The Texas Board of Education opted to carry out the first major overhaul of the state’s mathematics curriculum in more than 40 years in April 2012. Over the past three years, Tomball and Magnolia ISD administrators and teachers have formulated new curriculum and increased training to ease the transition to the new math standards.
“What students need to be able to do in mathematics to be successful has changed over the years, and our standards had not changed,” MISD Mathematics Director Susie Johnson said. “Students need to be able to think deeply, write and communicate about mathematics.”
As part of the new standards, students at lower grade levels are learning math curriculum previously taught at higher grade levels, Johnson said. In addition, students are encouraged to learn the concepts behind solving math problems rather than simply memorizing the procedural process, TISD math and science Director Chris Scott said.
“This is probably not the way that many parents learned math,” Scott said. “Parents need to understand they will not likely know all of the answers and need to be open to learning new math concepts. Our students will be better mathematicians because not only will they be able to do the math, but they will understand it.”
The 2014-15 school year was the deadline for statewide districts to implement the math revisions for kindergarten through eighth-grade students, which were assessed on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test for third- through eighth-grade students in spring, according to the Texas Education Agency.
This school year, all districts must implement the high school math curriculum changes for students to be assessed in a crossover STAAR test of combined old and new standards in May. All new math standards will be phased into testing by May 2017, Scott said.
“STAAR tests are rigorous, and teachers are still closing gaps for students in their math knowledge,” Johnson said.
TISD implemented the new math curriculum for all kindergarten through 12th-grade students last school year after beginning to phase in new math curriculum during 2012-13, Scott said.
Last school year, MISD began full implementation of the math standards for kindergarten through eighth grade and will phase in the high school changes this year, Johnson said.