Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, October 23, 2003


So you want to be a science teacher makes the comment, "If I'm lucky enough to get a good physics placement, I'll be able to teach without worrying quite so much about the standards."

I've got two minds on standards. On the one hand, I think that it's a very good idea, to come up with a set of topics that should be addressed in a standard high school course (there are too many classes in math, at least, in urban areas which go by high-level names but offer low-level content). But on the other hand, the standards have to be properly written and designed. Illinois' standards have whole sections which don't correspond to the high school curriculum at all, while other portions of the curriculum are underrepresented (Trigonometry) or omitted entirely (Calculus/Analytic Geometry). Even those areas "addressed" are inadequately addressed.

Then there's the question of inadequately addressing the whole matter of how standards should be used. I think a big part of this comes down to the faculty preparing teachers (and a lot of teachers themselves) haven't had to deal with standards, so they tend to viewed as "look through the list to find something that kinda sorta matches what I'm teaching today and list that on my lesson plan" kind of thing. Ideally, the standards, lesson plans and curricular materials should all automatically flow out of each other. I've not looked too closely, but it looks like the California standards do a better job of this (at least in terms of having the standards more closely align with the standard course offerings).

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