Framingham Schools Redesign Middle School Math Curriculum

Framingham Public Schools: "Student performance reflected an overall decline in percent of students in advanced/proficient categories over the past four years."

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
The following is a press release from the Framingham Public Schools:

The Framingham Public Schools recently redesigned its middle school math curriculum to align with the rigorous 2011 Massachusetts Math Curriculum Frameworks that incorporate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These frameworks outline what all students in Massachusetts are expected to know and to achieve. 

The newly designed middle school course of study in mathematics provides opportunities for all students to meet these rigorous standards. An analysis of the practice of leveling for the past four years in sixth grade revealed that: 
• Student performance reflected an overall decline in percent of students in Advanced & Proficient categories over the past four years
• widening achievement gaps between several subgroups
• lower growth, as measured by SGP, for students in the “Math 6” course, and moderate growth for students in the “All Topics 6” course. 

Further, a review of the performance of students in neighboring communities indicated that approximately half of the area towns begin leveling math courses in grade 7, with heterogeneously grouped classes in grade 6.

Sixth grade mathematics courses will now be differentiated in Framingham, providing students with the opportunities to show their strengths and skills in each of the math topics addressed in sixth grade:
• Each unit of study will have a pre-assessment
• Students will be flexibly grouped based on results of pre-assessments
• Pre-AP lessons will be integrated whenever possible to ensure that top level students are engaged in rigorous mathematics instruction that addresses the common core standards
• Students will be given menu choices at varying degrees of difficulty in order to support all students 
• Students will engage in problem sets from the Mathematics Assessment 
Resource Service, Illustrative Mathematics, and others that are aligned with Common Core and more rigorous assessments such as PARCC.
• Students will use IXL, a personalized online program, to reinforce and accelerate their skills throughout middle school.

Previously, students who met specific benchmarks in seventh grade were assigned to an Algebra course that enabled them to take Geometry when they entered the high school.

The high school Geometry and Algebra courses are also being revised to meet the new standards. 

Starting with the 2014-2015 sixth grade class, students who excel in middle school mathematics will be encouraged to take a more rigorous math course in seventh grade to prepare them to meet the criteria for the eighth grade Algebra course that will be offered in the 2016-2017 school year.

Entry into this course will require that students complete math work during the summer that demonstrates their commitment to this rigorous course of study.

Similarly, students who excel in seventh grade will be asked to complete summer work to prepare them for the high school Algebra course that 8th grade teachers will pilot this year.

The middle and high school math department heads with algebra teachers from the middle schools and high school collaborated to create this plan with multiple entry points to allow as many students as possible to take algebra in middle school.

The new eighth grade Algebra 1 course will be accelerated and will address standards taught in the high school, providing students with a pathway to calculus, and a pathway to success in math.
Mrsg214 July 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM
I am curious as to how they are going to use the summer work to determine the placement of the student in the advanced classes for grades 7 and 8 since students are put into those classes and have forms signed in June. Also if there is a decline in scores in grade six, does it make sense to eliminate advance math in sixth grade? And it sounds great to have all of these separate groups in one class, heterogeneously grouped, however there is still only one teacher to oversee all of this. Lastly I will add that I have two kids in the advanced math and neither were given or told about summer work before they left school in June. I had to write emails to the district to ask and have it sent to me. It also is not posted on their schools website. How would they know about it if the Patch did not do articles like this? Communication from schools remains a problem at some schools!
Laura Buck July 14, 2014 at 05:03 PM
My son is going into Algebra 1 for 8th grade at Walsh and we were notified about the summer work with a letter that accompanied his report card, which we received right after school ended.
Mrsg214 July 15, 2014 at 10:46 PM
The summer work is also posted on Walsh's website. Summer reading and math. Not on the other middle schools!


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