Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Curricular Changes - The Future of Math at Graded

This year the school is in the process of reviewing our math and social studies programs and I'm please to announce the results from the math review. While you have seen this in the 2013 - 14 Course Registration Guide, I've added a list of frequently asked questions to provide students and parents with more information. We are very excited about how these changes will provide offer our students with a more relevant and authentic learning experience in math and how it will encourage more students to strive for higher levels of mathematics. Our Director of Teaching and Learning, Colleen Broderick and members of the schoolwide math curricular development team are the ones responsible for making this happen.

Please feel free to submit your comments in the section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Integrated Mathematics
Over the course of the next two years, Graded School will be transitioning to an Integrated Mathematics program for grades 6-10. We will begin with implementation in grades 6 and 9 in 2013 - 2014  since their present course work reflects integrated content already and can serve as a model for future course design. Full implementation is scheduled for 2014 - 2015.

Why is Graded changing math programs?
Beginning in 2011, Graded School instituted a systematic, ongoing curriculum review process to focus our curricular work on key tasks. This was designed to sustain a pace of change and ensure  stability within the academic program.  On a scheduled basis, we review, analyze, and ensure that our courses meet the needs our students and their aspirations. This is the result of a curriculum review audit in which clear trends emerged. Data reflected two key areas that we are responding to: students self-perceptions of themselves as mathematicians was poor and we were  limiting students options in mathematics too early in their academic career.

What does Integrated mean?
Integrated describes the style of mathematics education which joins together  many topics of mathematics throughout each year. This means that each course can cover topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and analysis. This style is common in international programs. Integrated should not be confused with project-based; however, in an integrated course there is more opportunity for teachers and students to engage in more relevant, realistic mathematical projects and tasks. An integrated program also models the IB Diploma Program, making easier the transition.

Does this mean students will not be prepared for higher level courses? (Change to How will this prepare students for higher level courses)
Quite the opposite. By changing our courses, we believe more students will have the opportunity to be prepared and to choose into an IB SL or HL course, in ways that are not possible in our current curricular pathway.

Since Integrated Math  is more  characteristic of international programs, will students have challenges in transitioning to the United States?
Some schools in the US are adopting an integrated program. Under the new Common Core Standards adopted by most states, the only difference between a traditional American sequence and an integrated sequence is the order in which the topics are taught. Students placement in the US will align with core grade-level expectations at Graded School.

Will teachers be trained in the program?
Graded teachers are very knowledgeable and well-versed in all the topics of mathematics due to their experience with the IB Diploma Program.  The mathematics leaders in middle school and high school will participate... We will review, and purchase new instructional materials to support the classroom experience as part of the implementation plan.

How do students know which courses to take?
As in the past, the eighth grade teacher will identify  the best placement for students based on their achievement on key concepts in the second semester. The HS course description book also outlines the the variety of courses available.

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Members of the Graded community are encouraged to comment and all comments are moderated by Blair Peterson, the High School Principal.