I’ve had a few days to digest CSAP, and get back to blogging!
I felt pretty good about how our curriculum aligned to the 9th grade CSAP math. As expected, there was a heavy focus on proportional thinking and reasoning. I would estimate 30-40% of questions could be solved by using proportions. And our kids feel comfortable solving proportions, but it is the recognizing and setting up part that is a challenge. There is still quite a disconnect on calling a class Algebra and having to cover all of the standards that are tested on CSAP when only one of the six is actually a standard on Algebra. With only about 2 units (10 days each) to cover the algebra benchmarks sufficiently for CSAP, we are doing a huge disservice to our students when it comes to advanced algebra and other math that builds on these skills. Traditional courses teach this framework of algebra in a whole year, not 2 units. How will our district handle this?
Another issue is the students who I KNOW are advanced based on the evidence that they show me in class making careless mistakes on a test. For example, a question that involves algebraic representations of line lenghts ask students to use perimeter (a much lower level of geometry) to demonstrate how students can set up algebraic equations and solve for variables. My very competent and smart student, who is earning an A in a junior level class as a freshman, made a careless mistake regarding what perimeter is. Are they really testing her algebra skills, or are they testing how well she works under pressure, how detail-oriented she is, her knowledge of perimeter,…? This is a huge issue of math teachers and assessments. Do multiple choice tests really assess what they set out to assess? So ready critical thinking skills, reading comprehension, and paying attention to details should be a heavy focus in my class from now on. What is the best way to focus on that?