, and Accelerated Math III
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Parent Guide
As part of the shift from the Quality Core Curriculum (QCCs) to the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), the state convened an expert panel of mathematicians, math educators, business people, community members and educators to redesign the math curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade. During this time, the panel reviewed national standardized test scores and analyzed how students in Georgia compared with students from across the U.S. and around the world. The panel looked at how organizations, like the Fordham Foundation, rated the Georgia curriculum and noted that audits of the state math standards found the QCC’s in mathematics to be repetitive, low-level, imprecise and unconnected to success on college readiness exams (SAT/ACT) and higher-level coursework.
The expert panel chose to use more rigorous performance standards written in terms where students not only have to “do” math, but must “apply” it to real world scenarios from a very early age. They also chose to integrate various topics so that students understand the connection among geometry, numbers and operations, algebra, and data analysis. This led Georgia to create new high school courses that blend algebra, geometry and statistics.
You can find the new Georgia Performance Standards for mathematics and the performance tasks at http://www.georgiastandards.org/. Click on MATHEMATICS and then click on Math Frameworks to find the tasks and units.
The basis of the high school curriculum is the Georgia math performance tasks. These are real-life problems that ask the students to apply mathematics concepts. Classroom teachers are doing a variety of things to help the students master the concepts, the skills, and the tasks. One method is facilitated group work, where the teacher assigns a group of students a problem and they work collaboratively to solve the problem. When students have questions, the teacher is right there to assist by reviewing necessary skills and/or concepts to help them be successful. Another method is direct instruction (used less frequently than before), where the teacher uses the interactive white board or other means to demonstrate/model for the students how to solve the problems. Overall, the presentation of the content is based on the Mathematics Instructional Framework, which includes a thorough opening and/or mini-lesson, a well-defined work session, and a meaningful closing to summarize the concepts learned that day. The transition to the standards-based classroom is a work in progress, and teachers are continuing to hone their skills in order to make the shift to a fully operational standards-based classroom in the near future.
3. How does this compare the recently devised national curriculum?
More information regarding the Common Core Standards Initiative can be found at http://www.corestandards.org/.
4. Is there a textbook?
Yes. The district adopted Carnegie Learning’s Georgia Mathematics I and Georgia Mathematics 2 to use with Math I, Math II and Accelerated Math I. Of all the books reviewed, the teacher committee chose the Carnegie Learning resources because they were the best match for the new standards. Although these two textbooks were written for Georgia, the specific math performance tasks are not included in the new text as they are part of the packaged curriculum published by the Georgia Department of Education. Instead, Carnegie Learning provides similar tasks as a presentation of the mathematics content for each unit of study. For Accelerated Math II, the teacher committee selected the Discovering Advanced Algebra textbook published by Key Curriculum Press. This book presents material in an investigative way. Students are able to make connections between mathematical ideas. For Math III, the teacher committee selected Advanced Mathematical Concepts publish by Glencoe, and for Accelerated Math III, the committee selected PreCalculus written by Larson and published by Houghton Mifflin. In addition to using the textbook resource adopted, teachers are also embedding the Georgia DOE Frameworks, which include specific performance tasks, into their daily instruction. Teachers are also working to balance the textbook and the state tasks in order to ensure that students have the support they need for high-stakes tests and sustained understanding of the mathematical concepts.
Leaders and teachers in the Henry County School District have been preparing for this new curriculum for several years. It has been anticipated that students and teachers across the state of Georgia would be challenged with the implementation of the new math curriculum. In order to best prepare, HCSD teachers have been engaged in professional learning and collaborative lesson and assessment design. Teachers are working tasks together and determining how tasks can be broken down into necessary skills that students need to know and be able to do. There is a balanced approach between the tasks students must complete and ensuring students acquire the skills and concepts to be successful. HCSD leaders and teachers recognize the pace and rigor of the course is challenging and will be monitoring implementation closely to inform any adjustments that need to be made.
HCSD is committed to monitoring the implementation of the new curriculum through several different methods. Following the first six weeks of instruction students and teachers were asked to provide feedback on the curriculum, the pacing, learning resources, homework, and where they may need additional support. This data helps to define the on-going professional learning conversations that are taking place among middle and high school teachers and allows us to adjust instruction as needed. In addition to having on-going conversations about student performance, a 20-week district wide diagnostic benchmark assessment in Mathematics I and Mathematics II has been developed to help gauge the progress of students on the concepts taught in these two mathematics courses. This assessment will not count as a grade, but will tell the teacher exactly how well the students are doing and what has to happen next to improve student understanding.
7. Are all school systems in Georgia teaching the new math curriculum?
8. Where can I go to get more information?
Recognizing our parents are partners in any academic endeavor, we have compiled many different resources for your information as well as those that can assist you in supporting your student this year.
You can also enroll your child in a Georgia Virtual School Help course at http://www.gavirtualschool.org/Home/OtherInitiatives/tabid/169/Default.aspx. There is a course for 8th grade remediation for our students who skipped 8th grade math and there is online help to support Math I and an online course for students who just moved into Georgia and are entering Math I not having had the middle school curriculum.