Student Success Skills in Mathematics
The Kansas State Department of Education in conjunction with many PreK - 16 math leaders across the state recently completed work around the areas of personalized learning, real-world application, and student success skills in mathematics.
 
Under the guidance of Melissa Fast, KSDE Education Consultant - Mathematics, the lead team included:
  • Personalized Learning: Dr. Debbie Thompson, Renee Smith, and Dr. Lee Anne Coester
  • Real-World Application:  Bonnie Austin and Lara Staker
  • Student Success Skills: Dr. Julie Thiele and Jolene Goodheart Peterson
Student Success Skills

 Student Success Skills: 

There is an integrated approach to develop student social-emotional growth.

 

Student Success Skills are the co-academic knowledge, inter- and intra-personal skills and attitudes that students and adults must acquire to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others and establish and maintain positive relationships. This includes students character, social skills, and personal skills. 

What are Student Success Skills in Mathematics?
Student Success most closely aligns with social emotional learning. While there are many variations to Social Emotional Learning, all experts agree that social emotional learning is not an event. It’s not a binder on the shelf or a set of isolated activities. In order to be truly successful, social emotional learning must be an extension of school, embedded in our culture and classrooms. It’s how we act, learn, and grow. It’s how we treat others, as well as ourselves. If we expect students to not only be successful in their post-secondary aspirations, but also productive citizens, we must support student student skills.
 
Below are great resources to help build your understanding around student success skills in mathematics.
Five keys to successful social and emotional learning include:
  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Skills
  5. Responsible Decision-Making.
How are Student Success Skills directly connected to the student Standards for Mathematical Practice and Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices?
There is an iterative and complex relationship between the Standards for Mathematical Practices, the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices and Student Success Skills. There is not a one-to-one correlation or a simple stimulus-response relationship.  Teachers should implement the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices, which encourage students to develop co-academic knowledge, attitudes and skills that are woven into the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
 
The Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) describe varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. 
 
The Standards for Mathematical Practice include: 
  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
 
When these practices become a natural extension of mathematical thinking and reasoning, students will demonstrate inter- and intra-personal skills that will allow them to be successful in and beyond the classroom. This extends not only to mathematics, but also other subjects.  In order to support Student Success Skills, students should engage in the SMPs while learning mathematics. To encourage students’ engagement in SMPs, teachers should implement the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices.
 
When teachers incorporate NCTM’s Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices into the classroom, students will naturally employ the Standards for Mathematical Practice.  These eight Effective Teaching Practices drive students to successful mathematical thinking and reasoning in and out of the classroom. As teachers effectively implement these teaching practices, learning naturally happens for all students. 
 
The Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices include: 
  • Establish mathematics goals to focus learning.
  • Implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving.
  • Use and connect mathematical representations.
  • Facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse.
  • Pose purposeful questions.
  • Build procedural fluency from conceptual understanding. 
  • Support productive struggle in learning mathematics. 
  • Elicit and use evidence of student thinking. 
Social emotional learning should be connected to the classroom, yet in many schools, it is disconnected from our classroom practices. The Standards for Mathematical Practice engage students in inter- and intrapersonal skills, fostering the development of social emotional competencies. A genuine growth mindset is not cultivated on one lesson, or one day, or even one week. It is a way of thinking that evolves over time and with practice. 
Are there limitations within this area for mathematics? Are there instructional practices that should be avoided for mathematics?
The landscape of mathematics education has changed. We value mathematics with connections; we no longer only value memorized facts and procedures.  We focus on a balance of performance and learning goals. The days of computing algorithms without connections and thinking are gone. If we are to truly meet the needs of our communities and world, educators must shift what we value in mathematics education.
 
As teachers and students implement these practices and social emotional learning, teachers and students may discover gaps in their own mathematical understanding. Teachers should approach mathematics with an open-mind, stretching their own thinking about mathematics for the benefit of their students social-emotional and academic growth. 
 
As we shift what we value in mathematics, schools will confront years of tradition. These traditions have created mathematically inflexible students and those who consider themselves “bad at math.”  Traditional instructional and grading practices often exaggerate these inaccurate beliefs students hold about learning and mathematics. 
 
Additionally, many textbooks do not support the necessary shifts and values in order to create successful students of mathematics. Student Success in mathematics is more than finding a correct answer and completing multiple exercises in the same format; it’s thinking critically and connecting mathematics to our world, it’s using mathematics to find solutions to student derived problems, based on real situations in their lives.
What does Student Success Skills look like in the mathematics classroom?
 

The following productive actions apply to Student Success Skills.
 
  Likewise, the following unproductive actions often do not apply to Student Success Skills.   
 
 
  

Productive Practices

(What it IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Balanced goals of mathematical learning and performance goals

One-sided goals focused solely on performance or learning

High-quality, open mathematical tasks

Mathematical procedures and memorized facts

Promote Struggle as a Means of Learning

Alleviate Struggle as a Means of Help

Meaningful Student Discourse

Teacher-Directed Discussion

Effectively assess learning and performance goals

Assessment focuses on procedures over learning

Grades accurately communicate learning

Grade inflation misrepresents learning

 

What instructional strategies are appropriate for Student Success Skills in mathematics?
Student Success and Social-Emotional Learning are not stand alone events. It’s not a binder of activities nor quarterly rallies. Instead, student success is embedded in our school culture and classrooms. It’s how we behave every day, not just some days. It’s the language and encouragement we use daily. It’s an extension of mathematics, including the environment, instruction, experience, assessment, grading and reporting practices within mathematics.
 
These strategies shift beyond content standards to address student success, not only in mathematics, but also in all courses. While these strategies are an investment in the long-term success of each student, these can be difficult to implement alone. These strategies are most successful when teachers calibrate and implement strategies together, making Student Success a natural extension of our school, embedded in our culture and classrooms.
 

Dowload Copy of Productive & Unproductive Strategies for Student Success Skills

  

COMING SOON - Expanded Productive & Unproductive Strategies for Student Success Skills

 

Instructional strategies that support Student Success in Mathematics

Productive Practices

(What it is IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Balanced goals of mathematical learning and performance goals
One-sided goals focused solely on performance or learning
High-quality, open mathematical tasks
Mathematical procedures and memorized facts
Teacher assumes facilitator role to pose questions in a strategic way that meets students needs, honors students current level of thinking, and progresses their thinking in the search for understanding and skill.
Teacher delivers information to students, with minimal regard for students’ prior knowledge.
Teacher and students develop mutual respect, utilize strategies to build a safe and supportive culture while constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others in a courteous manner.
Teacher directs discussion, asking questions that focus on efficient solution paths with correct answers only.
Students share in the responsibility of listening, questioning, constructing, and critiquing.
Students listen and reply directly to the teacher when requested, with little to no peer interaction.

 

Experiences that support Student Success in Mathematics

Productive Practices

(What it is IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Teacher demands engagement instead of tolerating compliance.
Teacher promotes compliance instead of valuing engagement.
Teacher and students recognize struggle as part of meaningful learning experiences. Teacher intentionally acknowledges mistakes using responsive teaching.
Teacher and students view mistakes as rigid and absolute, limiting the learning opportunity of preconceived misconceptions.
Teacher believes all students are capable of learning mathematics at high levels.
Teacher believes that not all students are capable of learning and demonstrating mathematical understanding.
Teacher maintains rigor in mathematical tasks.
Teacher unintentionally decreases rigor and demand.

 

Environmental factors that support Student Success in Mathematics

Productive Practices

(What it is IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Teacher implements tasks that promote conceptual understanding prior to procedural fluency.
Teacher values procedures and computation practice.
Students embrace challenges as learning opportunities.
Students avoid challenges.
Students make multiple connections and reason qualitatively and quantitatively.
Students practice procedures without connections to mathematical representations.
Students persevere while creatively and critically solving problems.
Students express apathy to mathematics, failing to see relevance and connections.

 

Assessment practices that support Student Success in Mathematics

Productive Practices

(What it IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Teacher encourages students to set, monitor, adapt, and evaluate goals, valuing the learning process.
Teacher grades using points, focusing on correct/incorrect responses, rather than through the lens of learning gradations.
Teacher assesses understanding through a variety of methods (i.e. mathematical models, strategies, algorithms).
Teacher assesses skills only, rather than balanced with deep understanding.
Teacher and students engage in a feedback cycle to promote growth.
Feedback is stagnant, in the form of point deductions, with no reteaching or revisiting concepts.
Teacher encourages students to set, monitor, adapt, and evaluate goals, valuing the learning process.
Teacher grades using points, focusing on correct/incorrect responses, rather than through the lens of learning gradations.

 

Grading and reporting practices that support Student Success in Mathematics

Productive Practices

(What it IS)

Unproductive Practices

(What it is NOT)

Teacher monitors and reports mathematical learning and performance goals separate from student success skills and non-academic factors.
Teacher combines academic and non-academic factors into one report (letter grade).
Teacher communicates grades that represent an accurate picture of what students know and can do, allowing students to submit revisions without penalty to promote continuous learning.
Teacher records grades based on lesson progression without instructional adjustments based on student needs, following a rigid timeline for mastery of content.
Teachers allow students to submit revisions, without penalty, to promote continuous learning.
Teacher records first attempts at learning without resubmissions for learning opportunities.
Teacher implements equitable grading practices.
Teacher applies equal grading practices.

 

Resources for Student Success Skills in Mathematics
Click on column header to sort.
 TitleCategoryDescription
Why normalizing struggle can create a better math experience for kids ArticleWhy normalizing struggle can create a better math experience for kids
How to improve student educational outcomesArticleHow to improve student educational outcomes new insights from data analytics McKinsey 2017
Personalized Learning and Mathematics Teaching and Learning – NCTM President Robert BerryArticlePersonalized learning is connected to the teaching practices in the NCTM article by Robert Q. Berry III. When teachers intentionally use these teaching practices then the student practices are reflected in the lesson.
The Power of Noticing and WonderingArticle 
Social and emotional learning and mathematicsArticle 
Ditch the Math Worksheets and Stop Killing Kids' CuriosityArticleEarly Childhood Mathematics Experiences
5 Keys to Successful Social and Emotional LearningArticleStudies show that sustained and well-integrated social and emotional learning (SEL) engages students and improves achievement. Explore classroom practices that make up the most effective SEL programs.
Born Again Teacher: Transforming Math Class Through the Power of CharacterArticle 
Developing Conceptual Understanding and Procedural FluencyBlogWhich is more important for students to have: conceptual understanding or procedural fluency? Does one have to be taught before the other can emerge?
Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics – Van de Walle, Lovin, Karp, Bay-WilliamsBookThis resource provides practical strategies and techniques for teaching mathematics centered around best practices.This resource is not intended to define personalized learning but to give supports in creating a mathematics environment that values student
Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All - NCTMBookSpecific, research-based teaching practices that are essential for a high-quality mathematics education for each and every student are combined with core principles to build a successful mathematics program at all levels.
Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices - NCTMBookCoherent set of professional learning experiences designed to foster teachers’ understanding of the effective mathematics teaching practices and their ability to apply those practices in their own classrooms
Kansas Social, Emotional, and Character Development Model Standards (2012, 2018) StandardsKSDE Social, Emotional, and Character Development Standards.
The Power of belief - mindset and successVideo 
How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learningVideoJo Boaler discusses important research on our student’s belief and unlimited potential.
Change your mindset, change the gameVideoChange your mindset, change the game | Dr. Alia Crum | TEDxTraverseCity
How great leaders inspire actionVideoSimon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership -- starting with a golden circle and the question: "Why?"
Math class needs a makeoverVideoDan Meyer shows math exercises that prompt students to stop and think. The math serves the conversation, not the conversation serving the math.
Being a fantastic educator, a lesson from my nieceVideoBeing a fantastic educator, a lesson from my niece | Jordan D’Olier
Five Principles of Extraordinary Math TeachingVideoFive Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching | Dan Finkel
Contact Information

 

Vacant
Mathematics Program Consultant
dfernkopf@ksde.org
  Vacant
Senior Administrative Assistant
tkirtdoll@ksde.org
(785) 296-3142

 


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