Sunday, October 13, 2013

Integrated math might be key to student achievement

So I just received an email from Debi Mintz, a fellow math instructional coach, sharing an article suggesting that high school should seriously consider integrating their math courses.

Integrated math might be key to student achievement

For some reason, it really struck a chord in me and prompted my following reply. It is really just food for thought from a rambling teacher who was probably just interested in procrastinating from mowing the lawn and washing the car! Here is my contribution to the Integrated Pathway versus Traditional Pathway debate brought upon us by Common Core:

My thought: Regardless of the names used to identify the courses taught in high school, the courses will have to become somewhat integrated in order to incorporate the high school standards on statistics and modeling throughout grades 9, 10, and 11 (in time for the Smarter Balanced test). Waiting for students to take a course specifically on statistics and modeling is not an option. 
Additionally, even in a traditional pathway, integration will naturally occur because...
1.   the Geometry teachers will be expected to incorporate Algebra into their teaching to avoid the Algebra drop-off during the students' one year vacation from algebra.
2.   the Algebra 2 teachers will be expected to incorporate Geometry into their teaching to refresh students' Geometry skills in preparation for the the Smarter Balanced test in Grade 11.
As an uninformed outsider (I am only an elementary coach), integration is going to happen whether we like it or not. The question is how will that integration occur? Will we use traditional textbooks and require teachers to haphazardly infuse their own integration? Or will high schools select textbooks that account for (and incorporate) the integration that naturally must occur, regardless of what the classes are called?

If you are an interested stakeholder, do you have a thought about the matter?