Math teachers grapple with IM2 implementation

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With the implementation of Common Core’s Integrated Math series, Roseville High School has experienced a higher fail rate in Integrated Math II than in geometry classes.

“It hasn’t really changed the comparison for IM1, while IM2 does look as if it’s having a lower success rate than geometry did,” principal David Byrd said. “It looks as if there has been a big shift that we are working on fixing the struggle.”

Despite the early struggles, IM2 teacher Sandra Schmatjen has high hopes for the program that Common Core Integrated Math could potentially become.

“I think that it will be a great math program, but as with any program that you bring into anywhere there is always startup complications,” Schmatjen said. “I think it is going to be a great program, is it yet? No, but it can be.”

Byrd attributes the fail rates to the novelty of the course, for both students and for teachers.

“I think it could be have something to do with the students in [IM] now have not been taught integrated from the ground up,” Byrd said. “It’s also been hard for our teachers too, our teachers have been really good at teaching geometry but now we are changing it and they have to learn new ways to teach.”
To help address areas of need, Schmatjen has implemented a new program of miniature quizzes every two or three days, with a fail resulting in mandatory academic detention.

“We just started trying this chapter, it is new this term,” Schmatjen said. “There are a couple of [IM2 teachers] trying it. We are trying to see if it will motivate the students to stay up to date and on top of the material. It’s being able to see what they know and what they need to learn by the test.”
Students who attend the mandatory tutoring must have their quizzes signed off by their tutor in order to pass.

This new procedure is not being applied to all IM classes, but teachers of that class are encouraging students to take advantage of after school tutoring.

“We don’t have that [strategy] in my IM1, though we do have the tutoring after school but that is more voluntary basis,” IM1 teacher Paul Stewart said.

“We have been looking at testing the kids on an appropriate level instead of a very high one to see if they got it instead of trying it at a new mastery.”

Along with the new method that Schmatjen is experimenting with, she offered an alternative solution to decreasing the fail rate in IM classes.

“We don’t have a sort of intervention class like the geometry workshops we have,” Schmatjen said. “I think that would be helpful for the IM2 students.”

According to Byrd, this is an option the district has been considering as a method to lower the struggle in IM2 along with other efforts like at-home access to online programs and after-school tutoring.

“We are looking for some sort of lab classes or support class to put in between the classes, so if you didn’t do too good in the last one but you’re moving on there will be a support class to help students,” Byrd said.

The district has also agreed to finance a system called ‘Cognitive Tutor,’ an online program that lines up with IM curriculum.

“The district has been super helpful and supportive in offering to pay for after school tutoring to help students,” Byrd said.

Sophomore Aspen Grambusch utilizes the after-school tutoring programs for her IM2 class.

“I come to tutoring after school to get a better understanding, I feel that sometimes my teacher doesn’t go over it very well and I need a little extra help,” Grambush said. “The tutoring gives me that kind of push I need.”