Effective Teaching, Rigorous Homework Best Ways to Improve Math Scores

Parents and teachers can’t have it both ways. The cosy, silent agreement whereby there is no homework to bother the parents and no hard questions for the teachers is failing the children of this province.

In case you missed it, 55 per cent of Grade 12 students flunked the standardized provincial math test in 2009. That’s the end-game measurement of how well our education system trained our future engineers, entrepreneurs and accountants, over 13 years, to work with numbers.

From what I hear, the test is not ridiculously challenging — unless you have failed to learn Grade 12 math. The results are pathetic and they speak to a larger problem than one test.

Who is responsible for the results?

I think it falls on all of us.

Math is not one of those subjects that can be mastered in a 45-minute daily class, with much of that time spent on students working on their own to complete math questions. Teaching time should be used for teaching, and the questions should be sent home as homework.

And the so-called math specialists, who are so busy teaching other teachers how to teach math, should be put back into classrooms to get a better feeling for how well all the little minds are absorbing what is being taught, whether it could be taught more effectively, or whether there is too much skipping along through the pages with students failing to grasp key concepts.

The test results — not just for Grade 12 this past year, but in general — have suggested for years that the kids are failing the system, but the system is failing the kids.

Repeatedly dumbing down the curriculum to give better results on standardized tests, but without producing math-literate students, is not the answer.

If Education Department officials are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to improve math scores, they might want to consider some of the homework policies, or guidelines, or whatever they wish to call them, that are floating around the various boards at various grade levels.

Homework is bad. School work — done in school — is good. Parents are reluctant to embrace assignments that could interfere with ballet or hockey practice, or the upcoming family weekend at the cottage. Heaven forbid that junior be required to crack a book en route.

If parents are really opposed to homework, then they are going to have to accept the fact that their children will graduate high school in Nova Scotia with limited math skills.

If they feel otherwise, then it’s time to demand that the Education Department get away from this namby-pamby, homework-is-bad mentality.

The teachers should spent their time teaching, then get the kids back to the kitchen tables where they can drill on the basic operations that provide math foundations.

Sorry to say it, but repetition actually works when it comes to math.

Right now, parents say their children rarely bring home assignments; teachers say parents refuse to have their kids do homework.

They should get together and get their stories straight, because the end result is heading toward a generation of kids who have no hope at becoming engineers, entrepreneurs or accountants.


Source: TheChronicleHerald.ca - http://tinyurl.com/2vf5v26



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This entry was posted in Best of News, Child Behavior & Discipline, Child Brain Development, Early Learning, Parenting & Education, Preschool & Kindergarten, School & Teaching.

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