K12 Momentum: December 2022

K12 Momentum The journey to stronger math foundations

Dear friends,

Are the recent declines in NAEP scores surprising? They are depressing–and shifts of this magnitude, particularly for older students, can be tragic. But so too is the fact that math scores have been flat for a decade, with devastating effects on our highest need students. How do we push harder to get under the hood of this endemic problem?

At the foundation, we are reading a lot right now. For example, I recently found myself deep in How I Wish I'd Taught Maths: Lessons Learned from Research, Conversations with Experts, and 12 years of Mistakes by Craig Barton and it struck a chord. Barton discusses the necessity of setting up classrooms for success, to explore classroom practices through cognitive science and learning science, and working collectively to better define good in our field. I’m still mulling over his arguments, reading his citations and talking to teachers about his ideas. I look forward to discussing these findings with you.

I’m sure of one thing: maintaining the status quo is not an option. How do we build and disseminate a stronger science of mathematics, akin to what we have discovered in literacy, to improve instruction? Can we better understand common student distractors that prevent learning via technology and make materials that support teachers managing the diversity in their classrooms? What is necessary to change narratives about who is, or can be, a math learner?

The foundation looks forward to partnering with many of you in our quest to explore these and other questions and push for solutions. Thank you for being on this journey with us. I hope the holidays bring you some time to celebrate and indulge–and also relax and unwind. If you need other book recommendations, Bill Gates had a few here. I’ll see you in 2023!

My very best,

Bob Hughes
Director, K-12 Education


Quick Takes

  • Supporting teacher candidates to become critical consumers of curriculum

    Curriculum literacy is a critical skill for new teachers but too few teacher preparation programs have prioritized it in their coursework. Recognizing the urgent need to support the implementation of high quality instructional materials, several teacher preparation leaders joined together to develop a Teacher Preparation Curriculum Literacy Guide. This guide provides practical support for teacher prep programs to improve the quality and sustainability of their program’s work in curriculum literacy.
  • Helping students in Washington state see a clear path to success

    Nearly 90 percent of high schoolers in Washington state say they want to continue their education after high school. But only 50 percent of Washington’s high school graduates today complete postsecondary programs. Together with the local schools, colleges, and organizations that know their communities best, our Washington State team believes we can help close that gap. Learn more about their new strategy here.
  • A Podcast Recommendation: High Tech High’s Unboxed

    If you aren’t already subscribed to High Tech High’s Unboxed podcast, let this episode be the reason you tune in and dive into their archive. In this recent podcast episode, Michelle Bowman and Elizabeth Foster, of Learning Forward, share how they have incorporated continuous improvement into adult learning in schools and the importance of professional learning.

What We're Reading

The power of student voices - teaching matters in The 74

How would teachers spend the Gates Foundation $1.1 Billion investment in math?

ICYMI: How this CT school district is improving the math classroom