This blog article is a parody which tells the story of two fictional characters. In this fictional story, the characters have experiences which I believe are representative of numerous anecdotes and concerns shared by parents.
If you've read articles on this blog, you've no doubt read about impacts MVP is having on some students' confidence in math, impacts on wallets as "parents of means" hire tutors or buy other resources, and most importantly, impact on learning as many students in MVP Heavy classes continue to fail assessments despite considerable at-home efforts.
At the end of the day (or semester in this case), what will be left as a reminder of your child's MVP experience will be grades on their transcript. Do grades really matter? Educators will answer that question different ways depending on the circumstances. But let's be honest. Most parents who care enough about their kids' math class to get on a Facebook group and post and comment, probably are parents who are expecting their kids to go to college. And colleges care about grades and transcripts, including GPA and class rank. They really do. Volunteer service and sports are great, too. But grades matter.
Ready?So let's do an MVP exercise. Miranda and Neha are best friends and have been going to school together since 3rd grade. They are both are great at science and math and have straight A's through 7th grade. Miranda hopes to be a doctor after studying Chemical Engineering like her mother. Neha is interested in fighting climate change and hopes to become a Data and Computer Scientist. They hope to go college together and be roommates!
Set?Both Miranda and Neha sign up for Math 1 Honors in 8th grade. Miranda gets a teacher who follows the MVP math program lightly, minimizing the class discovery exercises, and using her old Math 1 notes to make sure the students understand the math each day. Neha gets a different teacher who is "being true to the curriculum." Neha can't hang out with Miranda much any more because she is meeting with her tutor after school 4 days a week and on Sunday.
Miranda earns an A in her Math 1 Honors class, but despite all the extra help, Neha earns a D. Neha is so discouraged because she thought she was a great math student. She used to beat Miranda on every test in 6th and 7th grade! Now Neha is discouraged and decides it would be safer to take Math 2 as an Academic class. Miranda continues with Math 2 Honors. As luck would have it, Miranda and Neha each are again placed into MVP Math 2 classes taught with differing levels of MVP intensity. Miranda makes a B this time, and Neha improves to a C.
Miranda finishes out high school alternating A and B all the way through AP Calculus and AP Stats. Neha eventually gets back to a B in MVP Math 3 and 4 - both at the Academic level. Deciding instead to focus on another field of study, Neha takes 3 elective Academic courses instead of Calculus and Statistics, earning 2 A's and a B.
NO!The tale of two students. Both equally excellent in math when 8th grade started. On two different paths by the time high school is over. Using the math we learned today, we can do some simple calculations and determine the GPA impact to Neha as compared to Miranda, based only on these 7 courses, is -0.297. Let's round that to -0.3 using what we learned in Unit 1.
Let's say Miranda and Neha make the same grades in every other class, and Miranda ends up with a 4.5 GPA and ranked 19th in her class. Neha, having devolved from a "math whiz" to a "math avoider," ends up with a 4.2 GPA and is ranked 134th. While Neha's 4.2 GPA is still excellent, it is unlikely these two young ladies will be roommates in the same college.
Try the MVP GPA Impact Calculator for yourself.
ConclusionWell, booo hooo. Not going to get a lot of sympathy from some people - I get that. But is it really fair that two equally intelligent students have their grades and aspirations impacted because of the luck of the draw related to teacher assignment combined with an unproven experimental curriculum and teaching method that INTENTIONALLY WITHHOLDS a math education from Neha, BY DESIGN? It could just as well be a 3.5 versus 3.2 GPA - but the consequences are similar. Grades matter and GPA matters.
Granted, this scenario may be an extreme case. Or is it?
Author: Blain Dillard