At the Feb. 13 workshop, the school board will have a discussion to update itself on changes in the math curriculum last semester. It will cover the impact of adopting new math textbooks this school year. Although this change in textbooks is routine, school board president Tricia Hackett said the board will address some concerns over the math curriculum changes’ impact on student performance.
“This is the first year of new math textbooks,” she said. “To coincide with that, there’s the Gradual Release program. The two together has created more comments than the data (on students’ grades) shows.”
Hackett said last semester’s math grades for high school students changed little compared to the previous year’s grades.
The board will also discuss how the math curriculum changes fits in with Common Core Standards, the Gradual Release program and professional development.
Tori Campbell, pre-calculus student and junior, said she personally noticed a large difference in her math classes this year. “The teachers are pretty much like, ‘here, do this yourself,’” she said. “They’ll teach the lesson, and then the homework is completely different.”
However, Hackett said though math grades dropped slightly during the first nine-week grading period, they equalized by the end of the semester. She said that contrary to common belief, changes in the math curriculum did not cause grades to drop much. “Bad rumors travel faster than fact or good rumors,” she said. “Things happen at the same time, and one thing gets blamed.”