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Would you go to a doctor who successfully treated 68% of their patients? Would you hire a lawyer who advertised having successfully defended 35% of their clients? Can you imagine any circumstance in which you would hire an engineer whose building designs collapsed only 40% of the time? Year after year, on measure after measure, these statistics represent the rate of failure and proficiency of math students in American schools, but we have not demanded changes in the single most important element that could positively impact these trends - the way students are taught.
The 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), reported that while 75% of white students scored High or Advanced, only 35% of black students and 45% of hispanic students performed at the same levels on the 8th grade assessment.
The National Assessment for Educational Progress assessment is administered every 2 years to over 200,000 students across the United States. On the 2011 assessment, 44% of white students performed at or above proficient while only 13% of black students, 20% of hispanic students and 5% of English language learners performed at the same levels on the 8th grade assessment.
The Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) is Colorado’s standards-based assessment, designed to provide a picture of student academic performance. On the 2012 8th Grade Mathematics assessment, 63% of white students scored at or above proficient while only 30% of black and 33% of hispanic students performed at the same levels.
It seems inconceivable that we would accept results like these from our doctors, lawyers and engineers, but year after year, we have accepted these results in our education system. While there is plenty of public and political outcry about the abysmal performance of our students, widespread successful change has not come, and efforts to modify standards and curriculum haven't made a dent in the performance of our children.