The SCWAMS Math Package is Really Just Two New Courses

The text description of my SCWAMS proposal for the next iteration of the CCSS-M does not allow a proper visualization of how the pieces fit together.

There are really just two courses: “School Math – Tools for Life and Work” and “College Math – Preparing for the Professions”. Both would be full-year courses, and may be delivered in a variety of methods – from traditional classes, to individualized, to online formats. They would not replace the traditional secondary courses. My emphasis is that the skills need to be reviewed, refreshed, integrated as a capstone, and assessed in the two years before high school graduation.

There should be no difficulty in offering School Math in both junior and senior years for those students who need more time to complete the assignments. That is why flexibility in delivery formats is so important. The essential thing is that ALL students meet the standards by graduation time.

Likewise, the College Math could be offered to juniors who have completed School Math as a pre-requisite. Again, the School Math could be delivered in the summer, on weekends, or online for those who might desire an accelerated approach. Again, though, ALL students need to show competency, so no one should be allowed to skip – the assessment, not a transcript, is the evidence of learning.

So the School Math course contains what ALL students NEED TO KNOW for life and work, but nothing more. That means NO “algebra”! There would be lots of “manipulation” of geometric formulas, though.

For the College Math course, I find that the first unit, “Mathematical Methods”, is largely missing from any current or traditional secondary math courses. This unit specifically sets out the topics of: Reasoning, Propositions, Sets, Logic, and Proofs. Mathematical thinking is thus developed as a single process, rather than spread around several courses and chapters, leaving it for the student to connect the dots (which rarely happens). This is the single most critical part of my SCWAMS suggestion, and is not clearly identified in the CCSS-M, although it is certainly an implied goal.

The other parts – Applied Math, and Workplace Math – are built on top of the two core courses, and include concepts related to other school courses, such as the “Communication, Creative, Cultural, and Social Arts (CCCSA)” (aka “Humanities”), and to occupational applications. These are not included in the “21st Century Core Standards (21CCS)”, since the standards are assessed separately. So they are not separate courses, as such, but integrated into the two core courses.

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