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**Q) What is CPM and why are there opponents of it?**

A) CPM stands for College Preparatory Math. It has been in existence since 1989. It is a research based approach to mathematics. It utilizes teacher direct instruction, student collaboration and spaced practice to ensure a deep level of learning within mathematics. This resource has been used for many years and within many school districts in the state of Ohio. Many people believe that CPM was created because of the new common core math standards so there is a feeling that CPM is a Common Core resource. This is not true. CPM is aligned with the new standards and it does have the mathematical practices infused within instruction but it is NOT a resource that was created for the common core.

The other issue is CPM’s use of collaborative groups for both mathematical investigations and group assessments. There is a belief that CPM is all about the students teaching each other and students being responsible for their own learning. This is not the case. The teacher is still the most important factor in the instruction. Through direct and guided instruction, the teacher provides the instruction that is necessary for students to engage in mathematical learning both individually and collaboratively.

**Q) Is it true with CPM that, as a team member, my grade is determined by the work habits of everyone, not just myself?**

A) This is not true. Students work collaboratively to solve mathematical investigations. These are not graded. This is an opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of the math skills that are being taught. The students will complete homework, take quizzes, and take an end of unit assessment on their own. These grades will make up a majority of a student’s overall grade. The “team assessment” that is given at the end of each unit, prior to the “individual assessment”, is graded but is a very small percentage of the student’s overall grade. Students also have the opportunity to ask the teacher to grade their “team assessment” separately from the group. However, if the student's individual grade is worse than the group grade, they will earn their individual grade.

**Q) Someone wrote a post that the philosophy behind the CPM multidimensional classroom is to encourage all students to “feel good about themselves in the math classrooms” (Boaler, J, 2008), while working on an open task in a small group of varying mathematical aptitudes.” Is this true?**

A) The statement above is from someone who is not affiliated with the writing or development of the CPM textbook. The writer-developers of CPM began with the belief that the primary goal of teaching mathematics should be long-term knowledge. If learning does not persist past the end of the chapter or the end of the year, in what sense has the student learned anything useful? So the question became, what are the most effective ways to foster long term learning? Ultimately, the program was built around three fundamental principles informed by both theory and practice:

1. Initial learning of a concept is best supported by discussions within cooperative learning groups guided by a knowledgeable teacher.

2. Integration of knowledge is best supported by engagement of the learner with a wide array of problems around a core idea.

3. Long-term retention and transfer of knowledge is best supported by spaced practice or spiraling.

**Q) Why are students asked to work in groups, collaborating with each other as they work through math problems?**

A) Collaboration among students in an educational setting is nothing new. However, it is unusual in educational research to have such unanimity of findings—social interaction increases the ability to learn ideas and to integrate them well into their existing cognitive structures. The main result of all of these tens of thousands of hours of research is that cooperative learning is a more effective way than direct instruction for students of all ages to learn most concepts—and is especially effective for students learning non-linguistic concepts (Qin, op. cit.).

**Q) Is it true that students are responsible for each other’s learning in their group work and that teachers expect students to explain solutions to mathematical problems when other students in the group do not understand?**

A) Students are responsible for their own behavior within the group work. They are also responsible for their own engagement in the work. The book provides structured guidance during class time for the students to explore questions in study teams where they can work together and exploit each other’s insights to gain understanding. The teacher is always circulating through the classroom to monitor, guide, and intervene as necessary in the discussions so that students do not lead each other astray.

**Q) Is it true that students are not allowed to move ahead until everyone in the group has mastered the mathematical concept and that acceleration is not encouraged in the class?**

A) This statement is not true. There are problems that are in the textbook that are geared for those students who need enrichment. The assessments that are created can also be adjusted to provide varying levels of the same type of question. This ensures that all students are being challenged at an appropriate level. There are also additional resources for each CPM course. These can be found at http://www.cpm.org/teachers/resByCourse.htm. This section is arranged by course and includes enrichment materials that the teachers may use with students in their classes.

**Q) Is it true that within CPM students who are under achieving are brought to the same level as the higher achieving students through the use of group work?**

A) All students in the class engage in collaborative mathematical discovery. There are many students who will benefit from this type of learning. While students in a group are collaborating, those who have a stronger understanding of mathematical concepts will provide an opportunity for learning through the nature of their discussion for students who are not as strong in these mathematical concepts. However, all students are required to show their understanding of the material on individual homework, quizzes and tests.

**Q) I have seen a post where someone keeps referencing a researcher named Boaler. Who is Boaler and what does he have to do with CPM?**

A) Jo Boaler wrote a case study on a school named Railside. Here is the study link: https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/boaler__staples_2008_tcr.pdf. When you read the study, you will see that Railside did not use CPM. They used resources from Integrated Math and CPM, but basically the teachers created their own teaching environment and lessons. These quotes by Boaler have nothing to do with CPM and are related to his research study only.

**Q) Why can’t we go back to the “old” way we did math?**

A) The mathematics we do today is the same mathematics we did in the past. For example, students still learn how to factor polynomials, multiply, divide, solve for “x”, etc. However, within the CPM instruction, students emerge with a deeper understanding of the topic and a better appreciation of where it fits into the whole structure of mathematics. Some skills need to be mastered and become automatic, but simply memorizing what to do in a specific situation without an understanding of the reasons why the method works too often leads to quick forgetting and no real long-term learning. CPM does provide a resource for parents. The guide presents each idea in the course concisely followed by examples, problems and answers. The link is: http://www.cpm.org/parents/resources.htm

**Q) Why aren’t the homework problems reflective of what we learned that day in class?**

A) Part of each night’s homework is designed to reinforce the new ideas learned during class and the remaining questions are selected to recall and practice concepts and skills that were developed in previous lessons and chapters. Homework is essential for the internalization and reinforcement of ideas. Solving problems that are like those studied weeks or months before not only helps maintain the previous knowledge, it helps integrate the old knowledge with the new.

**Q) While using CPM math, why do you learn a concept/skill one day and then see that same standard taught again in a month, in a different chapter?**

A) This is called the “spacing effect”, which is an overwhelmingly well-documented phenomenon that shows that learning is improved when the learning time is interrupted, or spaced, rather than being continuous, or massed. Spacing thus has three positive effects for learning mathematics:

1. it helps students learn better;

2. it helps students remember longer; and

3. it helps students transfer their knowledge more effectively.

**Q) Why do students have to work in groups?**

A) As we prepare our students to graduate and become both college and career ready, we recognize that we have to prepare students for the soft skills needed to be successful in whatever pathway they choose. Forbes magazine identified the top ten skills that employers are looking for in their employees. Six of the ten skills can be found within the mathematical practices. This is the link to the Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/12/10/the-10-skills-that-will-get-you-a-job-in-2013/

**Q) What is the role of the teacher within a CPM led classroom?**

A) Teachers begin each unit using a direct instruction approach. They identify the learning targets of the unit and provide a review of background knowledge needed in order for students to engage in the new concepts. After the unit is introduced, the students begin to work collaboratively within their teams on a mathematical investigation. While students are working collaboratively, the teacher circulates among the groups, asking probing questions and ensuring the group is working towards a correct answer. When the students have completed the investigation, the teacher provides reinforcement and reteaching if needed.

**Q) Why were students not involved in the selection of new math materials?**

A) The process of selecting resources for the content areas (in all academic areas) is done very strategically. The committee is comprised of teachers who have a strong content and pedagogical knowledge of their perspective area of concentration. Representatives from the various textbook/resource companies are invited to present to the teachers. They provide a review of their products, they give us samples and answer any questions the teachers may have. We also look to other schools in the surrounding area to ask for their feedback on the resources they are using (Solon, Chagrin Falls, Kenston, Beachwood, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, and Hudson have also adopted CPM). We use a rubric to assist us in determining what resource will best meet the needs of all of the students in the Olmsted Falls City Schools. The teachers have the content knowledge needed to engage in such an important process. Students would have a limited ability to determine a comprehensive PreK-12 resource adoption.

**Q) Why should the “team assessment” impact my student’s individual grade?**

A) This was a lengthy discussion among the high school and middle school math teachers. The “team assessment” is meant to be a review for the upcoming individual assessment. It is a supervised study session for the students where they have an opportunity to review what they have learned throughout the math unit, to ask questions about what they don’t understand and to identify what it is that they have retained. While the “team assessment” is graded, it is a very small portion of the individual student's overall grade. Each grade and course have decided the weighted point breakdown for their grades.

**Q) Besides the “team assessment” and the “individual assessment”, where else are the grades coming from?**

A) Students are graded using individual quizzes, end of unit assessments, and their individual homework for either completion or correctness or both. This is the same as it has been in the past.

**Q) Is CPM being used in a pilot or is CPM the adopted resource for the Olmsted Falls City School District?**

A) CPM was used last year in some classrooms as a pilot. At the end of our math study last year, the decision was made to use CPM as our math adoption for grades 6 through 12. Currently PreK-5 is undergoing a pilot using Bridges and Eureka. We will determine which resource to adopt in January of this school year. Implementation of the PreK to 5 resource will begin at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.