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New Math Teks Review (2)

New Math Teks Review (2)

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Published by Chad Smith

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Published by: Chad Smith on May 31, 2012
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01/01/2013

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Ze
ve Wurman5/3/2012
 
NEW
 
MATH
 
TEKS
 
REVIEW
 A MIXED PICTURE 
I have reviewed the record of the TEKS amendments made during the April19 State Board of Education meeting at some length, and a mixed picturehas emerged
 
5/3/20121
NEW
 
MATH
 
TEKS
 
REVIEW
 A MIXED PICTURE 
On one hand: The board stood up firmly to the attempt by organizations like the Texas Association of Supervisors of Mathematics (TASM) to allow calculators into elementarygrades and to defer proficiency with elementary arithmetic even further into the middlegrades. Even at the high school level, where TASM pushed for eliminating and diluting anynotion of proofs in geometry, the board resisted and relented in only a few of places.The board also made linguisticchanges to numerous standards bothin elementary and secondary grades,and those changes were generally forthe better; in some cases markedly so,turning completely garbled standardsinto quite reasonable ones. In fact, acouple of the linguistic changes alsosignificantly strengthened thearithmetic expectations with additionand subtraction in grade 4 andmultiplication in grade 5. The changes clearly insist on students
knowing and using the
standard algorithms rather than a mishmash of “strategies” and “models” thrown together
with the standard algorithms.Further, the board consolidated some very similar standards and eliminated a fewduplicative ones. This slightly reduced the large number of distinct standards in each grade.There are still too many left, however, making the TEKS unfocused and unwieldy.On the other hand: Despite all this progress, the overall quality of the TEKS has improvedonly slightly. The improvement of the arithmetic expectation mentioned above puts theTEKS in the ballpark of the Common Core but not beyond it, and the TEKS
’s
handling of fractions is still somewhat belowthe Common Core. It is only atthe high school level that theTEKS substance begins to shineand where one can clearly see theadvantage of the TEKS course-based standards over theshapeless heap that is theCommon Core high schoolstandards.Further, the multiplicity of standards at each grade contributes to reduced focus andcoherence, and t
he presence of the “personal financial literacy” strand in every
K-8 gradecontributes even more to that lack of coherence. Despite the many positive language changes,one is still left with a frequent and distinct feeling of excessive wordiness and obscure
The board should be praised forstanding firm on calculators,resisting further dilution of thestandardsClarity-wise, the Common Corelanguage is significantly betterthroughout

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