Changes coming soon in math classes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Changes coming soon in math classes

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February 27, 2004

Albany -- Expect to see some big changes soon in the way math is taught in Georgia public schools. Education officials say they are planning to raise the bar and expectations for students.

Solving math equations in Mrs.Hamilton's 6th grade class may not be as challenging as the big math problem Georgia educators says they hope to solve this year.

"Students have the impression that they don't have to learn the math that particular year in which they have particular standards. They believe they will have the same things the next year,"says Barbara Ham, Secondary Math Supervisor for Dougherty Public Schools.

Low math scores have prompted educators to rethink their traditional teaching methods. A new proposal hopes to find success by allowing teachers to cut out lengthy math reviews and focus only new topics.

The plan will also allow them to greatly reduce the number of concepts they are required to cover. The idea is that it will give them more time to help students master math topics.

"Teachers wouldn't be having a large amount to teach to students they will have less to do but they will do it well,"says Ham.

Making sure teachers are trained and ready is the biggest concern. As the plan phases into effect the job of training will fall on people like Elnora Arrington. She says the changes and training will be rigorous but the potential benefits will worth it.

"It lets the teachers know what a child knows prior to coming to them rather than having to review and catch them up and you are not leaving them behind for the next grade level," say Arrington.

6th graders will be to first to use the new plan as early as next year and other grades by 2008. Although educators don't expect changes over night they say it's will be a step in the right direction.

The new math education model was copied from other school systems that have had success teaching students in math skills. Georgia is still gathering public comments about the plan.

posted at 5:17PM by scott.hunter@walb.com