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NAEP Results Confirm Compliance with National "Fuzzy Math" Standards

November 19, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(SAINT PAUL, MN) EdWatch, a statewide parent/citizen education watchdog organization, said that Minnesota's number one ranking on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for math confirms that, under the Profile of Learning graduation standards, Minnesota leads the nation in teaching "fuzzy math."

"Remember, the NAEP does not measure individual student achievement," said Julie Quist, director of EdWatch. "The NAEP assesses compliance with the 'voluntary' national standards. It is the accountability instrument for the federal No Child Left Behind Act."

"Fuzzy math" programs endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and used in Minnesota include: Connected Mathematics Program (CMP), Core-Plus Mathematics Project, The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP or "Chicago Math"), and Everyday Mathematics. Also known as "integrated math," the approach is characterized by:

  • "Threads" mixed together and revisited repeatedly, instead of in discrete courses such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus
  • Group work, with teacher as "facilitator"
  • Student discovery of rules and procedures by themselves, and word problems and projects with very few rules, definitions, summaries, or drill-type exercises
  • Student dependence on calculators, computers, and technology

    This dumbed-down approach to teaching K-12 math has forced up to 40% of students entering Minnesota public colleges and universities from public school into remedial coursework, mostly in mathematics. In response, public school parents in Eden Prairie and other districts have called for a return to traditional math programs.

    "Far from validating the Profile of Learning, the recent NAEP results expose the Profile's legacy of a Johnny who can't add 2 plus 2 without a calculator," said Quist. "Fortunately, Minnesota's new Academic Standards in mathematics will help our public school students to succeed in math, regardless of whether they go on to higher education or the workforce.

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