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Technical Math Course Shows Promise


December 19, 2013


Technical Math Course Shows Promise

A new report from the National Research Center for CTE shares findings on the development and implementation of a technical math course.

The Oregon Applied Academics Project included development teams of math and CTE teachers with prior experience with the NRCCTE's Math-in-CTE project who identified the math embedded in manufacturing, engineering and construction curricula; devised units using a project-based learning approach; and developed lessons using a seven-element framework adapted from the Math-in-CTE model. The technical math course was piloted, and professional development was provided.

Below are highlighted findings:

  • The technical math students did gain skills in mathematics, as demonstrated by an analysis of ACCUPLACER® scores; however, math achievement did not improve more for technical math students than it did for their counterparts in other math courses.
  • Technical math students who scored highly on the pretest demonstrated improved performance during the year, while math achievement remained about the same for their peers with higher pretest achievement who were taking geometry.
  • Students' attitudes toward math improved more than their counterparts in algebra and geometry, and students appreciated the problem-based learning approach.
  • Teachers expressed satisfaction with the model and its benefits for students, and all teachers who participated in the third year reported they would continue to use the units even if the full course is not offered in their schools.
  • The math content within the course units met the rigor of Oregon's high school math standards.

According to the researchers, this project has several principles in common with the Math-in-CTE model, principles that made the project work well for stakeholders. These include establishing partnerships between math and CTE teachers, developing a community of practice, keeping math central to problems and questions investigated by students, adapting instruction when needed and recognizing the differences between teaching math in context and teaching CTE.


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