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Why A Choice?

In order to increase the comprehension and application skills for math within our entire student body Gloucester High School has evaluated and selected an interactive curriculum. The selection is endorsed by the School Comittee. This curriculum is designed to challenge students of all abilities and to foster an understanding of the underlying concepts of math and their use in solving real world problems.

Experience has shown that out of 10 random math students in any given class, (excluding advanced courses) the following approximate divisions occur; four will connect, achieve success in class and enjoy learning math in the traditional way; two will be comfortable, somewhat successful, but indifferent towards math; and four will be less than successful and experience frustration, disappointment and develop a general dislike for math.

Since its inception the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test (MCAS) goals for schools and districts have been refined towards established standards for both content and application mastery in core subjects. The increased focus on applying the knowledge learned has emphasised the need for students to be able to demonstrate the use of math to solve real world problems.

While traditionally taught classes accomplish this goal for some students it fails for others. A reliable, time tested alternative approach is available and is already being used in several Massachusetts school systems. Their data from other schools show an increased performance level on the open-ended questions for students using interactive approaches. Refer to www.mathimp.org follow the link to the resource center.

Although there is no clear-cut list of attributes that determine the appropriateness of an interactive math class from a traditional math class the following are some points to consider.
  • Your student has achieved success in the computational aspects in a traditional class but is not as successful in conceptual understanding (what is this used for). The aim is to ensure that students understand the concepts behind a procedure that is used to solve a problem.
  • Your student has not connected with math in a way that allows them to remember and use the skills taught. The aim is to actively engage all students in math to increase levels of achievement.
  • Your student enjoys working with peers in groups to discuss math concepts and possible solutions. Note – students in both traditional and the interactive classes are evaluated only on their own work. The aim is to help students understand that there may be more than on way of solving a problem.
  • Your student would benefit from presenting to a friendly, open class, regarding what they have learned. Tests now require students to explain their answers.
  • Your student can be trusted to complete homework assignments.