
Student Surveys  Math in Focus
2^{nd} through 5^{th} grade students who were in the pilot program this year for Math in Focus were given this survey at the end of the school year. I have chosen some interesting answers to share. Even when some of the beginning answers were negative, 98% of the students responded that they felt they became better math students as a result of the new program this year.
How was math different than in past years?
 Math in Focus was different than the other program because you did more things with your hands and I think you got a better number sense. gr. 4
 The math felt really fun. We got to work with friends more often. They taught us more than one way to solve a problem. We were able to use things to learn. 3^{rd} gr.
 There were a lot more chapters and everything was harder but even so, I think they explained everything better than the old math program. 3^{rd} gr.
 It has changed because it showed you how to and why to do it. It teaches you to understand it more, not just do the problem. 5^{th} gr.
 This year in math everything was clearly explained and not just given to you to do. It was broken down into little steps to help many kids. First, they show you and next they write it out so if you don’t understand one way, you can understand the other way. ^{5th } gr.
 Math today was different from the past year because it shows more diagrams and explains math more easily. 5^{th} gr.
 In past years your brain had to work the same as everyone else. You couldn’t solve the problem the way you like. Math in Focus allows you to think of different ways to solve the problem. 5^{th} gr.
 It was even more challenging and you had to work even harder on it. It really for some people put their brain on challenge mode and I thought it was fun. 5^{th} gr.
 It wasn’t as complicated as the past couple of years. Also our teacher would never let us give up on problems this year. We learned a lot of new challenging things that will help us for next year in middle school. 5^{th} gr.
 This year math was easier because the Math in Focus textbook explained how to do the lessons in an easier to understand form. Also it teaches you to do things two or three ways instead of one, so you can get the problem done the way that it is better for you. 5^{th} gr.
 The math was much more challenging and it made a lot more sense. Even though we had some challenging times, we always work until we figure it out. 5^{th} gr.
 This math is different because it makes more sense this year, but some of it was also more challenging. 5^{th} gr.
Did you like those changes? Why or why not?
 I liked the changes because I think it definitely challenged me more than the other math program. I also liked how they taught us to do long division. It also gives you a couple of ways to do everything. 4^{th} gr.
 I did like these changes because it made math easier in life. I used to get really frustrated in math last year, but this year I am on fire! I think the math program is actually a better education for kids. 4^{th} gr.
 At first I did not like the new math, but as I used it more I started to like it. I liked the changes because the old math only gave you one way of doing things. The new math gives your 23 ways! 4^{th} gr.
 I sort of liked those changes because I did not like it when they went through the chapters more quickly, but I did like to try new things out. 3^{rd} gr.
 I like the changes because it’s harder math and the harder the math gets the more fun it is. 2^{nd} gr.
 Yes, because our brains work differently. I might think differently about a problem than another student. 5^{th} gr.
 I liked the changes because of bar models. They were good because they taught me new ways to look at problems. 5^{th} gr.
 I liked the changes because you are challenging yourself more. 5^{th} gr.
 I liked those changes because I would rather have hard lessons and homework but have the PSSAs come easy to us, instead of having easy homework and lessons and the PSSAs hard. 5^{th} gr.
Did you like “Put on Your Thinking Cap” problems? Why or why not?
 I did like them because they gave a challenge in math to see if you can actually take the challenge on. They made me a better star student in math! 4^{th} gr.
 Yes, because it was challenging and made me think. It’s not like an ordinary problem, it’s hard. And it takes some time, but I’ll be proud when I’m done. I’ll feel smart and I’ll get a little panicky and confused because everyone else says they’re done, but I keep trying. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because I liked to get the answer right and because people helped me to get it right. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because we learn more and when you get them right, you know you’re getting better at math. 2^{nd} gr.
 Yes, I liked them because it helps you practice for real world problems. 4^{th} gr.
 I liked them because they made you think and thinking is fun and sometimes it was easy and sometimes it was hard. But no matter if it’s hard or not, it’s still fun. 2^{nd} gr.
 I LOVED those problems because I like hard things and the thinking caps are always hard. And even if I don’t get it right, at least I tried and I always have fun with them. 2^{nd} gr.
 I did like them because it really made your brain think hard and that’s how you become a better learner. 4^{th} gr.
 In the beginning of the year, I hated those problems. I would drop my pencil and wait for the person to do it on the board. But now I like those kind. I just keep going. When I understand how to do something it’s like a fun game. 5^{th} gr.
 I liked them because I struggled with it and at the end I got it. 5^{th} gr.
Did you think having concrete materials helped you to learn better? Why or why not?
 Yes, because they have helped me visualize the problem and that is good because I’m a visual learner. 4^{th} gr.
 Yes, because I liked to use the white boards to make smaller and bigger numbers. I liked using the popsicle sticks to make different sized angles. I liked using the chips to help me with division and multiplication. 3^{rd} gr.
 No, because I kept playing with them. 2^{nd} gr.
 No, because I’d rather do it in my head because you will be doing a lot of math in your head for high school , middle school and college. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, it helped because I could see what was happening and why we do it this way. Before we were just told what to do and then we were told to do it. 5^{th} gr.
 Yes, because they were things that I could see so I can move them around. 3rd gr.
 I need blocks to figure out problems. 2^{nd} gr.
 Yes, because I’m a visual learner so concrete materials help me in adding, subtracting and multiplying decimals. 5^{th} gr.
 I liked having them because it showed me how to see things not only in written form but in physical too. 5^{th} gr.
 Yes, because you can visualize the numbers in model form. 5^{th} gr.
Do you feel you’ve become a better math student this year? Explain.
 I feel as if I did become a better math student because it helped me push myself as a math student and have better number sense. 4^{th} gr.
 Yes, I do think so because of all those new math techniques. I think the new techniques have increased my math scores. 4^{th} gr.
 Yes, because I understand it better and it’s different that last year. My grades are better. It’s still a little tough to me, but I get it more this year than I did last year. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because it taught me how to understand it better. I learned how to do harder problems. When I was in 2^{nd} grade, I wasn’t very good at math. In 3^{rd} grade, I am now trying my best to do good. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because last year I was so confused with math, but now I feel like I improved a whole new level. 4^{th} gr.
 Yes, I feel mental math and concrete materials and some other stuff really helped me to become a better math student. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, the math might have been hard, but it made me better at math. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because in mental math I was stuck and I kept trying and I figured it out. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, because it feels good to believe yourself, plus you had to agree with yourself. Plus, I am good at addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 3^{rd} gr.
 This math has made me a better student because I tried new things and I feel very proud. 3^{rd} gr.
 Yes, certainly. I’ve been getting way better from the beginning to the end of this year. Math has been one of my favorite subjects since first grade. I have always had my fantastic years with math, but this year was better than fantastic. 5^{th} gr.
 Yes, I do feel I’ve become a better student because a student wanted help from me and she was in a different class and I knew every answer. 5^{th} gr.
 Yes, because I learned math and I LOVED math because I got so much better at math than last year and I am so PROUD of myself! 2^{nd} gr.
 Yes, because Math in Focus stretched my mind and helped me to think of other ways to solve a problem 5^{th} gr.
 I think I have because some of the problems are hard. But some problems are so amazing. They push your brain to learn, to never quit, to keep trying. 5^{th} gr.
 Yes, because I have leaned a lot more than last year and I always keep going on problems. I went from being as low as a ladybug to as tall as a skyscraper in math. I have grown so much. 5^{th} gr.
 I think I have because this math made more sense to me and I could comprehend it more. 5^{th} gr.
 Math in Focus was different than the other program because you did more things with your hands and I think you got a better number sense. gr. 4