The Math Phenomenon

From Head of school Tim Bazemore's blog

Catlin Gabel students take math seriously – and do well. While standardized measures are inherently flawed, outcomes here are impressive. Our students scored in the top quartile on the SAT and ACT math sections compared to students in 38 independent schools in last year’s nationwide INDEX benchmark report. The average BC Calculus score for students over the past 5 years is 4.87 (out of 5), and Catlin Gabel graduates universally report they are well prepared and ready for high-level mathematics in college.

But here, as with every school in which I have taught or led, mathematics is the academic subject that draws the most attention. Responses on our bi-annual community survey and an informal check-in with division heads show that we receive more questions about math than any other subject. Why is that? Is math so much more important than science or English that it deserves an inordinate amount of student focus, parent conference time, and curriculum revision? In talking with colleagues and parents about this, various reasons come to mind:

  • Math has a right/wrong clarity (although that may not necessarily indicate understanding)
  • Math teaching methods have changed since most parents were in school
  • Math is based on repeating patterns; mastering each skill or concept affects future success
  • Students are prone to adopt a fixed mindset about math more than in other subjects
  • Every standardized test students take includes substantial math sections
  • Math is often a “tracked” subject, and placement is visible and valued (like varsity sports)
  • The most selective colleges implicitly promote the importance of completing calculus
  • Math is related to important fields such as computing, coding, engineering, and science
  • Parents project their own math experience and anxiety on to children

There are other reasons, of course, but these may be enough to illustrate why math curriculum and pedagogy more.

Head of School Tim Bazemore's Blog

Follow him on Twitter @TimBazemore
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Catlin Gabel in the News

National Merit Semi Finalists: This national recognition of outstanding students includes nine Catlin Gabel seniors. Oregonian article

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From Your Admission Team

Why choose an independent school?

You may have wondered what makes independent schools worth considering. Independent schools are independent in many ways. Because their funding comes from tuition, fundraisers, and endowments as opposed to taxpayers or religious organizations, they are free to be vibrant, stable, and responsive. Each creates its own mission that defines why it exists and whom it serves. They are free to design their own curriculum that best serves students. Independent school teachers have the freedom to create educational experiences that meet each child’s needs, without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks, and testing.

Studies by the National Center for Education Statistics support the notion that independent schools offer high quality education. When compared to well-supported public schools, students from independent schools are at least twice as likely to:

  • Learn from teachers who graduated from selective colleges.
  • Complete precalculus or higher level of mathematics.
  • Play a junior varsity or varsity sport.
  • Participate in extracurricular arts, academics, and/or community service.

Catlin Gabel is committed to preparing students for both college and life. Our faculty expects students to work hard academically while participating in a wide variety of co-curricular programs. The result is a rich student experience, but more compelling are the life skills gained from winning and losing gracefully, contributing to a team, and participating in endeavors larger than oneself. These skills are developed and nurtured in all Catlin Gabel students, not just a select few who show high ability or keen interest. As a result, our students develop confidence in areas they may never have pursued at other schools.

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DO NOT wait for your admission decision to apply for financial assistance. Complete your financial assistance application by February 8, 2019.

Use 2018 income information (W2s, paystubs, and year-end statements) to complete application.

File your 2018 taxes EARLY. We must have your 2018 taxes by February 28, 2019 for verification.

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November on Campus

Fall sports teams enter playoffs: View the Athletics Schedule & Catch up by reading the Athletics Blog

Student progress and goals are discussed at parent-teacher conferences

Beginning and Lower Schools host Grandparents & Special Friends Day with performances and classroom tours

Middle School students engage in community service

Upper School theater troupe performs Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka in the Creative Arts Center Black Box Theater during the first weekend of November. Reserve tickets for November 3rd or 4th. Click the poster for more information. Recommended for audiences 10+

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503-297-1894 |

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