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Math - There is More to the Story!

March 24, 2012

“Have you heard they are cutting back on math at Homestead?” Such a question can strike fear in even the hardiest of us, but the reality is much more encouraging!

Recent studies on high school mathematics identify problem solving and mastery as the essential components of math education. As stated in the journal Mathematics Teacher, “… the critical filter for success of a program is whether students are developing the deep content knowledge and mathematical habits of mind they need for future success.” (1) The winning ingredients are the depth and quality of instruction. In fact, countries out-performing the US in mathematics on average spend less class time on math and cover fewer topics, however, core topics are covered in far more depth enhancing mastery and retention. (2)

The retooled mathematics curriculum under trimesters is designed to improve the depth of understanding and retention of core math concepts. Extended class periods allow teachers to provide guided practice and in-class feedback before students need to independently tackle homework. As deeper understanding is achieved, teachers are able to tap into higher-level thinking further promoting mastery. In two trimesters students will still be receiving a full academic year of math, essentially the same minutes of instruction, but in a more engaged method of delivery.

Trimesters offer more focused learning in all subject areas. When students’ attention, effort and mental energy are concentrated on fewer subjects at one time, they have the opportunity to do the deeper learning that promotes mastery – understanding, retention and the ability to apply what they have learned. A high quality math curriculum can be delivered in any schedule, but trimesters offer an opportunity to enhance focus and depth – two ingredients essential for success. More information on math instruction can be found at -

Celeste Giunta, Mary Darling, Thom Clopton, David Jackson, Vickie Silver, Wendy, Craig and Danielle Francour, Catherine and Randy Ralph, Jonathan Safran, Julie Wojcik, Jane Kammerait, Dr. Eric Malicky and Chuck Zamora – all of Mequon-Thiensville

1)Hart, Eric W. and W. Gary Martin. (December 2008/January 2009). Standards for High School Mathematics: Why, What, How? Mathematics Teacher, 102(5) p. 381.

2)Goodwin, Bryan. Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success. ASCD. Alexandria, VA 2011, p. 5.

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