In an article about how to help students make up lost ground due to the pandemic, the Detroit News featured an interview with Jill Diniz, chief academic officer for mathematics at Great Minds®.
Math scores are down in Michigan and across the country amid COVID-related disruptions to education. In general, students have fared worse in math than literacy in the pandemic, and Diniz discussed the issue with Detroit News reporter Jennifer Chambers for the article “With Michigan students struggling in math, schools look to change the equation in approach” (subscription required).
"In math, there are fewer prompts that are naturally happening outside schools. There is always reading material around, the newspaper, magazines or on your phone. You see a lot fewer of those prompts in those math practices. A lot of parents are uneasy about their own math competency," Diniz explained in the article.
Detroit Public Schools Community District has used Eureka Math® since 2018, making learning gains with the curriculum prior to the pandemic. "After only one year of implementation [of Eureka Math], DPSCD students showed the largest improvement in NAEP scores among all large urban school districts," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in the article.
He added, "Due in part to [Eureka Math], our students have demonstrated less learning loss in math than Detroit charter schools and the state of Michigan. I have no doubt that with a full year of a more normal teaching and learning environment, we will once again demonstrate improved proficiency and growth in math this year.”
Diniz noted in the interview that many students lack confidence in their math ability, a problem worsened by outdated materials and methods of instruction. She said that thankfully many schools are moving away from those materials and methods.
"That’s a symptom of math being taught in an overly procedural way with the emphasis only on speed and accuracy and performing procedures. High-quality math materials today do a much better job of balancing conceptual understanding and quantitative relations," she said.
The Great Minds Math Team looks forward to continuing to support students and teachers in Detroit this school year and help them make the strong strides and academic recovery we know they’re capable of.
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Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.