In October 1995, the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) funded eight planning grants for system reform and improvement as part of the Equipped for the Future (EFF) project. World Education, Inc., in Massachusetts, in cooperation with five state literacy resource centers, accepted the grant on behalf of the Adult Numeracy Practitioners Network (ANPN). The purpose of the ANPN Planning Grant is to begin the work of developing Adult Numeracy Standards for adult basic education. This augmented previous work done in the area by NCTM, SCANS, Massachusetts ABE Math Standards, etc. by interviewing adult learners, teachers and other stakeholders.
This project, while furthering the work of the other projects, was exciting in that the voices of adult learners as well as stakeholders were added to the mix. Based on all the voices along with the work done previously in the area of adult numeracy, the following seven themes emerged and serve as the foundation for adult numeracy standards:
Along with the seven themes noted above, adult learners and stakeholder voices also gave us greater insight to affective issues. A section on Competence and Self-Confidence was added to insure that adults' voices were heard and their feelings considered, also. Adults were asked what they need to know and be able to do to be productive citizens, workers, and parents. In addition, the adults were asked their opinions on how math instruction should be changed in the classroom while stakeholders tended to look at system reform issues. From the uniformity of voices of adults across the country, Recommendations for System Reform was drafted. Although the final form of this document is not yet available, much of what is included in this book is from the preliminary drafts.
In March 1994, over 100 adult educators and other stakeholders in the field of adult education and training came together for three days to discuss the topic of adult numeracy. Jean Stephens, Director of the Ohio Literacy Resource Center and instructors, Nancy Markus and Sheila Sipes-Jones attended this conference. One of the major suggestions of the Conference on Adult Mathematical Literacy was that an important next step would be to develop an "honest list" of the skills and knowledge that adults really need to be mathematically literate. The participants called for a serious rethinking of the content and relevance of the adult basic education mathematics classes as they are currently taught. Through analysis of the mathematical demands on adults in today's society, educators can refocus the adult curriculum in a meaningful way.
In Ohio, Nancy Markus, of the Ohio Literacy Resource Center, convened a group of educators to be team leaders to participate in this NIFL grant as well as a 353 Grant from the state of Ohio. During the past year, this group has met and looked at documents the SCANS Report, the 1994 Conference Proceedings, Equipped for the Future, the Massachusetts ABE Math Standards, and the NCTM Standards. These team leaders also conducted focus groups to look at specific parts of adult mathematical curriculum. During this past year, these focus groups met throughout the state to try to look at their part of the curriculum in the spirit of reform.
The following team leaders worked hard for the entire project this year. They worked on the NIFL grant, helped plan the "Math Kick-Off Days", and were in charge of a regional focus group. Their hard work and expertise was essential and appreciated. The focus group themes are listed also.
The focus group members spent this spring looking at the above topics. The contributed to this notebook. Many of them are presenting material at the "Math Kick-Off Days". Their hard work during the focus group meetings is also appreciated. The following Ohio mathematics educators were valued members of a focus group during the entire project:
|Roberta Altic||Susan Galandiuk||Sharon McConnell|
|Dee Bell||Cynthia Grantz||Kathleen McDonnell|
|Beatrice Benton||Carolyn Gross||Joann Minnick|
|Minnie Brown||Karen Howell||Melody Robinson|
|Becky Brunotte||Katheryn Jackson||Geri Ryan|
|Jennifer Cutler||Michelle Kerns||Linda Sullivan|
|Maureen Daly||Diane Kemer||Patricia Talbot|
|Megan Dixon||Brenda Lehmant||Tamara Wagner|
|Leslie Enoch||Joan Lindhurst||Paula Weed|
|Betty Finney||Catherine Lippert|
Jean Stephens, Director of the Ohio Literacy Resource Center, has led the Ohio Mathematical Planning Committee through these and many other projects. We thank her for her vision of mathematical reform. Denise Shultheis, supervisor, Division of Vocational and Adult Education, Adult Basic and Literacy Education of the Ohio Department of Education, was a valued member of the NIFL grant working group. She has been invaluable in all phases of the math projects this year. Finally, Jim Bowling, assistant director Division of Vocational and Adult Education, Adult Basic and Literacy Education of the Ohio Department of Education, has provided essential on-going support for the Ohio Mathematical Planning Committee. We thank him for understanding the need for staff development in order to effect change.
The following materials are some of the activities and ideas discussed and developed by these focus groups. We hope that you look at these activities in the spirit that they were developed. We want you to think how they might be adapted for your specific situation. We hope that some of what is included will be helpful to you.
We all hope that you read the content and explanations in this notebook, as well as try some of the activities. The time has come for system reform, for a better, more meaningful approach to mathematics instruction at all levels. We hope that you will begin to "join the discussion", to reflect on your teaching and learning and to begin to move towards more effective, "sense making" instruction.
Material included in this book comes from all focus group members as well as from A Framework for Adult Numeracy Standards: The Mathematical Skills and Abilities Adults Need to be Equipped for the Future compiled by Donna Curry, Mary Jane Schmitt, and Sally Waldron. That document includes the results of The Adult Numeracy Practitioners Network Planning Project for System reform, funded by the National Institute for Literacy (July 1996).
A Framework for Adult Numeracy Standards: The Mathematical Skills and Abilities Adults Need to be Equipped for the Future was written to provide a base for the continued work of the Equipped for the Future Initiative of the National Institute for Literacy as well as to provide Adult Numeracy Practitioners Network members and all adult education math teachers with a rich consensus document to work from. We, in Ohio, were fortunate to be able to contribute to this project.
The Adult Numeracy Practitioners Network is a national organization dedicated to furthering reform in mathematical instruction through support of teachers.
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