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Schools consider return to old math

Posted: October 11, 2011 - 7:21pm

Six years ago, Georgia sixth-graders became guinea pigs when state education officials introduced a new integrated math curriculum.

Abandoning the tradition of separating various math disciplines into singular subjects, integrated math combined elements of algebra, geometry and calculus into a single course.

Integrated math followed those sixth-graders as they aged, with new courses introduced with each promotion to the next grade level.

Now rising seniors in high school, those former sixth-graders might see the integrated math experiment end with their graduations.

Earlier this year, state Board of Education officials voted to allow local school systems the opportunity to keep integrated math or revert to the traditional "discrete" math.

With little time to retrain teachers or purchase textbooks using the old math, the Columbia County school board decided to keep the current curriculum for at least this school year and then decide if they wish to go back to discrete math.

"Honest to Pete, we really don't know what's going to happen," said school system Director of High School Learning Rose Carraway.

"Our population wants to go to discrete math, but we were very wise I think in just waiting to see what the state's going to do."

Multiple obstacles might affect a reversion to discrete math.

One such obstacle is that discrete math won't be what many consider the traditional math curriculum, Superintendent Charles Nagle told the school board in May.

Discrete math, he said, breaks out geometry as a separate subject, but other math courses still combine algebra and calculus.

Also, school officials are unsure how discrete math might mesh with the federal Common Core Standards, rigorous curricula introduced last year for English and math through all grade levels. Georgia and 47 other states pledged to develop core standards.

 

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