Does the instruction in Middle
Grades Math Thematics provide an opportunity for students to learn the benchmark ideas
and skills?Numerous sightings were analyzed to determine the instructional
criteria ratings for TYPICAL SIGHTING CHART (Adobe PDF document) The graph below depicts major strengths and weaknesses in the overall instructional
guidance provided by Middle Grades Math Thematics received on each of the 24 instructional
criteria, across all six of the benchmarks used for the evaluation.INSTRUCTION HIGHLIGHTS CHART (Adobe PDF document)
Overall, analysts rated
Each module, or set of lessons, begins with a stated theme that weaves throughout, addresses the content, and concludes at the end of the module. The section overview connects the theme with the math content to be studied in the module. Module topics are interesting, comprehensible, and motivating. Students have the opportunity to think about and discuss the purpose throughout the module. The Teacher’s Resource Book gives a clear discussion of how lessons and activities are intended to flow, how they are connected, and how they proceed from one to the other.
Prerequisite information is available throughout the text and teacher’s
information, but no explicit reference is made to guide teachers or students in using it
to learn benchmark ideas. There are a number of sections in the Teacher’s Resource
Book that alert teachers to commonly held ideas. Some list specific skills with which
students may have difficulty and suggest what the teacher can do to help. There are a few
examples in which
For most of the sampled benchmarks,
One of the goals of the material seems to be to show the utility of mathematics. Problems posed at the beginning of each module justify the content and the purpose of the lessons that follow. Vocabulary is introduced with a written definition, then expressed in several forms and used in application problems. Vocabulary is taught with an emphasis on understanding not just memorization. The mathematics is represented in an accurate and comprehensible manner. Representations for developing geometry benchmarks are clearer for the skill benchmark than for the concept benchmark. Justifications of procedural skills are found in the teacher commentaries and in examples boxes. There are many opportunities to practice the benchmark ideas using familiar as well as nonroutine problems. The application problems require students to use numbers from tables and charts; the questions are interesting and comprehensible.
Instructional Category V
The material provides many opportunities for students to express, justify, clarify, and represent their ideas about the benchmarks. The material provides for feedback, but few suggestions are made to the student or the teacher on how to use responses to diagnose errors or further develop students’ ideas about the benchmarks. Questions do not always help to gauge progress on or encourage revision of specific ideas but tend to be more open-ended. The final project at the end of each unit does provide some opportunity for students to think about the ideas presented in the unit, get feedback from peers, and revise their ideas accordingly.
Instructional Category VI
Instructional Category VII
References to build teacher content understanding are not annotated and provide minimal
information on specific content. However, for the most part, the material does a
satisfactory job of enhancing the learning environment. |