Wake Ed

Wake County considering competing math products for high schools

A table at Rolesville High School on Feb. 20, 2017 shows copies of McGraw-Hill Education’s Core-Plus Mathematics textbooks that are being considered for use in Wake County high schools.
A table at Rolesville High School on Feb. 20, 2017 shows copies of McGraw-Hill Education’s Core-Plus Mathematics textbooks that are being considered for use in Wake County high schools. khui@newsobserver.com

One of the nation’s largest textbook publishers and a group formed by several Utah math teachers are vying to have their materials used in Wake County high school math courses.

The Wake County school system is holding community input sessions this week to get feedback on whether to use McGraw-Hill Education’s “Core-Plus Mathematics” series or the Mathematics Vision Project’s MVP online materials. Both vendors made the school system’s short list, but only one will be picked and be used beginning as soon as July.

“We have confidence that all of the resources that you will be exposed today have very high standards,” said Brian Kingsley, assistant superintendent for academics, in a video being played at the input sessions. “There were several people who weren’t invited tonight because they didn’t meet the bar that this group of people that you are about to meet with did.”

Both Core-Plus and MVP have similarities. They both tout how they’re aligned with the Common Core State Standards. As a result, they both stress integrated math instead of the traditional separate classes for Algebra 1, geometry and Algebra 2.

Both products also stress learning through activities that focus on solving real-world problems. For instance, students might be asked to solve problems about people who’ve been preparing to run a marathon.

Both products have homework assignments for students and tests that teachers can use.

But there are also some differences.

Core-Plus is a more traditional curriculum resource where students would have a hardbound textbook. But the material can also be accessed online and offline.

McGraw-Hill is also offering access to ALEKS, an online tutoring and assessment program, if Wake picks Core-Plus.

On the other hand, MVP is an online product that was originally developed by several Utah teachers who were concerned about the lack of instructional materials that were aligned with the Common Core. The material is free to use, but Wake would have to pay for things such as teacher answer keys and professional development for teachers.

MVP is used by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. MVP says it’s resulted in math gains in the district.

Wake scheduled four sessions this week for people to hear presentations from both vendors and to personally try out both products. Attendees are then asked to fill out a survey sheet.

Attendance was very light at Monday’s meeting at Rolesville High School.

The remaining meetings this week are Wednesday at Southeast Raleigh High School and Thursday at Enloe High School. The meetings run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Next week, Wake will hold four community input sessions on three vendors vying to have their products picked for use in language arts in grades three through eight. Only one product will be picked.

Next week’s language arts sessions will be held Monday at Heritage High School, Tuesday at Leesville Road High School, March 1 at Fuquay-Varina High School and March 2 at Cary High School. Those sessions are also from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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