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Leslie Arnold, Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District
Linda Gojak, President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Two-thirds of Clark County sophomores failed their math proficiency exam, an echo of what happened to reading scores in 2011 when the state raised those standards.
“We kind of had an expectation that we would see this drop, because we did have the raising of the passing score for the first time,” says Leslie Arnold, Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District. “From 2011 the cut score was 242 to pass the math portion. This year it was raised to 300.”
Arnold says one of the reasons students may have poor performance is because students’ coursework isn’t as advanced as the concepts tested. Another reason is the schools aren’t teaching advanced math soon enough – she says student should learn advanced math beginning in the middle school grades.
But Linda Gojak, President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics says middle school is too late.
“I think we need to start to think about when kids enter 1st and 2nd grade, what kind of foundation we are laying for their understanding of the mathematical context and concepts, so that as they approach middle school they have the foundation that’s laid, they are prepared to take on more abstract concepts that eventually lead to what happens in the high school,” says Gojak.