- Some schools in the Chicago area are boosting the amount of time spent during the day on math, while cutting back on English language arts (ELA), the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to Illinois State Board of Education data, time spent on ELA instruction used to be roughly three times longer than what was devoted to math on a typical school day. But now there is a less of a gap —132 minutes on ELA, compared to 72 on math. In some schools, the amount of time spent on each is roughly even.
School administrators say the emphasis on STEM and test results showing that students’ performance in math was lower than in language arts has contributed to the increase in math instruction.
When one area of student achievement is considered to be weaker, it’s hard for school leaders and teachers not to focus more time on that subject, which might include additional professional development and new curriculum adoption. The shift taking place in Chicago-area demonstrates that schools are responding to the push from business leaders and policymakers to increase STEM learning opportunities throughout K-12.
But backing off too much on other subject areas might mean that a few years down the road, district and school leaders are back to increasing the emphasis on reading, science or another topic that was previously viewed as an area of strength. For example, results of an international literacy assessment released today showed that reading achievement among U.S. 4th-graders has not improved over the past five years and in fact has declined slightly. The results could lead to a renewed emphasis on reading in some districts or a closer examination of existing curriculum.