By Curt Yeomans
In just three weeks, Church Street Elementary School third-grader, Maciah Miller, has learned a new way to add 235 and 56.
Miller, 8, a participant in the school's after-school, math tutorial program, has learned how to do "short columns." Instead of adding the two figures at one time, she stacks 235 over 56, and adds the individual columns of numbers.
"I like short columns, because you don't have to regroup the numbers all at once," Miller said.
Miller is one of 130 students at Church Street who are participating in the school's first-ever, free, weekly math tutorial program. According to Church Street Math Coach Lekisha Anderson, the program lasts six weeks, with the youths going through "intervention" during the first three weeks, and "exposition" during the second three weeks.
Anderson said the tutorial program is designed to prepare the students to do well on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). She said the school's tutorial program is a precursor to the tutorial programs offered by Clayton County Public Schools, beginning in January.
"We already have the CRCT data from last year so we know what each student needs to work on," Anderson said. "We wanted to get a jump-start on the tutorials by getting these kids started in the fall."
During the "intervention" period, math teachers from the school work with the students on math areas that they struggled with on the previous year's CRCTs, Anderson said. She added that the teachers use a variety of resources and techniques, such as math readers and short columns, to teach the students how to improve their performance in math.
"These kids can compute, it's the explanation [of the process] that they had trouble with," Anderson said.
Anderson added that during the "exposition" period, which is scheduled to begin when the students return from the Thanksgiving holiday, the students are going to be exposed to new math concepts they will see in their math classes in the spring.
"We're targeting those students whose scores last year were either 15 points above, or below, the 'Meeting State Standards' mark on the CRCTs last year," Anderson said. "I call them the 'Bubble Students' because those are your students that are right there on the border. They have your basic foundation in math. Now we need to build on it."
Since this is the first year of the program, and the students have only been attending tutoring for three weeks, Anderson said she does not yet have data that shows what impact the tutorials are having on the students' math skills. She said that data will be coming at the end of the six-week program, through comparing the math skills students possessed at the start of the program, with the skills they demonstrate at the program's conclusion.
"We did a pre-assessment to show where the students were at when they started the tutorial program, and we will do a post-assessment when the program ends," Anderson said.
Some of the students participating in the program said they are already beginning to see improvements in their math skills.
"It's helped me do math faster because I understand it better, especially now that I have learned to do math by doing the short columns," said third-grader, Wykevious Thomas, 9.
"It's helped me because I know my math now," said 8-year-old Miller. "I will do better on the CRCT as a result."