Here is the latest innovation from the Math Department, the secondary Math Pathway. It represents yet another step forward in the inexorable march towards Standardization.
There are some very clear problems with this totally unnecessary rigidity.
First, of course, is the fact that it is unnecessary. Who needed this? Who needs to be told that students are expected to progress from 6th Grade Math to 7th Grade Math to 8th Grade Math? Did we really need a document to inform us of that?
Second, of course, the rigidity. It doesn't allow much room for exception, yet there is ample need for exception. There are students who are working more than one grade level ahead (including - but not limited to - most of the students in APP), but this document doesn't appear to allow for that. There are students taking AP Calculus BC, but this document doesn't appear to allow for that. There are students taking math classes through Running Start, but this document doesn't appear to allow for that. Students at STEM are required to take math through to Calculus, but this document doesn't appear to allow for that. There are students who get math credit for their CTE courses, but this document doesn't appear to allow for that.
The document does make a vague reference to "recommendations for students who could benefit from either additional support or a more accelerated math pathway", but it is inexplicably - and probably intentionally - unclear on those topics.
The document is strangely obscure on some other points as well, such as how, exactly, the placement determination will be made and what, exactly, will be the pathway for Special Education and ELL students. Will these be the classes in Service Schools? Will these be the classes at NOVA and STEM? How rigid is this? What is the value of that rigidity? Who benefits? What does it cost? Who would benefit from a more relaxed process and what would that cost? Why the plug for the Microsoft Math Partnership?
Finally, there is the mention that MAP scores will be part of the secret formula for determining placement in a sixth grade math class. There are a number of people who tell me that the District assured the Board and the public that MAP scores would not be used to determine placement. If anyone can cite that, please let us know where and when that assurance was given. Also, there is the question of whether or not it is appropriate to use the MAP, a formative assessment, for placement. Maybe it is. Maybe only summative assessments should be used for placement.