BHS Math

Thanks to all parents who responded to our Berkeley High Math Parent Survey. The report of results is now available. We also have results of the Berkeley High Student Survey. We hope BUSD will consider giving surveys to all BHS students to determine what is working well and what is not in math and every core subject.

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.

II. If you had a student who took Math 3 in the 2017-2018 school year, please refer to the Class of 2019 College Information page. In summary, the D/F rate for Math 3 was unusually high (18.1% after the first semester and 20.7% for the second semester). We put together an information sheet for how to explain an unusually low math grade to colleges (also available on the college information page) as well as a formal letter explaining the math situation for the class of 2019. We requested data for the entire grade distribution (A-D/F) for Math 3 in the summer of 2018 but were told there are not enough resources to make this information available to the public. If you would like to add your voice for transparency of data about math performance from BUSD, please email Associate Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi (pasqualescuderi@berkeley.net) and Dave Stevens (davestevens@berkeley.net), the Berkeley Research, Evaluation, and Assessment officer.

III. D/F Rates for Math 1 and Math 2: 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. On September 21, 2018, the BUSD Public Information Officer provided updated data for the Spring 2018 semester. More data for ninth-grade math performance is available here (scroll down to #12.2)

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

Math 1           28.4%                                            25.4%                             28%

Math 2           25.2%                                            26.7%                             26.9%

Math 3           not offered yet                            18.1%                              20.7%

 

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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