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CRA Families Get Up Close With Math

February 12, 2018

Our recent Up Close guest speaker, noted mathematician and educator Dr. Patrick Callahan, positioned his remarks around a question asked of many employers. “What do you expect of a high school graduate?” In other words, what do you expect them to be able to do?”  During his interesting and humorous presentation, he then drew a direct correlation between the Common Core Standards for Mathematics and our Project Based Learning (PBL) curriculum as both encourage students to be flexible, creative problem solvers. Like CRA, Dr. Callahan believes the best mathematics programs develops students who can think critically, communicate their reasoning, and solve problems arising in the real world. He also discussed common misconceptions about what “rigor” in mathematics, which he cited as generally including making math more difficult just for the sake of it, or accelerating middle school students into higher math courses, such as algebra, though they are not really ready. In point of fact, these practices are negatively impacting college and career readiness. Instead, for example, he believes in making Middle School math more rigorous, which is challenging and meaningful for all students. In support of his observations, he pointed out that the SAT (Suite of Assessments) test has had a complete makeover that prioritizes content that reflects the kind of reading and math students will encounter in college and their future work lives. We will continue to bring knowledgeable experts like Dr. Callahan to campus to share their insights and perspectives with our CRA families.