Report card time — for schools

02/18/2011 8:58 AM |

The state education department has released report cards for all New York schools for the 2009-2010 school year.

The reports include math and English test scores for grades 3-8; graduation rates for freshmen who entered high school in 2005 and were scheduled to graduate in 2009: and whether a school “failed to make adequate yearly progress” and thus was placed on a schools in need of improvement, or SINI, list.

The reports also include previously unreleased data such as Regents and other test results by district and school.

Officials note that before last school year the state raised the English Language Arts and Math “cut scores” for the basic and proficient performance levels.

“Raising the cut scores in this manner caused a statewide drop in the percent of students scoring at proficiency levels 3 and 4,” officials said.

How did your child’s school do?

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  • National math test scores continue to be disappointing. This poor trend persists in spite of new texts, standardized tests with attached implied threats, or laptops in the class. At some point, maybe we should admit that math, as it is taught currently and in the recent past, seems irrelevant to a large percentage of grade school kids.

    Why blame a sixth grade student or teacher trapped by meaningless lessons? Teachers are frustrated. Students check out.

    The missing element is reality. Instead of insisting that students learn another sixteen formulae, we need to involve them in tangible life projects. And the task must be interesting.

    A Trip To The Number Yard is a math book focusing on the building of a bungalow. Odd numbered chapters cover the phases of the project: lot layout, foundation, framing, all the way through until the trim out. The even numbered chapters introduce the math needed for the next stage of building and/or reviews the previous lessons.

    This type of project-oriented math engages kids. It is fun. They have a reason to learn the math they may have ignored in the standard lecture format of a class room.

    If we really want kids to learn math and to have the lessons be valuable, we need to change the mode of teaching. Our kids can master the math that most adults need. We can’t continue to have class rooms full of math drudges. Instead, we need to change our teaching tactics with real life projects.

    Alan Cook
    info@thenumberyard.com
    http://www.thenumberyard.com