaknesses of schools and programs. For example, parents trying to decide whether Somerville Elementary or Wilkins Elementary will offer their children the best mathematics instruction would be hard-pressed to make a decision based on the data in these tables or on the accompanying reports' discussion of percentile ranks, scale scores, normal curve equivalents, and grade-level equivalents. What's more, if the principals at somerville or Wilkins were asked to explain what their schools are going to do to move more students from “proficient” to “advanced,” or to reverse the . . .

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