BHS Math

Thanks to all parents who responded to our Berkeley High Math Parent Survey. The report of results is now available!

I. Since we created Berkeley High Parent Advocate, by far the greatest number of comments and questions we’ve received have been about the new math curriculum at Berkeley High: Math 1, 2, and 3 (with Advanced sections of each). Many students are struggling with a curriculum that provides no outside resources except “look it up on the internet.” By popular request, Berkeley High Parent Advocate has assembled information on additional support materials for Math 1, Math 2 and Math 3 on our “Math Resources” page.

Our team has been working to create a dialogue between the math department and the community, including advocating for nationally validated surveys in every class and a special committee consisting of administrators, teachers, students and parents to evaluate ways to improve the current situation.

II. If you had a student who took Math 3 in the 2017-2018 school year, the D/F rate is unusually high (18.1% after the first semester). We have put together an information sheet for how to explain an unusually low math grade to colleges. We will update the information when second semester grades are available.

III. Of great concern are the recent D/F for the new Mathematics Vision Project curriculum: The Berkeley High PTSA held a very informative forum on April 18, 2018 where parents were able to ask questions of the lead teachers and Vice Principal for math. A summary of the meeting can be found on the PTSA website. Here is a link to the handout described in the summary on recent D/F rates in Berkeley High math.

Semester 2, 2016-2017              Semester 1, 2017-2018

Math 1           28.4%                                            25.4%

Math 2           25.2%                                            26.7%

Math 3           not offered yet                            18.1

 

IV. EdReports has done a detailed review of the Mathematics Vision Project (MVP) curriculum that is currently being taught at Berkeley High:

https://www.edreports.org/math/mathematics-vision-project-2016/high-school.html

Please note items 3m, 3o, and 3p.ii that discuss how this curriculum partially meets expectations to gather information about students’ prior knowledge and provide guidance for remediation. Obviously with the achievement gap, this is crucial for Berkeley High.

The other main area is 3r-y, which is “doesn’t meet expectations for differentiated instruction for diverse learners” which again is key for Berkeley High. As secretary of the AC Advisory Council, we heard from many parents whose students were struggling with the lack of support materials and teacher guidance, because the student was supposed to “look it up online” or “on Wikipedia” and figure it out on his/her own. Struggle to mastery may be an ideal to work towards, but many Berkeley High students, especially in ninth grade, would benefit from a more supportive approach.

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