|Does the instruction in Heath
Passport provide an opportunity for students to learn the benchmark ideas and skills?
Numerous sightings were analyzed to determine the instructional criteria ratings for Heath Passport. The following chart provides a typical example of the sightings that were analyzed to determine each criterion rating. Looking at these sightings will provide a picture of the overall instructional guidance provided in the textbook.
TYPICAL SIGHTING CHART (Adobe PDF document)
The graph below depicts major strengths and weaknesses in the overall instructional guidance provided by Heath Passport. It does so by showing the average score Heath Passport 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 Heath Passport as unsatisfactory in helping students achieve the number, geometry, and algebra benchmarks used for the evaluation. The following describes the seven instructional categories and their criteria and summarizes the analysts justification for their ratings for Heath Passport.
Instructional Category I
The goals for each lesson, which are listed in a chapter organization chart and mentioned again at the beginning of each lesson, are comprehensible but not consistently interesting to students. No specific opportunities are presented for students to discuss the purpose in any depth. Most activities are consistent with the stated purpose. The summary at the end of each chapter returns to the purpose and presents what was learned, why it was learned, and how it fits into the bigger picture of mathematics. A rationale for the lesson sequence can be inferred by matching activities with the chapter organization chart.
Instructional Category II
Heath Passport does not indicate the prior knowledge needed by students except in the scope and sequence chart at the beginning of the text, which is not a particularly effective format. Only a few brief mentions of prerequisites appear and only for geometry benchmark ideas. There are sections called "Addressing Misconceptions" and "Common Error Alerts," but they are very inconsistent in addressing specific student ideas about the benchmarks. One example in grade 8 gives a good overview of what the students know and what will be introduced in the unit, but there is not much development or clarification for the teacher on how to use this information.
Instructional Category III
The material uses a variety of experiences aimed at the benchmarks (worksheets, diagrams, writing, illustrations, calculators, group activities, and tables). These experiences include pictures and paper-and-pencil exercises and a few manipulatives. While the contexts presented are accurate and target the benchmark ideas, they are repetitious across grade levels. The experiences use meaningful connections (such as sports, cars, games), but some of the activities in grade 8 appear to be more appropriate for younger students. There are few novel, hands-on projects, and many of the firsthand experiences do not require the higher level thinking skills needed to understand benchmark concepts.
Instructional Category IV
Heath Passport uses a variety of examples and exercises to help justify the importance and usefulness of benchmark ideas. While comprehensible, these examples do not engage students sufficiently. Terms and procedures are used appropriately but are not always developed in conjunction with experiences. The material presents formulas and definitions and then applies concepts or skills. Numerous representations are used, which are, for the most part, accurate and comprehensible; however, the text presents an inaccurate definition of ratio (Book 1, p. S261). The text shows connections between some benchmark ideas but often doesnt make those connections explicit to students. The demonstration of procedures is apparent and comprehensible but lacks supporting commentaries. There are opportunities for students to practice skills in a variety of contexts, but most are pencil and paper activities with occasional calculator applications. There are many routine examples and few opportunities for students to apply their learning in novel ways.
Instructional Category V
The material offers students some opportunities for expression, but it offers limited opportunities for students to clarify, justify, represent, or share their thinking. Students are asked to explain or define terms, but there are few open-ended questions. There are no suggestions for providing feedback or modifying instruction. Opportunities for feedback and diagnoses are present, but the material misses taking advantage of them. There is little explicit guidance of student interpretation and reasoning. Mid-chapter tests and self-tests may be used to encourage students to think about what theyve learned, but they are geared toward developing skills rather than monitoring student progress.
Instructional Category VI
A number of assessment items are aligned to the benchmarks, and some assessment tasks deal with benchmark applications in both novel and familiar situations; however, test questions are weak on application of skills and concepts. Mini quizzes provide a few examples of applying concepts or skills. Mid-chapter tests are the only explicit embedded assessments provided. Other assessments are embedded, but there are no instructions to teachers regarding their use or interpretation.
Instructional Category VII
Heath Passport does not support teacher content learning but does make an attempt to include information about the importance of some content ideas. The text includes problems of the day, real life connections, and journal writing, but these are not always challenging enough to encourage risk-taking and questioning. The text usually avoids communicating the message that math is only about applying rules and formulas, but the opportunities for creativity are minimal, even in labs and investigations. Meeting Individual Needs sections are weak and emphasize one right answer. Although the material is not offensive to any particular group, it is weak in recognizing contributions of diverse groups.