Just when you thought that there couldn’t be anything new in math!

Check out what they’re doing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

**Math Reform in Schools **

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District has made drastic changes to their math curriculum. When their test scores were not improving my much more than three percent, the school district decided to implement Texas Instruments’’ MathForward program to help students with their math skills. The MathForward program helps to increase algebra readiness and math performance in middle school students.

The program is a comprehensive approach to math reform, it increases the instructional time, which allows students to memorize formulas better and study longer. This helps students a lot because with a subject like math, because math is a subject that requires a lot of study time and class time to fully understand the concepts of math. If a student merely memorizes the math formulas in a one-hour classroom setting, they wont retain the information and that’s what this program is trying to do, They want students to retain information for long time use, instead of memorizing just for the upcoming test. Schools want students to do well on their standardized tests, which will help improve the schools ratings. By helping this students retain the math knowledge, not only will it help Improve the schools ratings, but it will help the students to be better prepared for math courses they take in high school and college down the road.

Another way that MathForward helps increase students test score is by increasing the teacher’s knowledge in the subject. They create special math trainings for teachers on new ways to teach math and new math lessons that will be beneficial to teaching the students. This is good because it is always important to have on going trainings in teachers subjects because it keeps them from becoming monotonous in their lesson plans and keeps things fresh for their students. By giving the teachers continuous coaching and classes that helps develop their effective teaching skills, students will benefit and feel more confident in their knowledge of the math subject, since the teachers that are teaching it are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.

They are also using technology to motivate the students by creating programs along with MathForward to assist students in math. The students will be more focused and interested when technology is introduced because it is something new and something that will help break up the monotonous subject of math. They will also have administrators and parents involved in backing up the MathForward program to help credit the program and give the students confidence that this program really can help them. By implementing this program into the schools their test scores rose an astounding thirty-five percent, opposed to the three percent from before with just the normal math program. In schools that didn’t implement the MathForward program, they will definitely be implementing it during the following year. They are also adding forty math teachers to the district to keep up with the high demand of math teacher that the program calls for. With statistics like that, there is no arguing that MathForward works!

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Charlotte Mecklenburg School Ratings and Public Schools

For many children I have seen…it is not the instruction that is always the problem. Although I am glad to see any changes to a boring curriculum. What I have experienced with my own children (7) and from being in classrooms over the years, is that difficulty with math or writing or reading is usually a symptom not the problem. Organization of the brain, ie: brain injury is more likely the culprit. I don’t think many parents want to think of learning difficulties as injuries but they are. If we spent the energy on fixing the injury – and YES it is very possible – we would have many more children who would benefit from an advanced an exciting math curriculum. I am afraid that you will not see more than a 2-3% increase in true performance and understanding if the cause is not first addressed. Or, if you remove any learning problem children, you will see a drastic improvement.

I think the math foward program is a path in the right direction. I have always had trouble in math till my early 20’s that I had to really crack down and learn the subject to pass all my science courses. The key to my success was lots of class time before and after class and plenty of going over it again at home before I was able to master all the formulas with ease.