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School board approves math curriculum objectives

Monday, October 13, 2008 | 10:37 p.m. CDT; updated 10:54 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 13, 2008

 COLUMBIA — Columbia public schools now have revamped math curriculum objectives.

At a meeting Monday night, Columbia School Board members approved the math curriculum documents for kindergarten through fifth grade and sixth through eighth grade. All members voted to approve the documents except for board member Ines Segert.

Some public comments on the curriculum focused on the process and committees that will be used to select materials to teach the approved curriculum objectives.

The board's approval of the objectives ends the planning stage of the curriculum process, which was headed by a 36-person committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and professors. The committee used both state and national standards as a guide in planning the curriculum objectives.

When the group was formulating new standards, much of the discussion centered on whether teaching should emphasize traditional or alternative methods. Some recent changes to the documents reflect that dialogue.

Changes to the curriculum objective documents included additional emphasis on procedural fluency and the addition of the term "standard algorithm" for clarity, said Sally Beth Lyon, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Standard algorithms are one of the focus areas of proponents of traditional math instruction.

In an article from Sept. 25, Segert told the Missourian she thought alternative methods of teaching math weren't effective enough in preparing students.

"Our kids are about a year or two behind where kids learning traditional math are. We have to bring them up to speed. We have to bring our teachers up to speed," Segert said, in response to the school district's announcement that a possible switch to traditional math in elementary schools could extend into middle and junior high school.

Segert said at Monday night's meeting that despite improvements to the documents, she voted not to approve them because she didn't feel the option on the table was the one Columbia needed. She had hoped that Columbia could implement an "authentic, modern math curriculum."

The implementation of the new math objectives will begin next fall.

 


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