Daniel Koretz on Progress in Mathematics

Daniel Koretz: We have seen over the last 20 years an improvement in the mathematics performance of elementary school students that is faster and larger than the decline that got everyone so upset to begin with.  Now what’s odd is the decline was called by people, [the policy, both] large, alarming, catastrophic, and so on.  The increase has been called stagnation.  I don’t quite understand the logic.  I think, some of the people simply who do this simply don’t understand the data.  But what we’ve seen is relatively flat performance in reading, which is not as bad news as it seems because international comparison show that the United States is fairly good at teaching reading.  We have seen very large, very rapid consistent gains in performance in mathematics in elementary school, moderate-sized gains in middle school, and then the bad news, no real gains in high school.  So in mathematics, the bad news is not deterioration, it’s a failure to maintain the gains that young children have shown as they progress through school, that progress is eroded.

Daniel Koretz laments that math gains in elementary and middle schools are not maintained in high school.

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