Florida Schools Prepare to Choose New Math Programs for State’s Students

Each of Florida’s 67 school districts is now in the process of selecting new math programs for the state’s 2.5 million plus students. With one-half of the fastest-growing occupations in the country requiring math or science backgrounds, educators are focused on selecting 21st century learning materials that teachers will use beginning in the 2010 school year for the next six years to provide the foundation for students’ success in college and in their careers.

In preparation for introducing standards-aligned math programs in grades K-8, the state has inaugurated a new set of guidelines for teaching math as part of its “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards” — benchmarks built on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum Focal Points for Grades PreK-8.

To meet the state’s new requirements, Pearson has developed a series of research-based customized math programs for Florida, including the new Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH Florida for elementary students. The renowned author team for enVisionMATH Florida includes Dr. Francis “Skip” Fennell, past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) who was instrumental in the development of the NCTM Curriculum Focal Points. Dr. Fennell is currently Professor in the Education Department at McDaniel College, Maryland.

Dr. Fennell said, “The new envisionMATH Florida is directly correlated to Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.” He added, “enVisionMATH Florida takes the ‘Big Ideas’ in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and presents them in a scope and sequence that is proven to provide the conceptual learning and problem-solving skills that will put young learners on the path to success in math.”

The tools embedded in the program combined with the sound pedagogical structure of the new enVisionMATH Florida ensure that teachers can provide a solid foundation in math for all levels of students and easily recognize when intervention is needed. Fennell said, “This is especially important to assure that Florida’s growing population of English language learners receives the same opportunity for quality instruction as their peers.”

He added, “Florida shines as the poster child for developing new math standards based on NCTM’s Curriculum Focal Points. The state clearly has recognized the importance of emphasizing the key areas of math by reducing its benchmarks from over 80, to an average of 17 clearly defined standards for math achievement per grade.”

Additionally, Fennell noted that with enVisionMATH Florida students will start learning algebraic concepts as early as kindergarten providing a rock-solid foundation for higher level math in middle school, high school and college.

Independent research conducted by the educational research firm PRES Associates validates that enVisionMATH’s solid instruction improves student achievement in national math assessments, demonstrating significant improvement in problem solving and computation, as well as math concepts and communications.

In a recent interview, Dr. Mariam Azin, president of PRES Associates, said, “In all my years of conducting these kinds of studies, I have never seen such consistency in the results across the board as with the enVisionMATH program efficacy evaluation.” Azin noted that her research findings indicated that students learning with enVisionMATH achieved greater improvement than control students across three standardized assessments - the Group Mathematics Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GMADE), the Balanced Assessment of Math (BAM), and the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT8 Math Computation). Azin pointed out that these improvements were documented for all levels of students, including English learners.

Pearson’s Vice President for Florida Debbie Campbell said, "To develop enVisionMATH Florida, we took the research-based instructional design behind the nation's #1 math program and developed a customized new K-5 math program for Florida, directly aligned to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.” Campbell added, “enVisionMATH Florida includes integrated support for English language learners and a full digital path, allowing teachers to combine print and digital instruction. Additionally, with integrated support for differentiating instruction, enVisionMATH Florida supports the state's widely adopted Response to Intervention (RtI) model for helping struggling learners catch up to grade level and reduce the number of students requiring referral services.”

In addition to Dr. Fennell, other prominent authors of the enVisionMATH Florida program include members of the NCTM Curriculum Focal Points Committee: Dr. Randall Charles, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics at San Jose State University and past vice president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics; and Dr. Jane F. Schielack, Associate Dean for Assessment and PreK-12 Education, Texas A&M University who chaired the Writing Team of the Curriculum Focal Points Committee.