Parents urge you to spend a few minutes reading these comments provided by a Fairfield parent. You can make your own assessment. The program most lacking in public comment and analysis outside of sponsor-related marketing material is Origo Stepping Stones-a new program

1)Analysis/ Comparison of ** Singapore Math**,

**and**

*Math in Focus***(**

*TERC***is not considered) http://wheresthemath.com/curriculum-reviews/math-textbook-reviews/**

*Origo Stepping Stones**2)TIMSS International Math Rankings for 2011 for 4*^{th}* grade student math **http://nces.ed.gov/timss/table11_2.asp/**3)Understanding where elementary education is falling short preparing kids for Algebra generally with a specific discussion on TERC. **http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html*

**Below is the Common Core Standard for grade2 as a reminder of the objective of the math program selected.Teach to mastery** **Common Core State Standards:**

** In Grade 2**, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) extending understanding of base ten notation; (2) building fluency with addition and subtraction; (3) using standard units of measure; and (4) describing and analyzing shapes.

*(Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, 17)*

** In Grade 3**, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100; (2) developing understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions; (3) developing understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area; and (4) describing and analyzing two dimensional shapes.

*(Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, 21)*

**A quick summary of key findings for the 4 programs:**

*Parents focused on 2nd grade achievement. From my brief perusal, all texts generally meet requirements 1,3, and 4 of the 2nd grade Common Core Standard. **The biggest difference lies in each program’s ability to truly meet requirement #2 – Fluency with addition and subtraction – quick and effortless execution- achieving** mastery.*

*1) ***Singapore Math Primary (SMP)*** –**
**1,500**
** schools**
** are **
**using. **There**
** are**
** many success**
** stories **
**with**
** Singapore**
**Math **
**that**
** could**
** be **
**told,**
**including **
**a**
** Title**
**1 **
**school**
** in **
**Alhambra,**
**CA **
**with **
**60%**
**ELL.** **
**In**
** their**
** first **
**year**
** after**
** switching**
** to **
**Singapore **
**in**
** 2005,**
** their**
** pass **
**rate**
**increased**
** by **
**an **
**avera**ge **
**of**
** 18% **
**over **
**grades **
**2**‐**5.** The study (1*^{st}* attachment) above concludes that it strongly advocates this program. **Additionally, there are numerous articles advocating its effectiveness for all levels of learners **(I had forwarded a recent NYT article in my prior email below). I understand from teachers in districts currently implementing this text that for this program to be effectively delivered, teachers need to be go through quite a bit of special training. This makes me question how relevant results from the short trials being conducted in Fairfield will really be. **Additionally, the SMP text brings students to a higher level of proficiency and cover more content over the same period of time versus other math programs so results are not directly comparable**. I have included at the bottom of this note a testimony from a Westport Math teacher that did go through this training and is using Singapore Math Primary for her students. She raves about its effectiveness. Districts all over the country are investing in our kids and teachers under the Singapore Math program. By implementing this text program, **Singapore propelled itself from 16th in the TIMSS math rankings in 1984 to where it is in 2011 at 1*^{st}* place**. The US currently ranks 11*^{th}* place (See above 2011 TIMSS rankings). The reinforcement of mastery and math fluency of addition and subtraction is reinforced by 3+ digit math sets. Additionally, multiplication and division as well as fractions and geometry are introduced by 2nd grade. Both concepts of grouping and borrowing/ carrying are taught as a clear strategy.*

* *

*2) ***Math****
**** In****
**** Focus-**** ***120 **
**districts**
** have**
** adopted. Often described as an Americanized version of Singapore Math Primary. **The Math in Focus sponsors advocate that similar results as Singapore Math Primary are expected, but there is no direct comparison of the two programs to support this claim. Math in Focus proponents use Singapore Math Primary results to market Math in Focus but the text and exercises are not the same. I did take the time to review the actual texts. I** found the content to be very good but the rigor level to be not quite as high as the original Singapore Math Primary series.** Multi digit multiplication and division is not as rigorously introduced until grade 3. However, there was more conceptual discussion incorporated into the text.*

*3) ***TERC investigations***– broadcasted as a success in 2007, a majority of districts reporting in a 2009 study have either discontinued using the *Investigations*curriculum and materials or were in the process of dropping the program. **There were many articles and blogs advocating Stopping the use of TERC**. Very contentious program – difficult to support a program with these results. In January 2007, Pearson Scott Foresman released a report listing school districts as “success stories” for *TERC Investigations*. In reponse to that, they conducted a 2009 survey among the school districts cited, results were as follows: *

*(Note: a Riverfield teacher said that the ***current math program is most like TERC )**

*62 of 70 “*Evidence for Success*” school districts responded to the survey**36 of these districts have**discontinued use**or are in the process of discontinuing the use**of***Investigations***(58% of districts responding;**51% of districts overall**)**17 of these districts currently using*Investigations*are Title I (schools/districts) and/or receiving National Science Foundation funding and/or other grants for continued implementation of the curricula (27% of districts responding; 24% of districts overall)**To date (24 Feb 2009) 8 districts had yet to respond; 6 of these are Title I districts)*

*More fundamentally, upon reviewing the text there are some major content omissions: *

*1) the concept of “carrying” and “borrowing” is not taught.*

*2) multi digit addition and subtraction not addressed*

*3) multiplication and division not introduced by 2*^{nd}* grade*

*4) advocates the use of***calculators*** to calculate math algorithms in 2*^{nd}* Grade. The table of contents in 2*^{nd}* Grade was I) Numbers II) Patterns III) Data and Probability IV) Geometry V) Measurement VI) Games. **Highly questionable as to whether fluency and mastery of Addition and Subtraction will be achieved by the end of 2*^{nd}* grade. **Numerous testimonies imply that this program may fall short of this objective.*

*4) ***Origo Stepping Stones***was not covered in the above study (1*^{st}* attachment link). Origo is relatively new and is self-described as Australia’s answer to its own Common Core Standard equivalent.* But I must ask you, why of all the other developed countries’ math strategies would we choose to mimic Australia? **Australia is ranked 18**

^{th}

*/19th in the international 2011 TIMSS math ranks for youths**versus the US which is already in 11th place ( Singapore being in 1st place), see attached link for 2011*

*TIMSS results.*

*There is no evidence that Australia’s programs are successful in providing internationally acknowledged superior results in math fluency in its young students*

*. I was unable to find reliable independent 3rd party studies (outside of those posted by the sponsor company*

*origoeducation.com*

*). There was also not an abundance of discussion, blogs or articles to substantiate success in achieving math fluency by actual users, unlike the other programs above. Additionally, at the Open Text session, I noticed a marked lack of using actual numbers in both text and workbook for 2*

^{nd}*Grade.*

*There was an unusually large focus on using pictures of boxes to replace numbers. There were relevant class discussion pieces that would be a nice core text enhancement but it was not clear how fluency of math can be achieved using this as the primary text.*

*Additionally, there is no text in 2nd grade, online material only. I found the material difficult to navigate online.*

*Given the lack of public studies comparing this to other programs, the lack of supporting testimonies and the lack of evidence for positive user results over significant periods of time, it would be a risky call to elect to have our children be the test case for whether Australia’s new math program accomplishes the US Common Core objectives.*

*I hope the above information is informative and explains why we have concluded that Singapore Math Primary is the best choice of the four options considered with Math in Focus coming in right behind.** **While none of them is perfect, Singapore Math Primary covers the primary topic MATH most comprehensively.*

*While creative, I fear the other two programs (TERC and Origo) *do not have the track record to* make me confident that our kids will be sufficiently fluent in math to perform well in algebra and higher math. The third web link above details how success in algebra is a precursor to compete for many of the best colleges and jobs globally. I encourage you each to do your own research. There is an enormous amount of factual and anecdotal evidence available for you in the public domain. That coupled with seeing the texts, should provide a clear picture of each.*

**Singapore Math requires “a commitment “ by FPS to “implement this type of instruction” – train teachers, work with parents, be committed to our students. A WPS math teacher described it well….**

* *

*This is an email from a Westport Math Teacher** **that currently uses the Singapore Math Curriculum writing a Fairfield parent**.**Below are her comments:*

* *

*“I cannot speak to all four of the options because I am not familiar with all of them, but I can’t say enough wonderful things about Singapore Math. You would be amazed at what the elementary kids are doing that have been exposed to this method of teaching mathematics! It continually blows my mind how conceptual their understanding is and how sophisticated their approach is to problem solving at such a young age.However, with that said, it is important to ***understand the level of commitment that WPS made to implement this type of instruction. The teachers were given a great deal of training and it was appropriately phased in to help the students adjust to a new type of learning mathematics. It looks very different from the way we were taught. There were also opportunities provided to parents to become educated about the approach and buy into it and support it. They LOVE it! I would love to have our children taught this way from the ground up! It is truly reinforcing 21st century skills needed to be competitive in the world they will eventually graduate into.I hope this helps. I have not become too involved in these discussions because it is considered a conflict of interest. Our administrators have been approached for their opinions, but have been asked to not comment at this time. **

* *

I wonder if you know – what was the basis for choosing these four programs? Who are the members of the committee selecting these books? Did anyone check the education (in mathematics) of each of the members of the pilot material selection committee?

Eva: We don’t know the exact criteria used to recommend forward these 4 programs except CC compliance and fits with our instructional model. When parents were asked to fill out review forms for these books the questions asked were to what degree does the resource provide?:

(Scale of 1-4, 4 being robust)

1. Basic fact practice?

2. Math word story problems (closed)

3. Authentic problem solving (open-ended) supports multiple strategy approach

4. Reasoning about math: justifying, constructing arguments, critiquing others’ reasoning

5. Task with appropriate level of challenge for all (ELL, Sped, gifted, etc)

6. Regular practice with estimation?

Keep in mind this was for K-2 only, we never saw the 3-5 books nor was it mentioned that the committee was taking a holistic view of the resource as it develops through grade 5.

The credentials of the selection committee were: elementary teachers, building administrators, a few parents, a math consultant, a k-5 math curriculum leader, an elementary Ed director. They also mentioned a university professor, but don’t know if that was a math prof or a math Ed prof. Seems lacking in vertical depth and pure math base.