Even in the early grades, raising math scores has become a priority as the curriculum has become more exacting.
The young mathematicians in Naeemah Brooks’ class are doing some pretty complex work.
They draw multicolor bar graphs. They plot X- and Y-axes. They analyze data.
They are only in first grade.
The Standards of Learning were changed in 2009 by the State Education Department, and the new exams started in the 2011-2012 school year. Immediately the pass rates fell across the state. Recently they have begun to inch upward again.
The gains are attributed to early introduction of some math concepts, and to more rigorous instruction. Also, math specialists have been employed by the district to work with students who9 need more help, and to train teachers in new strategies.
One example of the problem solving strategy includes having children measure their classmates height in snowballs. They then tally and graph the results.