Posted on September 20, 2018

From

##### Curry D. Where to Focus so Students Become College and Career Ready. Journal Of Research & Practice For Adult Literacy, Secondary & Basic Education [serial online]. Spring2017 2017;6(1):62.

The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) asked: What does it really mean to be college and work ready? They conducted a two-and-a-half year study to try to answer that question. What they discovered is most of the math that is required of students before beginning college courses and the math that most enables students to be successful in college courses is not high school mathematics, but middle school mathematics. Ratio, proportion, expressions and simple equations, and arithmetic were especially important (NCEE, 2013).

In other words, if we could help our students develop strong math skills at levels A through C/D in the CCR, they would be well-prepared to tackle college level classes or even ready to succeed in training required at the workplace.

Arithmetic, ratio, proportions, expressions and simmple equations, people.

If students *actually understand* that, they can get past those barriers.

Here’s my thinking:   Some students do, in the assorted “accelerated reforms,”  organize exactly those concepts and they’re in that still-too-small group that succeeds at the “college level” stats courses.    What if we actually taught those concepts in an adult context?   That article goes on to give examples of mixing the “level A” with the C and D.   When you’re doing fun things with arithmetic, you can include things like halves… maybe even quarters.   50% and 0.5 and a half should be understood as synonymous.

And has it been done?

Dorothea Steinke put together a curriculum starting with the concepts of “parts and wholes” — that when we can figure out whether we’re looking for a whole and we know the parts… or whether we know the whole and are figuring out a part… that this is what math is built on.     She also includes lots of concrete, multisensory activities to build understanding.

Results? ” “…the West Side Learning Lab of the Community College of Denver, CO, has seen 92 percent (48 of 52) of its GED students pass the GED math test on the first try. ”

##### Steinke, D. Using Part-Whole Thinking in Math.  Focus on Basics World Education, May 2008 9(A): 1.3-8  https://www.worlded.org/WEIInternet/inc/common/_download_pub.cfm?id=16589&lid=3

So….

I want to scale this up.

I want to open this up.

There aren’t many people who understand the math *and* understand how to help people get there.   (Here’s my almost-up-to-date “about me” ).

Can we get together?

Can we open this even *wider*?   Can we make this so the myriad folks who think they just can’t grasp math at all… but who might just take a chance… could learn how to think with numbers, and do stuff with numbers in their lives?

Can we make cognitively accessible math?   (An example of making a percent problem cognitively accessible is here ).