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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MEAP allowable and assessed content for 2012-14

A new document has been created using the MDE Crosswalks for GLCE-CCSSM alignment. Educators can use this document to determine the allowable content for assessment on the math MEAP through 2014.
Last year, the MDE released a memo explaining that only content that falls in both the GLCE and CCSSM will be assessed on all future math MEAPs.
Start your planning today.

Smaller class size matters most in early elementary

Small class sizes are crucial for learning at the younger grades, but may be less important as children mature, according to a new study.
The report, called "Smart Class-Size Policies for Lean Times" and released in March by the Southern Regional Educational Board provides 4 major recommendations
  • States should maintain smaller classes where the research shows academic benefit –– pre-K through third grade and for certain groups of students, including students at risk of academic failure.
  • If class size is increased at any grade level, states should require schools to monitor individual student achievement in those grades continuously to reduce the chances of failure.
  • As new measures of teacher effectiveness are implemented, state leaders need to study the relationships between class size, teacher effectiveness and student performance to determine how to adjust class size and leverage academic gains.
  • States need to inform the public about their class-size policies, particularly when they or their legislatures contemplate changing them.

Free Webinar: Designing Lessons for Common Core Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a unique opportunity to increase the rigor in schools and classrooms—if teachers are able to design effective lesson plans aligned with the new standards. This webinar focuses on meeting the instructional demands of  Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).

You will learn:

  • The instructional shifts required by the CCSSM

  • A process to follow when designing CCSSM lessons

  • How to effectively incorporate current school/district resources

  • How to effectively incorporate the CCSS Mathematical Practices into lessons

Presenter Amber Evenson, McREL lead consultant for curriculum and instruction,  works with schools, districts, and state agencies to improve teacher pedagogy and student achievement and to implement Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. She has presented at mathematics conferences throughout the country and previously held positions as a mathematics teacher, instructional coach, and educational consultant.

Watch the webinar.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

High School Statistics and Probability - how it flows

A draft of the learning progression for HS Statistics and Probability has been released. 

Curious about how to cluster and sequence student learning for this Conceptual Category? Check out how the progression guides us to help students rise to the Stats and Prob bar.

In high school, students build on knowledge and experience described in the 6-8 Statistics and Probability Progression. They develop a more formal and precise understanding of statistical inference, which requires a deeper understanding of probability. Students learn that formal inference procedures are designed for studies in which the sampling or assignment of treatments was random, and these procedures may not be informative when analyzing non-randomized studies, often called observational studies. For example,
a random selection of 100 students from your school will allow you to draw some conclusion about all the students in the school, whereas taking your class as a sample will not allow that generalization.

Probability is still viewed as long-run relative frequency but the emphasis now shifts to conditional probability and independence, and basic rules for calculating probabilities of compound events. 

Assessment development and review opportunity

The Bureau of Assessment and Accountability (BAA) would like to let Michigan educators know about the opportunity to be involved in the development of Michigan statewide assessments, including the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), MEAP-Access, MI-Access, the Michigan Merit Examination (MME), the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), and the new Michigan Interim Assessments (K-12). If you are interested in applying to be an item writer, passage writer, and/or review committee member, please complete the online application.
A link to the BAA Committee Participation Application can also be found on any of the Michigan assessment webpages:
Please note there is no application deadline for these Michigan assessment development opportunities – BAA staff periodically reviews applications for different Michigan-specific opportunities throughout the year. To ensure we have complete information in our new database, we are requesting that all applicants complete the new/revised application, even if you have previously applied for item writing or review committee participation.

Please email us at or call 877-560-8378 and select the appropriate menu option.

Early Predictors of High School Mathematics Achievement: Fractions and division


Mastery of fractions and early division is a predictor of students' later success with algebra and other higher-level mathematics, based on a study done by a team of researchers led by a Carnegie Mellon University professor.

That means more effective teaching of the concepts is needed to improve math scores among U.S. high school students, which have remained stagnant for more than 30 years.
The study, called "Early Predictors of High School Mathematics Achievement," was published recently in Psychological Science, and the lead researcher was Robert Siegler, a professor of cognitive psychology at CMU whose work focuses on children's mathematical and scientific thinking.

"This has really important policy implications. Everyone is aware that overall U.S. math achievement isn't very good in relative terms or compared to other parts of the world. But there has been disagreement on what we need to focus on in math education," Mr. Siegler said. "This shows we really need to focus on whole number division and fractions and teaching them better than we are currently doing."

Mr. Siegler said the changes in math education need to take place at the universities that train teachers, in professional development programs for current math teachers and in the elementary classrooms where students are learning fractions and early division concepts.
The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation, noted that math scores on national standardized tests among U.S. high school students have not improved in three decades and are significantly behind those in countries such as China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Canada at a time when math proficiency is a requirement for many jobs.

It also noted that students who "start ahead in math generally stay ahead" and that those who "start behind generally stay behind" and it looked to find the reason.

Mr. Siegler's team of eight researchers hypothesized that 10-year-olds' knowledge of fractions would predict their algebra knowledge and overall mathematics achievement at age 16, even after statistically controlling for other factors such as general intellectual ability and family income and education.

The hypothesis came from earlier work that Mr. Siegler did in 2006-08 as a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, which suspected a link between fractions mastery and success in algebra and other higher level math courses.

The research team set out to examine mathematical knowledge in students from fifth grade through high school. It used two previous studies, one from the United Kingdom that provided a sample of 3,677 children born in the U.K. in a single week in 1970 and one from the United States that provided a sample of 599 children.

The children in the U.K. study were tested in 1980 when they were 10 and again in 1986 when they were 16. The U.S. children were tested in 1997, when they were 10 to 12 years old and again in 2002, when they were 15-17.

In the U.K. data, fractions knowledge at age 10 was the strongest math predictor of algebra knowledge at age 16 and overall math achievement. Results were similar in the U.S. data.
The study said a likely reason for U.S. students' weakness in fractions and division could be linked to their teachers' "lack of a firm conceptual understanding" of the concepts, citing several other studies in which many American teachers were unable to explain the reasons behind mathematical solutions, while most teachers in Japan and China were able to offer two or three explanations.

"Any effort to improve the children's understanding without improving the teacher's understanding is doomed to fail," Mr. Siegler said.

He said one change that could be made at the university level would be to have elementary math teachers focus more on courses that will help them to understand elementary math rather than requiring them to take high-level math courses that don't apply to elementary school.

Mr. Siegler said he expects the study's funders to promote the changes.
Rob Ochsendorf, program officer for special education research at the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Special Education Research, said of the study: "The results provide important cues to educators and researchers regarding the skills that are ripe for intervention in order to improve overall mathematics in the U.S."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference invite

The 2012 Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference  is being held Wednesday-Thursday, August 1,2 at TraverseCity West Senior High School, with the pre-conference institutes being held on Tuesday, July 31. 

We are very excited to hear from our two keynote speakers.  Dr. Hank Kepner, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who is a former president of NCTM, will be speaking on Wednesday.  On Thursday, we have Dr. Bill McCallum, from the University of Arizona, who is the lead writer of the Common Core State Standards, speaking via Skype. 

For our pre-conference institutes, you will be able to choose 2 of the following 4 half day options. More information on each session is available at
  • Beth Herbal-Eisenmann, from MSU, presenting on productive and powerful discourse for high school
  • Maria Anderson, from Muskegon Community College, presenting on using technology in the mathematics classroom
  • Hank Kepner, former NCTM president, presenting on reasoning and sense-making- 1 session for elementary and 1 for secondary
  • Pamela Cunningham, from Monroe Intermediate School District, presenting on meeting the needs of struggling students
You can view the schedule of sessions for the 2-day conference and see the descriptions of each session. There are sessions devoted to the CCSS, Smarter Balanced (including a session from Vince Dean from the Michigan Department of Education with the latest information), integrating technology, meeting the needs of struggling students, and much, much more!

Registration forms and online registration as well as hotel information (including a special deal with Great Wolf Lodge) are also available at this site, as is information about several incentives.  Questions can be directed to Kevin Dykema, conference chair.

We hope to see you in beautiful Traverse City this summer!

The 2012 MCTM Conference Committee

Your district's data is needed!

Taking the next step to be prepared for the new Smarter Balanced Assessments in 2014-15.
The Michigan Department of Education’s Technology Readiness Team would like to thank all school districts that have entered their data into the Technology Readiness Tool. Michigan is leading the nation for districts participating with over 200 districts (25% of our total districts), which is due to your hard work! We appreciate your efforts.
For those districts who were not able to enter their information during the spring collection window, SBAC has extended the deadline to June 30.

After June 30, you can continue to add data to the collection tool over the summer to be ready for the next collection, which will happen in Fall 2012-13. If you have already entered your data, you can make any necessary updates.

This data is being used to obtain minimum requirements for technology readiness in online assessments and connectivity.
Remember, that your participation in the Technology Readiness Project benefits your district in the following ways:
  • Data from the tool can be used to inform budget conversations with your administration and board.
  • This is your opportunity to inform decisions that are being made at the state and national level that will directly impact your district's operations.
  • Data from the tool will be aggregated by ISD/RESA and can inform conversations about the need for regional technology support and collaborations.
  • Data from the tool will be used to inform conversations with policy makers and legislators at the state level about the need for technology funding.
  • Data from the tool can be incorporated into your technology plan required by the State of Michigan.
  • Using the tool will help you to be better prepared when the assessments become available.
  • You will have immediate access to the reports related to your district's readiness by using the tool.
  • The participation of all districts, large and small, is critical to ensure the accuracy of the data we are collecting.
  • Data in this tool may be one consideration in future grant funding.
If you have questions about this project, you can contact the Technology Readiness Team in the following ways:
  • Email your questions to
  • Join the Edmodo group for Technology Readiness by creating a free "teacher" account at, and then joining using code 2w1j71.
Thank you for your assistance.
Linda Beachnau
Technology Readiness Coordinator

How technology is transforming K-12 testing

A new report by the K-12 Center at ETS titled Sea Change in Assessment: How Technology Is  Transforming K-12 Testing was recently released. The report provides updates and details for
• New State Tests for 2014–2015
• Testing That Supports Instruction
• Accessibility for All Children
• Simulations and Serious Games
• Planning for Technology Upgrades
• Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
Check it out to help stay informed.

Smarter Balanced Item Reviewers NEEDED

Apply by June 25, 2012
The Bureau of Assessment and Accountability (BAA) would like to thank Michigan educators for the large number of applications submitted to participate in item writing this summer for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).  Due to the larger than anticipated number of applicants, the item writing contractor, CTB/McGraw Hill, is currently in the process of reviewing applications and we anticipate that applicants will be notified by CTB/McGraw Hill regarding selection decisions shortly.
There are several additional opportunities that will be taking place in the upcoming months for Michigan educators to be involved in SBAC item development-related work.  The BAA is pleased to announce the second of these opportunities, the opportunity to apply to be item reviewers.  Specifically, the item review contractor, Measured Progress, is seeking applications for content reviewers, bias/sensitivity reviewers, and accessibility reviewers for 2013 SBAC English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Common Core State Standards Pilot Testing.
If you have questions regarding this item review opportunity, please contact Erika Bolig, Michigan’s Teacher Involvement Coordinator for SBAC.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free PD for MS Math Teachers

Beginning in the spring of 2012, the (Mi)2 will offer, in collaboration with the Education Development Center (EDC), facilitator trainings for the professional development course “Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Difficulties: Algebraic Expressions & Equations (Grades 6-8).” The trainings will take place in Traverse City on July 23-26, 2012 and in the Upper Peninsula on September 10-13, 2012. The research-based course was developed by the EDC through funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and adapted for Michigan.