The Calgary Board of Education is zeroing in ways to improve its math outcomes with the introduction of a new math strategy.
On Tuesday, CBE administration presented the three-year strategy to the board of trustees—and fielded many questions of implementation, resources and measuring success of the strategy.
Board Chair Trina Hurdman said a takeaway from the strategy was that there’s a focus on basic computational skills, improving fluency and mental math.
“A lot of the things that parents provided feedback on during engagement last year,” she said.
One part of the strategy—math coaches—was approved for funding by the previous board prior to the Oct. 16, election. On Tuesday, the board heard the rest of the strategy, which included dedicating “flex minutes” to working on math.
Grades 1 to 6 will go from 47.5 to 60 minutes of math instruction a day, and students in Grade 7 to 9 will increase from 33 to 45 minutes.
Wards 6 and 7 trustee Lisa Davis peppered administration with questions. She said she got some “good answers,” but will continue to probe until there is an improvement in results.
Davis also questioned the administration of teaching resources, and asked if they consider using JUMP math—something the board said is on the list of approved materials.
“They have some very interesting Canadian research, which I like and they have well-developed resources that were developed by a Canadian mathematician,” said Davis.
“I think anytime you have existing resources that are research-based that we definitely want to be looking to see if we can use those to help shorten that development time.”
Further, Tracy Rand, curriculum and assessment learning specialist at the CBE, said they’ve already seen more than 300 teachers express interest in learning how to use math records.
Math records deal with fluency in multiplication, division, addition and subtraction, and teachers assessing that fluency and determining how to proceed.
“We are developing resources so that they’re at the fingertips of our teachers when it comes to assessment, so how do we measure and make visible to our parents?” she said.
Rand said the tools include how to assess a student’s ability in structured problem solving and structured observations around reasoning.
November 7th, 2017 meeting minutes can be found here: http://www.cbe.ab.ca/about-us/board-of-trustees/BoardofTrusteeDocuments/20170516-minutes-regular-meeting.pdf