Students' math learning cannot be limited to learning procedures. Today's students must know how to use their math knowledge and skills in flexible as well as efficient ways. They have to engage willingly in solving problems whether the context is familiar or unfamiliar. They should construct models to represent their understanding of the problem. They must communicate their thinking steps and mathematical ideas clearly. They need to reason about the accuracy of their solutions and convince themselves of the reasonableness of their answers. They must seek patterns and make conjectures about those patterns. They have to expect to make connections within and across content strands. Today's students need to develop proficiencies in using all five processes in order to think mathematically. (from Learning Mathematics in the Primary Grades, Madison Metropolitan School District, 2006)
New assessment tools and instructional resources created by a cohort of elementary teachers and teacher leaders provided the means for a consistent approach to teaching math. This math approach requires knowledge of student math development and differentiation. Emerson’s goals for student achievement are detailed in the School Improvement Plans and include attention to assessment, collaboration, professional development, family involvement, and intervention. The instruction and teaching resources are research-based and purposefully chosen based on the needs of the student, especially in number development. Assessment data informs this classroom instruction and school-wide data in the form of “assessment walls” guides the work of collaborative groups. Geometry, measurement and data/probability standards are addressed throughout each week and integrated into other content areas as appropriate.