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In Math, Numbers Matter

Posted by Chuck Evans on Feb 20, 2020 9:45:00 AM

singapore math

A CCA math teacher told me a few weeks ago, “You know that people think that the math program at CCA is weak.” To which I was thrilled to reply, “You know, I haven’t heard that once this year!”

Math is one of the most challenging subjects to teach consistently well. Math education in the United States, generally, is a confused and confusing field. The confusion shows up most prominently in the annual international testing comparisons in which American students score perennially poorly.

CCA, however, has made tremendous progress in cutting through the confusion with some really great results. Not only do our advanced math students distinguish themselves in engineering and other math-related fields in college, but our Grammar and Logic School programs are moving forward at a rapid rate, validated by a recent report on our standardized test scores.

private school math scores trending up

CCA’s Math Instructional Coach, Melissa Conklin, recently compiled our students’ math scores on the CTP-5, comparing our students to top college preparatory schools as well as other classical Christian schools. (You can see Mrs. Conklin’s report here.)

I’ll quote her summary:

“In 2017, CCA ranked behind Independent and ACCS Schools in mathematics in all grades (with the exception of 5th grade which ranked above ACCS schools). In 2018, CCA ranked behind Independent and ACCS schools in mathematics in all grades.”

“In 2019, after almost two years of focused on-going grade level specific professional development, model lessons, and campus-wide workshops, CCA ranks ahead of Independent and ACCS Schools in grades 2-5 (with the exception of 5th grade which ranked 2% behind Independent schools [in only one of three testing categories].”

To understand how significant this progress is, it helps to know against whom our students are being compared.

The Independent School Norm group consists of “the average of the most recent three years of testing by independent school CTP users throughout the U.S. and abroad.” These schools are among the top private schools in the country, including schools like All Saints Fort Worth, Episcopal School of Dallas, Fort Worth Academy, Fort Worth Country Day, Greenhill School Addison, Jesuit Dallas, Trinity Valley Fort Worth, and dozens more just in Texas.

We also compare scores with other members of the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS), including Covenant Fort Worth, Covenant Dallas, Cambridge Dallas, and Coram Deo Flower Mound.

When you look at the rankings, you will notice that the Independent Schools generally outperform the classical Christian schools, and CCA students outperform both norm groups, sometimes by statistically significant margins. Like any standardized test, this is one snapshot, but the upward trend over three years is undeniable.

cca outperforming in math

Mrs. Amy Allen, CCA’s third-grade lead teacher, wrote a great blog about the importance of a positive mindset toward math in the lower grades. That positivity, combined with the sophistication of our Singapore strategies and Math In Focus, is making a big difference in students’ confidence AND performance.

In math, the numbers really do matter.

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Topics: Education