5.19.22 – Fordham Institute

Evidence, Struggling Math Students, and California’s 2022 Math Framework”
By Tom Loveless


[COMMENTS BY DONNA GARNER: Tom Loveless is one of the “good guys” because for many years he has supported “fact-based, academic, traditional” curriculum and instruction for students (i.e., Type #1 – my terminology for ease in communicating) because he knows the scientific brain research.

Mr. Loveless knows that students must learn the algorithms (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to automaticity. This is the same principle that must be followed for students to learn to read well. They must be taught phonemic awareness/decoding (phonics) skills to the automaticity level (through long-term memory), and students learn this best through direct/explicit/systematic instruction.  

By students being able to pull up the algorithms (in math) and to sound out the words (in reading) from their long-term memory, their brains are then freed up to focus on solving the word problem and/or being able to understand the meaning of the passage.   

Tom Loveless explains this all-important principle in his article:

Excerpts from this article:

Click Here

Students who struggle with math often have not mastered basic facts of whole number addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division (e.g., 4 + 7 = 11, 16 – 8 = 8, 4 x 9 = 36, 72 / 8 = 9). Asked to apply these facts quickly in multidigit calculations, the students flounder.

So much working memory is devoted to simple calculations, the new procedures students encounter with multidigit arithmetic and fractions—and later algebra—cannot command sufficient cognitive resources.

Fluency with basic facts often goes by the term “automaticity,” the ability to retrieve math facts effortlessly from long-term memory. The word does not appear in the California Math Framework. Nor do the terms “retrieval practice” or “interleaved practice” appear, [which are] instructional strategies for enhancing students’ automaticity and long-term memory…

The [proposed California Math] framework believes that speed should be dropped in favor of flexibility, arguing that an emphasis on speed creates math anxiety [which I call Type #2 with an emphasis on subjectivity, feelings, emotions, opinions].

Instead, the new, proposed 2022 California Mathematics Framework [which are Type #2] “places all its bets on instruction that attends to mindset theory, lessons using math to explore social justice topics…the idea that students could fall behind once this instructional regime is established is treated as unlikely…

As a long time reader of California’s frameworks, I can say that the 2022 Math Framework is the most inquiry-oriented that I’ve seen since the 1992 California Math Framework [which said]…Children often misinterpret and misapply arithmetic and algebraic procedures taught the traditional way. This program, in contrast, values developing number and symbol sense over mastering specific computational procedures and manipulations.

In his article, Mr. Loveless lays out 43 pieces of well-documented research found in What Works Clearinghouse of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).  This research focuses on students who struggle with math.  He then lists the six most important strategies that need to be used for students to gain fluency in math. The proposed 2022 Math Framework does not even mention this research and instead is tied to the concept of social justice math.

Please read Tom Loveless’ full article at this link: