New math curriculum brings opposed feelings between staff and students


Starting this year, math curriculum for Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Pre-calculus are taking a new spin on the classic way of teaching. Teachers are now using the “Core Connections” textbook. The book is driven by using teamwork to solve problems and completing investigations with hands on activities.“We chose it because it was updated.” Math teacher, Mrs. Leigh, said. “Getting the kids to work together was the big push.”

The curriculum was chosen based off of results of various studies conducted in the 1970’s to the 2000’s. In 2005, a study conducted showed that “low ability students achieve more… in heterogeneous groups… whereas high-ability students show equally strong learning outcomes in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups.”

The study proved that in addition to low ability students improving when challenged, the high achieving students also did equally well when placed in groups with equal and lower ability than them.

Although the teachers are backing this new style, it is facing much criticism from the students.

A student, Kyle Manske, said, “It’s hard because there is a lot less guidance from the teacher and more working on our own. It complicates lessons.”

The idea of the curriculum is to allow the students to work on their own and also in teams to complete the task at hand. It divides up jobs between the students, who are placed in groups of four.

Another student, Sabrina Franco, said, “It allows people to slack off and not do as much work as they should. It’s frustrating to try and get people to work, and it shouldn’t be my job to get them to do their part.”

Many students are wondering how this curriculum was chosen for them as opposed to the standard way of teaching. Math teachers say that three different books were piloted between West and Eisenhower. “Core Connections” was the one that teachers from both schools could agree upon.

Whether or not the school will be showing improvements or not is still yet to be determined. When asked about how grades compare to last years, Leigh said, “I don’t know yet. It’s too early in the year, but students seem to be thinking more.”