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Friday, November 21, 2014

Finally: Spring assessments decided

The Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) would like to share the latest information from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) informing educators across state on the new spring 2015 summative assessments. 

MDE has listed three key points:
  • MEAP is replaced by the M-Step (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) test.
  • Both Michigan developed content as well as Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) content will be included on the Spring 2015 assessment.  
  • The deadline for schools to apply for a  paper/pencil waiver is today,  November 21, 2014.
The mathematics (grades 3-8) assessment will include a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), a classroom activity, and a performance task.

The mathematics for grade 11 assessment will include ACT, WorkKeys, and M-Step summative assessments.  The mathematics portion of the assessment program will also contain content from the SBAC plus Michigan developed field tested items that will include a CAT, a classroom activity and a performance task*.

Due to time concerns and restrictions for the 11th grade assessment, the Performance Tasks and their accompanying classroom activities will be recommended but not required for 11th graders.

To learn more please peruse the M-Step Assessment Transition document.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fluency Without Fear: Research Evidence on the Best Ways to Learn Math Facts

By Jo Boaler
Professor of Mathematics Education, co-founder youcubed
with the help of Cathy Williams, co-founder youcubed, & Amanda Confer
Stanford University.

A few years ago a British politician, Stephen Byers, made a harmless error in an interview. The right honorable minister was asked to give the answer to 7 x 8 and he gave the answer of 54, instead of the correct 56. His error prompted widespread ridicule in the national media, accompanied by calls for a stronger emphasis on ‘times table’ memorization in schools. This past September the Conservative education minister for England, a man with no education experience, insisted that all students in England memorize all their times tables up to 12 x 12 by the age of 9. This requirement has now been placed into the UK’s mathematics curriculum and will result, I predict, in rising levels of math anxiety and students turning away from mathematics in record numbers. The US is moving in the opposite direction, as the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) de-emphasize the rote memorization of math facts. Unfortunately misinterpretations of the meaning of the word ‘fluency’ in the CCSS are commonplace and publishers continue to emphasize rote memorization, encouraging the persistence of damaging classroom practices across the United States.

Read more on how to develop fluency effectively...