A better math idea? Check the numbers

Robert Miller:

He created Reasoning Mind because he had a dismal opinion of American education, from kindergarten through high school.
This Web-based math program “does not merely incorporate technology into teaching. It is based in technology and capitalizes on the power of technology to deliver information and content,” Dr. Alexander R. “Alex” Khachatryan said.
The results from a pilot program during the 2005-06 school year were impressive. At-risk students at a Houston school and advanced math students at a school in College Station were introduced to Reasoning Mind.
“At the inner-city school, the test group’s average improvement from the pre-test to the post-test was 67 percent, while the control group improved 6 percent,” Dr. Khachatryan said.
“The test group students also demonstrated extraordinary results – a 20 percent higher passing rate – on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, despite the fact that only three out of 48 problems directly checked students’ knowledge of the two math units covered by RM in the pilot,” he said.

Reasoning Mind website.

3 thoughts on “A better math idea? Check the numbers”

  1. It’s always a treat to review the “newest” revolutionary educational idea. Of course, one can predict that many old ideas become new ideas wrapped in the cloak of computerization, and hyped by the ever-discerning press.
    From the research paper referenced on the RM website is the following quote: “All of the students received traditional mathematics instruction as scheduled for seventh grade students; the students in the experimental group also participated in the Reasoning Mind Pilot Project.”
    To be obvious then. The control group and experimental group of kids received that same instruction “during the day”. But the experimental group received additional instruction using the RM approach (and specific to the math areas that were the subject of the testing).
    What a revolutionary concept and approach to teaching! — give the kids additional and focused instruction and they will learn more. Wow!?

  2. Addendum: The study referenced above is “AN EVALUATION OF THE REASONING MIND PILOT PROGRAM AT HOGG MIDDLE SCHOOL” by W. A. Weber, College of Education, University of Houston.
    To quote further from the study:
    “These results are remarkable when one considers the length of the experimental treatment in which the experimental group participated. Between the administrations of the pretest and the posttest, the students in the Pilot Program had the opportunity to participate in only twenty-nine, one and one-half hour sessions beginning on January 28 and ending on May 20. Thus, each of the students in the experimental group received a maximum of forty-three and a half hours of instruction.”
    So, “only” 43.5 more hours of instruction! Assuming a 17 week school semester, and 5 one-hour days of math instruction per week (for 85 hours of math instruction), the kids in the experimental group received 1/2 semester of additional instruction.
    I’m not going to disparage Prof Weber for his/her study — I’m guessing he was paid by the RM folks to gloat over this new teaching method. He did what he was told — but he placed enough honest information into this report for all who care to discern the truth about the RM approach.

  3. Larry,
    I suppose your comment could be turned around. What was it about the instructional method that the kids in the experimental group willingly participated in the extra instruction?
    Another realated question. Would additional instruction with conventional methods have been so willingly received?
    – Jerry

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