Draft TEKS for math don’t add up yet

“A long way to go.”  That’s the verdict from two expert reviewers for the draft TEKS for math. At the outset of the review process, the Commissioner of Education wanted the strongest standards in the nation. His proposed draft of the Math TEKS begins with this language: “Texas’s  focus on  education  reform  and  accountability  for  the  past  three  decades  leaves  no  doubt  that  Texas  takes  a  leadership  role  in   relation  to  other  states  in  seeking  to  educate  its  citizens.” (The Commissioner’s Draft of the Texas Mathematics Standards, 14 April 2011).  After five months of review and revision, the draft language has a very long way to go. 

Two experts charged by Texas Education Agency with reviewing the draft Math TEKS — Dr. Richard Askey, professor emeritus of math at the University of Wisconsin, and Dr. Wilfried Schmidt, professor of math at Harvard University — told the State Board of Education that Texas has a long way to go in testimony presented Thursday. Concerns — ranging from the vague language of the standards to a lack of emphasis on the development of computational fluency to a discrepancy between focal points for the standards and the actual standards — opened the door for an extensive question and answer period between members of SBOE and the expert reviewers.

Recommendations made to the board include looking at the math standards for California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and the proposed Common Core, all of which have been provided to the TEKS Review Committee, as well as the math standards from Singapore. — Bryan Weatherford, Teaching & Learning Specialist