Big Cities Credit Conceptual Math for Higher Scores
The two city districts that made the greatest strides in math on the latest national assessment relied on similar strategies: building students’ conceptual math skills and investing in professional development in that subject for elementary and middle school teachers.
While administrators in Boston and San Diego say that many factors were at work in their gains on the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, they believe their approach is giving students greater ability to solve a broad variety of math problems and preparing them for more complex mathematics later in school.
“It’s not enough to memorize algorithms,” said J. Chris Coxon, the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning in the 57,000-student Boston district. “If [schools] are going to be successful in teaching math, they have to be open to students’ using different ways...
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