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ERIC Number: ED463165
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Traditional or Problem-Centered Mathematics? The Choices of Students and Parents in One District.
Lubienski, Sarah Theule
This study focuses on one district that recently began offering high school students a choice between its traditional algebra sequence and a new, integrated sequence based on Core Plus texts. The students in this district have experienced problem-centered instruction throughout elementary and middle school. However, when 600 students and their parents were asked to chose between the 2 high school options, over 82% chose the traditional sequence. Additionally, significantly more females than males chose the traditional sequence. Students and parents were surveyed about the factors underlying their choices. These factors were analyzed with attention to option choice, SES, and gender. Overall, parents who preferred the traditional sequence were less concerned about the development of real-world problem solving skills or their children's enjoyment of mathematics, and focused instead on the curriculum's potential to prepare students for future academic hurdles (e.g., college entrance). Lower-SES parents were most concerned about their children's college preparation and were also most likely to be influenced by teachers' advice, despite the fact that they were least likely to have actually talked with teachers directly. Comparisons of decision factors by gender revealed few strong patterns, but the data do suggest that, contrary to common wisdom, males may be more likely than females to enjoy working in groups in mathematics classrooms. Additionally, more males than females reported wanting to be challenged in their mathematics class. Overall, the data indicate that, after years of experience with Standards-based instruction, many parents and students in this community hold strong, persistent anti-reform beliefs. This study highlights the enormous difficulty of introducing change into the firmly entrenched mathematics curriculum, particularly at the high school level. Increased understanding of students' and parents' concerns about mathematics instruction can better position reformers, administrators, and teachers to implement mathematics instruction that best meets students' needs. (Contains 18 references.) (Author/MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A