Friday, April 27, 2007

To the Parents of Math Investigations Students-- Wait until High School

I have news for all you parents with kids in elementary and middle school--just wait until your kids get to high school. Virtually unmentioned in all the uproar about Investigations is the use of "Connected Math" in the high schools. I don't know how many use it, but Lone Peak High School uses this curriculum for at least one of their Pre-Calculus math classes and at least one of their Calculus math classes. This curriculum seems very similar to the Investigations method. The kids are supposed to figure out fairly sophisticated higher math concepts by discovery and trial and error using ridiculous story problems (in my opinion).

To top it all off, some of the classes don't use a book, and those that do have a book use one that has zero explanation for any of the concepts. That's zip, nada, zilch, nothing. So if the teacher doesn't take time to explain, or doesn't explain the concepts adquequately, you are sunk. And they'll fall farther and farther behind. My son's class didn't use a book, so I went to Deseret Industries and found a few texts that we could use, that had explanations, practice problems, etc. Things got so bad that I couldn't even figure out what the concept was they were trying to teach (and the teacher wouldn't tell them), so there was no way I could even supplement at home.

I don't know if other high schools in the district use this curriculum, so I don't know how Lone Peak compares with other in that regard. But I do know that Lone Peak's passing rate for the AP Calculus A/B test was 55%, 10% lower than the next lower school in the district, and 21% lower than the district average, and the passing rate for the AP Calculus B/C test was 56%, 24% lower than the next lowest school and 21% lower than the district average. By comparison, Pleasant Grove's passing rate was 96% and 91% respectively. Anyone know what any of the other high schools use? If not, you probably want to find out!

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