Weekly Math Updates

March 8, 2007


  • Saxon Deception

Hi all,

I guess based on the events occurring in the schools as you're reporting to me, it's time to bring this to a head. 

I had a conversation with ASD board member Chrissy Hannemann today.  Attached is a document the district committee produced (in the same package as the one defining traditional math) to show the selection committees which programs correlated to the Utah state core.  I held off sending this out because I had heard conflicting stories about what this chart represented but Chrissy told me it was presented to the board as a correlation of the 8 programs they examined, to the Utah state math core. 

The below information is a smoking gun concerning the district's bias and goes right along with the media articles describing how the committee was lamenting losing Investigations and not one person on the committee had anything bad to say about Investigations.  Here are the correlations the committee gave Saxon math:

K: 80%
1st: 65%
2nd: 76%
3rd: 73%
4th: 72%
5th: 57%
6th: 38%

When I first saw this chart I wondered how on earth the charters and private schools that use Saxon can do it?  I actually took the district's side assuming they had been objective and I got nervous. Then I asked a charter school director and curriculum person how they aligned to the core and was told they aligned just fine and was given a set of links to the state correlation on file with the State Board of Education.  Noting that the district had already shown a bias in the news articles reported, I looked up the 3 grades they had marked in red (for being below 70%) and counted the number of standards not covered by Saxon.  Here's the findings:

6th Grade Correlation: http://saxonpublishers.harcourtachieve.com/HA/correlations/pdf/u/UT_Math76.pdf

There's 73 state standards and Saxon meets 68 of them with 5 items being taught in the next higher course.  That's a 93% correlation, not 38%.  The individual standards not met in this grade level are:


5th Grade Correlation: http://saxonpublishers.harcourtachieve.com/HA/correlations/pdf/u/UT_Math65.pdf

I count 79 standards and only 6 are not covered yielding a 92% correlation, not 57%.  The individual standards not met in this grade level are: 


1st Grade Correlation: http://saxonpublishers.harcourtachieve.com/HA/correlations/pdf/u/UT_Math1.pdf

The 1st grade correlation the committee gave Saxon was 65%.  I didn't take the time to count the number of standards because there's a 100% coverage of the state core.  No items are missing from the teaching of the state standards.

Let me disclose it's possible that these percentages should be lower that I'm calculating if someone considers a particular set of exercises aligned to a standard to be weak, but I cannot imagine anything gutting these percentages to the levels the district promoted to the committee and school district employees.

Odd enough, after pointing these things out to Chrissy Hannemann, I was chastized for being biased and not doing correlations on all the other programs listed to find out where else the district committee was incorrect. :~)  I tried to emphasize my purpose in doing this was because many principals are rejecting parent requests to include Saxon in their program selection because the district told them it didn't correlate to the state standards. As I have said, I'm not Saxon-or-bust, but only 2 of the 8 programs the district looked at meet California's standards and are approved for use there. Our new state standards will be very close to California's and we should be picking the strongest programs available now.

Unless the district can show us otherwise, it appears that an intentional effort to kill Saxon from the selection has occurred (or else the people reviewing the program just didn't feel like digging into the correlation).  If this was intentional, the person(s) responsible should be at a minimum reprimanded for deceiving the board and district.

So what to do with this information?  Forward this email to your principal and ask for him to get clarification from the district on how they performed their correlation. Request that Saxon be included in your program selection process because it obviously does meet with the state core.  You might also request Houghton Mifflin Math as another strong program approved in California.

Oak Norton





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