University of Phoenix
Articulation and Alignment: Statistics in West Virginia Middle and High Schools The implementation of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act establishes a necessity of every state to ensure that there is proper vertical alignment of curriculum in every subject (Clarke, Stow, Ruebling & Kayona, 2006; DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008). With a national push to align standards vertically, most states have worked toward creating and instating new standards. Clarke, et al. (2006) state the importance of standards is to give educators direction, focus, and accountability of the curriculum that they present in their classrooms. Organizations Selected
For the purpose of this analysis, the author has chosen to analyze the adjacent organizations of middle school, grades six through eight, and high school, grades nine through 12. The analysis focuses on the Next Generation Mathematics Content Standards and Objectives, as presented by the West Virginia Department of Education (2011). Because of the amount of standards presented, the analysis will be confined to a topic of the mathematics curriculum, statistics. The West Virginia Department of Education (2011) divides the mathematics standards for grades individually. Thus the author will be aggregating the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade curricular standards into a middle school category and aggregating the ninth, tenth, 11th, and 12th grade curricular standards into a high school category. Analysis of Curriculum Articulation and Alignment
There are apparent weaknesses with the statistics standards, including wording and alignment. The author divides these into two subheadings to discuss separately. Both of these weakness will be combined to articulate an improvement plan that when implemented could reduce or eliminate the weakness discussed in the next two sections.
In the analysis of the statistics standards there are two forms of alignment observed, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal alignment refers not only to the standards to be followed, but also the assessments used to determine the level at which the students understand the concepts presented by the standards (Case, 2008). The West Virginia Department of Education (2011) specifies that at the end of each year the students will be assessed according to the standards that the educators of that grade level are responsible for teaching. For example, the mathematics standards taught in a year would be assessed by a standardized test, which includes questions from each division of the standards, such as statistics. Vertical alignment differs as it the alignment of curriculum over the course of multiple years, such as how the content flows from the middle school to high school years (Case, 2008). The vertical alignment of the statistics standards established by the West Virginia Department of Education (2011) presents an issue to which student learning is negatively affected.
The middle school statistics standards illustrate that students must demonstrate the mastery of six different major concepts. The high school statistics standards illustrate that there are 10 topics in which the students must master. The differing concepts are correlating between the middle and high school as illustrated in Table 1.
Statistical Concepts Presented in the West Virginia Mathematics Standards
Middle School| High School|
1. Display data sets using a) dot plots, b) histograms, and c) box plots | 1. Descriptive statistics, including: [remove colon (if the preceding words indicate a series follows, a colon is redundant)] a) dot plots, b) histograms, and c) box plots| 2. Use measures of central tendency | 2. Compare center and spread of two sets of data| 3. Use measures of variability| 3. Create and use two-way frequency tables| 4....