A MERGE & PURGE OF K-12 MATH
Take the current math sequence, simplify it, and add in some relevance.
WHAT IT WOULD DO
Many concepts and procedures taught in the traditional Algebra-Geometry-Algebra II sequence have been replaced or improved by computers. Instead, we can teach the same critical thinking skills, but through more modern and practical content.
In this new core sequence, students will also learn a wider breadth of mathematics—the math most relevant for today.
> Condense Algebra II content
> Condense Geometry content
> Add Data Science
> Add Statistics
> Add Mathematical Modeling
> Preserve a path to Calculus
IS ANYONE DOING THIS?
Oregon's current proposal
for their new math sequence would include a 2 + 1 Model, with a two year "merged and purged" core sequence split between Algebra, Geometry, and Data Science / Statistics.
In their third year and beyond, students would then have the option to choose pathways more centered on their interests.
Want to more about the Oregon Mathematics Project?
Figure 2: Long-Term Course Pathway Options
Oregon Department of Education, Aug 2020
SDUSD San Diego Enhanced Mathematics Prioritization for Fall 2020 and Beyond
San Diego Unified School District recently completed prioritizing and cutting their entire math curriculum (Illustrated Mathematics) to open space for new content—and now, to assist teachers in adapting to COVID remote learning.
Learn more about their process below, or contact us so we can connect you with the right people for more detailed questions.
We did it with one of the most widely taught math textbooks,
Big Ideas Math, with counsel from mathematics educators and faculty from the country's top universities.
See our summary report on the exercise to the left.
Click below to access the report's supporting resources, or to try the exercise yourself:
How would this benefit students?
Promotes equity through making universal requirements and preventing the tracking of students.
Allows any student to continue on a path to Calculus or other advanced mathematics.
Does not require a student to choose a career-determining pathway in middle or high school.
Exposes students to a wider variety of mathematics early on, imparting a more holistic education.
Removes unnecessary content that can impede student success or even graduation = better outcomes.
How does COVID-19 affect these plans?
The distance and/or hybrid learning model due to COVID-19 has already presented many challenges for teachers. Given the time constraints presented by distance learning, let alone the lost time in the transition to remote classroom, many teachers have already begun to ‘Merge and Purge’ their own traditional curriculums—simply due to the difficulty of covering the same amount of content traditionally taught in face-to-face settings. This process may inadvertently allow for rethinking our curriculum going forward.
Have you talked with any actual mathematicians about this?
Yes, actually. We sent a 'merge & purge' exercise a number of mathematics professors and statisticians at top Universities around the country. Our current list of topics to condense is the result of combining our own draft and their input, though it is by no means perfect yet. In fact, we encourage you to disagree with us, and if you want to try to the exercise yourself, let us know here—we'd be happy to send it to you.
What do we have to do next?
Fair access to technology in classrooms is crucial to ensure quality implementation of the new curriculum. Proper employment of teaching and learning technology could save precious teaching time and improve clarity of dense materials.
New pedagogical practices must be integrated as an important part of the new curriculum. Our approach requires mathematics educators to transition to a different set of pedagogical practices, different than the prior focus on procedural learning. Extra training might be necessary.
Curriculum changes will require other complementary, system-level reforms. Textbooks, graduation requirements, and college admission standards need to agree with any curriculum change. However, our proposal should side-step some of these constraints by keeping elements of the old sequence. Moreover, it focuses changes on one level of schooling—high school—meaning less stakeholders are necessarily involved to accelerate implementation.