On Kitchen Table Math, Barry Garelick quotes from a 2006 report on federally funded training in “standards-based” math teaching, which Garelick defines as “how to teach the crap programs that NSF’s Education and Human Resource Division funded (like Everyday Math, Investigations, IMP, CMP, Core Plus, etc).”
The report lauds “changes in teachers’ beliefs” about the need for ability grouping.
“Before IMP, I felt that there were mathematically unreachable students. I felt that students could not go on to more challenging ideas like algebra, statistics, probability, or trig without basic skills. Fortunately, with my IMP training, I have a different feeling about students. I strongly believe in access to mathematics for all. (Teacher, 6–12 mathematics)”
Before this teacher started using IMP, he/she felt that basic skills were necessary in order to proceed in mathematics. After IMP, which essentially avoids content whenever possible, he/she saw the light. Yes, wonderful things happen when you pretend that content doesn’t matter, and that higher order thinking skills occur just by giving students “authentic” problems without the bother of all those and boring drills and instruction. They are able to reach for the stars. Unfortunately they do so by standing on a two legged stool.
After many years working in science, Garelick is preparing for a second career as a math teacher.