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Effects of Advanced Math Curriculum
The advanced curriculum was designed through the Mentoring Mathematical Minds (M3) project. The main goal of this project was to enhance the understanding of complicated mathematical concepts among students who showed interest in mathematics irrespective of their backgrounds. An exam was offered for the units covered in the project and the results compiled in order to show the level and rate of understanding of the students. It was also concerned with determining the gains of the students in exerting confidence and control on the various tasks they carry out as learnt in the advanced curriculum. In this curriculum, communication between the learner and the teacher plays a vital role to the level of understanding the concepts taught (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2007).
The socio-cultural theory recognizes a connection between the instructor and the student (Forman, 2003). The learners are actively engaged in the learning process. Each of the learners has a role to play during the discussions conducted and guided by the teacher, (NCTM, 1991). The socio-cultural theory was instrumental in the curriculum design framework hence a guide towards the development of the M3 project units. The advanced curriculum has greatly changed learner’s perception on math whereby the students enjoy the lessons and are well equipped to apply the knowledge acquired in solving emerging issues compared to other students doing a normal curriculum. The teacher on the other hand plays a role of creating an environment whereby all learners are motivated and free to interact and critically think in order to quantify their ideas(Pelletier & Shore, 2003).
In order to ensure effectiveness in research on the advanced curriculum, various methods were used in its evaluation to determine how the students benefited. An analysis was done on the content offered in the project M3units. Several schools and teachers were selected to take part in the research whereby schools from urban and suburban areas of Connecticut and Kentucky were involved for 4 years with teachers agreeing to participate for 2 years in each grade level (3-5). In addition, a larger group of students was identified to take part in the research. The students were chosen taking into consideration their high potential in mathematics. According to NCTM, students were referred to as“mathematically promising” due to their wide range of capabilities and requirements, which have to be taken care of, (Sheffield, 1999). A comprehensive process was followed in order to select the students and place them in groups according to their abilities. For instance, some of the methods included the use of the Mathematics scale for rating the behavioral characteristics of the high potential students, performance from the tests given, as well as teachers providing a report concerning the students.
It was further observed that providing a test would give a good platform of identifying only the best learners for the research considering the large diversity in terms of their culture and language backgrounds since portraits were used (Otis& Lennon, 1997). Another method was the involvement of the instructors in assessment and evaluation process. They were required to provide a report about the performance of the learners in various areas.The results were brought forth by compiling data collected at student level as per each group in the classroom.Information from each grade was analyzed to determine the classroom level outcomes from the curriculum. It was realized from the outcomes that the results a lot similarity at each grade level with less variations.
Forman, E. A. (2003). A sociocultural approach to mathematics reform. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.(1991). Professional standards for teaching mathematics.Reston, VA.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2007). Curriculum research brief: Selecting the right curriculum. Reston, VA.
Otis, A.S., & Lennon, R.T. (1997).Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (7th Ed.). San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Brace Education Measurement.
Pelletier, S., & Shore, B. M. (2003).The gifted learn, the novice, and the expert: Sharpening emerging views of giftedness. New York: Hampton press.
Sheffield, L. J. (1999). Developing mathematically promising students. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.