BCSD Facts Reviewed

We applaud the Blaine County School District for updating their website with current information about the new math program. Last week, we really had to dig on the BCSD website to find information regarding the math adoption process even though the textbooks were approved back in June, 2011 (see section XII.b.).

A few things to keep in mind when reviewing the information the publisher provided the district about Investigations:  

  • According to the U.S. Department of Educationno valid math study showing the effectiveness of Investigations meet evidence standards.
  • Investigations’ reports do not indicate to what extent schools supplemented the curriculum.
  • Investigations, Second Edition has only been in schools for 3 years.

Does 3 years of data constitute a track record?
Are we joining an experiment in progress? You Decide.

One document we did not see on the district’s Math Adoption process page was Assumptions Regarding Selection of Textbook Series, Math Task Force Meeting: January 4, 2011. The Pro’s and Con’s of the textbooks are an interesting read.

The BCSD’s website lists several school districts using Investigations. There are several reports, supplied by Investigations, showing data from these school districtcalling them “proven effective.”

Within a short period of time, we have uncovered conflicting information on three of the schools referenced. Our independent research shows that the information represented in Investigations’ charts and graphs appear to be selective and misleading. When reviewing Investigations’ studies, it is interesting to note the following:

  • Sample sizes are sometimes small: Talawanda, OH Investigations chart.
  • Apples to oranges? Sometimes several grades data are used, others time only a single varying grade.
  • Scale of graphs visually show growth, but actual percents decrease (Rapid City Area School District).

If we are misreading this data presentation, please let us know in your comment below!

A sampling from the BCSD website of school districts using Investigations:

Rapid City Area School District, South Dakota

Can anyone make sense of the data represented in this report: Rapid City, SD Report? On page 3 under the 3rd grade data, the graph shows 49% visually represented as larger than 68%??? The narrative references 7 years of results, but the data only shows 3 years. Can someone please explain these apparent discrepancies to us?

Prince William County School District, VA

Although TERC Investigations promotes this district as “proven effective.” The reality is TERC Investigations will no longer be used at Prince William County Public Schools beginning in 2012.

Parents, educators, mathematicians, scientists, and other PW county citizens who are concerned about quality mathematics education united to remove Investigations from their school. The district is currently reviewing new math textbooks and Investigations is NOT being considered. The elementary review committee consists of 32 teachers, 9 parents, 1 community member, 5 specialists, and 3 administrators from 35 schools. For their K-5 program, they will be reviewing the following textbooks approved by the Virginia Board of Education:

Math Expressions 2009
enVision Math 2012
Virginia Everyday Mathematics 2007
Virginia Math Connect 2009

Until the new textbooks can be adopted and to ensure adequate coverage of math standards, the school district will be providing teachers with a supplemental pacing guide. This guide provides a timeline for teachers to follow to ensure that all of the Standards of Learning (SOL) have been taught prior to the Virginia SOL Test.  Teachers are also provided supplemental lessons from various other sources to support objectives that are not covered fully in Investigations.

To review this information first hand, go to these links:

PWC Education Reform
Concerned Parent’s website
Parent’s online petition to remove Investigations
School’s website about new textbook
School’s pacing guide and supplementation

Talawanda School District, Oxford, Ohio

In the report on the BCSD website, the Investigations study focused on 4th grade data. But when you look the 5th grade data, from the year before Investigations 2nd edition was implemented to now, the numbers paint a very different picture. We have included data from reading and science to demonstrate the growth in these subjects in contrast to the lack of growth in mathematics.

(data compiled from reports listed on Talawanda School District’s website)

1 Comment

Filed under Education, News

One response to “BCSD Facts Reviewed

  1. Jaime S.

    It looks as if the Rapid City graph is following students through their grades. Children that started in third grade in 2003 are depicted in yellow. You can follow their progress through 5th grade by looking at the yellow bar graph. The children that started 3rd grade in 2004 are in pink and so on. The 7th year is referring to the grade the 2003 students would be in at the end of the study. I hope they (Investigations “TERC”) are better at presenting math than statistical reports.

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