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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

La. teachers: Math instruction needs improvement

"Louisiana educators are calling for changes in math instruction based on a report that shows students in the state are falling behind their peers in other parts of the country." summarizes Amanda McElfresh, education watchdog reporter.


The report was compiled by two statewide math educator groups, as well as the Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy at Louisiana State University.

According to statistics provided in the report, about 42 percent of fourth-grade students, and 34 percent of eighth-grade students in the United States, are considered proficient in math based on standardized tests. In Louisiana, the figures are even lower — 27 percent of fourth-graders, and 21 percent of eighth-graders — were categorized as proficient.

In addition, only about half of high school students in Louisiana have mastered all of the skill areas in algebra and geometry, according to end-of-course data in the report.

“I think one of the problems that I saw was having a coherent progression of the mathematics,” said Nell McAnelly, co-director of the Cain Center. “There were too many times where there were gaps in student education, where they didn’t master something before moving on ... I think there have been cases of re-teaching things, or having big gaps, and we weren’t teaching in a developmental fashion so that students were able to progress and master the material and understand it as they move forward.”

Penny Gennuso, president of the Louisiana Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, said the research has shown the importance of establishing a strong foundation in basic math skills before teachers and students move on to more advanced concepts.

Source: Opelousas Daily World