The 2017 GAPS standardized math test scores show what I believe is a significant problem. The two high schools have a 38- and 46-percent pass percentage. All of the GAPS schools' scores range from a low of 17 percent to a high of 75 percent, and an average pass rate of 42 percent.

I was one of three asked by the school district to observe how the implementation of Common Core math will solve this problem. Having completed the observation, and reviewing a number of documents, I reached a few non-scientific conclusions:

1. The instructors we observed we very capable and dedicated to implementing the techniques supported by Common Core.

2. The following two items from the instructional material that were identified as “student achievement is at historic highs”: a. The percentage of fourth-grade students scoring proficient or above in the NAEP rose from 13 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 2013. An increase of 29 percent in 23 years, an average improvement of 1.25 percent per year; b. The improvement for 8th graders went from 15 percent to 36 percent during the same period — a 21 percent improvement in 23 years.

On the challenge side, the NAEP score for 17-year-olds had remained flat since 1973, and only 44 percent of high school seniors were ready for college in 2013.

I do not see how it is possible to claim this as an improvement that supports Common Core.

My conclusions: 

1. GAPS as an organization, (not specific individuals) does not believe that there is a significant math problem with their students. GAPS believes that all of the math issues are either out of their control or are being addressed by the programs they are implementing.

2. Unfortunately, the focus of the training and the training materials that I observed was on technique and not on results.

Skeet Arasmith

Millersburg, (Jan. 9)

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