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State Board of Education approves middle grade math recommendations


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho State Board of Education on Wednesday approved recommendations for improving instruction and student performance in fifth through ninth grades.

The recommendations were developed by the Math Work Group made up of educators from throughout Idaho convened last year by the board. The group’s findings were presented during the Board’s regular Board meeting held this week at Boise State University.

“This is groundbreaking work and if we are going to improve math scores, which is an area of concern not isolated to Idaho, the recommendations developed by the Math Work Group are very sound,” Board President Dr. Linda Clark said.

Student math performance in the middle grades has dropped in recent years, a trend that is making it difficult for even top performers to succeed in higher level math in high school and college.

Work Group recommendations include:

  • Provide ongoing professional development to help educators more effectively teach mathematical concepts and build student confidence.
  • Establish partnerships between state education agencies and education stakeholder groups to implement a campaign to improve math culture in Idaho to help students realize that they can do higher level math if they put in the work.

The Math Work Group also recommended stakeholders develop a comprehensive math plan that would include developing math pathways for educators to improve skills in math instruction and support the State Department of Education’s effort to improve Idaho’s math curriculum review process.

The Work Group also recommends a study to review math instruction in Idaho’s educator preparation programs.

Improving middle school math instruction and performance is one of three of the Board’s focus areas for K-12 education. The other two focus areas are K-3 literacy and high school graduation/postsecondary education and training.

The Board also heard a report on Accountability Oversight Committee recommendations to focus more attention on the trajectory of student learning growth rather than proficiency, and how to improve or sustain growth when analyzing student assessments.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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