Connected Math Prog

Against Connected Math Program (CMP)

Connected Math is Investigations ugly Middle School cousin, and it has been rearing it’s ugly head in PWC Middle Schools.

According to Dr. James Milgram, “The program seems to be based on students constructing their own knowledge and that calculators always be available. This means that

  • standard algorithms are never introduced, not even for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.
  • precise definitions are never given.
  • repetitive practice for developing skills, such as basic manipulative skills is never given. Consequently, in the seventh and eighth grade booklets on algebra, there is no development of the standard skills needed to solve linear equations, no practice with simplifying polynomials or quotients of polynomials, no discussion of things as basic as the standard exponent rules.
  • topics are introduced, usually in a single problem and indirectly.
  • On probability and data analysis a huge amount of time is spent learning rather esoteric methods for representing data, such as stem and leaf plots, and very little attention is paid to topics like the use and misuse of statistics. Statistics, in and of itself, is not that important in terms of mathematical development. The main reason it is in the curriculum is to provide students with the means to understand common uses of statistics and to be able to understand when statistical arguments are being used correctly.

Dr Milgram’s detailed study of CMP, An Evaluation of CMP, can be found here.

Connected Math has no discernible effect on student performance.

So says the What Works Clearinghouse, a division of the US Dept. of Education, in this study.

Connected Math isn’t approved by the VA DOE

Connected Math isn’t approved by the VA Dept. of Education for use in Grades 6 or 8.  While that doesn’t prohibit PWCS from using the program, it does make adopting it as a primary text a more complicated process, assuming the county decides to actually follow state law in selecting the program.  As we saw with Investigations, PWCS staff don’t seem to believe that state statutes actually apply to them, so we should assume they’ll do whatever they can to ensure CMP is selected for use in PWCS Middle Schools.

More Studies on Connected Math

According to this study, by the US Dept. of Education, only 14% of studies conducted on Connected math meet their standards for reliability, and the 14% meet those standards with reservations.

Work Harder – Learn Less. This is the conclusion of Arthur Hu in his assessment of 6th Grade Connected Math, which was published in the October 2003 issue of Education News.  Hu goes on to state that  “I am shocked to realize that the Dale Seymour “Connected Mathematics” is just as harmful for middle school as “Investigations” is for elementary school. It carries on the tradition of nightly homework that is a) hard to figure out b) takes forever to do once you figure it out c) after you’re done you haven’t learned any useful math d) it goes out of the way to make sure the #1 most important method to know is not taught, or allowed.”

Prof. Man Yee Betty Tsang, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University, has completed a number of reviews and assessments of Connected Math.  Reviews for each CMP book are below:

7 Responses to “Connected Math Prog”

  1. Ed Says:

    Ms Knight assured me they would not be pushing for approval of connected math but would be using it as a supplement (which can mean anything).
    I’m guessing they need it because the investigations kids won’t be capable of handling a traditional middle school text.

  2. pwceducationreform Says:

    Unfortunately the textbook adoption period will begin anew next Spring. Recommendations will go to the board in the winter, and the new books will be on students desks in the Fall of 2011. They may not be pushing for CMP now, but will very likely push for it in the coming months.

  3. HoodwinkedByPWCS Says:

    Each middle school teacher in PWCS was already given a copy of the CMP teacher edition – with specific orders to familiarize themselves with it since they’d be greeting the County’s defunct 4th graders in the Fall of 2010 (6th grade). Lest not forget that 6th grade CMP is NOT APPROVED by the VA DOE and then some! Many middle school teachers have no idea what lies ahead for them – 6th graders with a 3rd grade (at best) math education. Speak now or forever hold your …..don’t even think extended math classes will exist by that time – that’s another huge number of positions to cut right there. High School? Don’t even go there – the SAT courses will increase ten-fold by then.

  4. Jack Says:

    Run away from this series as quickly as you can. In 28 years of teaching, this has got to be the worst series to teach to middle school kids. While there are some good activities sprinkled through each book, the main objective of each book is lost in the mind numbing problems. Too much of this curriculum is left up to the student to “discover” on their own. Algorithms are not taught at all. In the book on integers, “Accentuate the Negative,” students must discover how each of the four operations play out. Not so bad for addition, multiplication and division work equally as well, but subtraction is a night mare waiting to happen. If students “discover” the rules wrong, they are screwed for algebra. It is more difficult to unteach a concept than to teach it correctly the first time. I could go on and on but the whole series is a sham, in my oppinion.

  5. Mom2-2 Says:

    Wow! The kids in PWC already have enough trouble with basic math. I can’t imagine what this Connected math thing would do to them.

  6. Kathleen Says:

    Connected Math has been a complete disaster for our school district. Our kids have the lowest test scores and routinely must take remedial mathematics once they hit university or college level. A regional “expert” told me that this program teaches to the “new brain” of the digital era. Obviously my kids have “old brains” since I actually enforce rules that limit screen time.

    I switched to the homeschool curriculum TEACHING TEXTBOOKS and it is a breath of fresh air!

    Just dropped in to check out our school’s math once again and am shocked to see kids reliance on calculators. Connected math makes most kids HATE math and is only relevant to the few puzzle lovers at the top of the class.

    WHAT A MESS! I wonder how many millions have been thrown away on this program?

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