Summit schools focus on math scores |

Summit schools focus on math scores

Mille Hamner

One look at Colorado’s 10th-grade students’ performance on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) math test is cause for concern throughout the public education system. Little progress has been made statewide in this critical subject area. The percentage of students throughout the state who score proficient or advanced has not improved very much over the past three years of math CSAP testing. Although somewhat better than Colorado’s averages and reflecting some progress over the years of testing, Summit School District’s 10th-grade Math CSAP scores leave much room for improvement.

Even when factoring out students who are not yet proficient in English and students who are working on individualized education plans (IEP’s), a large percentage of Summit School District students perform in the partially proficient category on this exam.When reviewing this CSAP test more closely, we find that students who enter the 10th grade ready for algebra II are more likely to master this test at the proficient or advanced level. Interestingly enough, this level of mathematics study used to be for students who elected more challenging courses later in their high school career. The CSAP test raises the bar for mathematics competence by the tenth grade and for all students. We know that to be prepared to successfully tackle this level of mathematics by the 10th grade, our students must begin as early as preschool and kindergarten to understand complex mathematical concepts.

Further, the CSAP test requires much more than correct computation to score at the proficient and advanced levels.To do so requires students to solve complex problems and to explain their problem solving rationale in writing.To better prepare our elementary children for mathematics success, our Mathematics Curr-iculum Team is recommending the addition of a new program for grades K-5 that balances computation skills with problem solving and that incorporates and builds annually upon all six math standards.

This program, “Investigations,” has been piloted in all of our six elementary schools this year.This program is aligned well with the new program adopted at the middle school this year, “Connected Math.” With this renewed focus on research-based strategies for teaching mathematics, we are confident that our students will benefit.Dr. Millie Hamner is the superintendent of schools. She can be reached at (970) 668-3011.

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