Eric.ed.gov – (Dis)empowerment: The Implementation of Corrective Mathematics in Philadelphia Empowerment Schools

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The need to improve math education around the country has been well documented, especially in urban school systems like Philadelphia. In Spring 2010, only 56.6% of students in Philadelphia Public schools scored proficient or advanced on the Pennsylvania State Standardized Assessment (PSSA). In Philadelphia Empowerment Schools, the 107 lowest performing schools in the Philadelphia School District, only 45.8% of students scored proficient or advanced (PSSA preliminary results). Yet, across these schools, there is wide variation. While over 80% of students in some Empowerment schools scored proficient or advanced in math, in other schools less than 20% of the student population reached math proficiency. In October 2009, former Philadelphia Public School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman implemented the Science Research Associates (SRA) Corrective Mathematics and Corrective Reading curriculum in all Empowerment Schools, as well as schools in Corrective Action II under No Child Left Behind and other low performing schools as deemed by the District. Within these schools, all middle school students are enrolled in 45 minutes of Corrective Mathematics and 45 minutes of core math each day. Prior to the implementation of Corrective Math, students spent all 90 minutes on the core math curriculum. As one might expect with such a drastic change, there are ongoing debates between administrators, teachers and parents about the merits and weaknesses of the Corrective Mathematics program. Despite these questions and concerns, there has been minimal research on the impacts of CM in Philadelphia, or abroad. This article presents an initial foray into the field. Through extensive observations and interviews, the author documents the implementation of Corrective Mathematics in one Philadelphia Empowerment School, looking specifically at how this implementation relates to the needs of the school’s students. This research answers two important questions: (1) What does the CM curriculum look like in the classroom; and (2) how does it support or inhibit learning in the core math class. Overall, the author found that the Corrective Math curriculum in this Philadelphia Empowerment School is not being implemented as its designers intended and, as it is used, the program conflicts with the learning needs of Philadelphia students. (Contains 6 endnotes.)

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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