Lots of people have questions about the Math Whisperer Approach, the claims we make regarding its effectiveness, and the details for how to use it. We’ve tried to answer some of those below.
Will my students really see several years of growth if I use this?
In our studies it was often the case that once students internalized a concept it suddenly helped them make sense of much that had been learned but not understood. When that happened the gains were often substantial. Two to three years of growth on a standardized test was common. Not that Math Whisperer taught two or three years of material, but rather, that laser-like focus on a missing concept served as the key to making sense of all that learning.
What is the timing for using Math Whisperer?
We recommend administering the diagnostic as early in the school year or the start of a math course as possible. The concepts we test for aren’t the sort of thing students learn and then forget. We then recommend having students complete their assignments over a five to six month period for a year long math course, or within the time allotted for students in semester or term system.
What grades was the program designed for?
6th grade through to adult learners.
I'm a teacher. How should I plan for this? What will it look like in my classroom?
When you receive the diagnostic tests you will also receive the Intro to Algebra lessons and the first set of Fractions lessons for each of your students. Experience has shown that in an average classroom it is not unusual for 90% of the students to show at least some deficiency in both of these math concepts. We advise teachers to devote at least a class period to the Algebra lessons as a way to familiarize each student with the Workbook, and then a week later to do the same with the first Fractions Workbook. By the time the students are underway with Fractions the individual plans for each student will have arrived, along with the additional Workbooks required.
Are my students at risk if they are identified as missing a skill? Won't trying to remediate something they already have just slow them down?
Because Math Whisperer focuses only on the twenty basic math concepts a misdiagnosis simply offers the student a review. Since the concept is important we believe as educators that an occasional review is useful. But don’t just take our work for it. In our studies we used the Math Whisperer approach in several intact classrooms as the basis for the instruction. What we found is that students who were not identified as missing a skill but still participated in that lesson set saw measurable gains that exceeded the control groups.
Does Math Whisper align with my state's standards?
Yes. But not in the way you might be used to seeing. It is generally the case that several years pass between the time each basic concept is taught and the moment where a lack of understanding is identified as impeding learning. In other words, in all the standards documents we have reviewed (and they are many and include the recently developed Common Core) what we discovered is the concepts are in state standards documents but they are generally not in the current year’s standards. Math Whisperer is aligned because it contains the concepts your students need to understand their current material, even though the concepts themselves may not be explicitly covered.
How does pricing work?
We charge a flat rate for each student who participates in the diagnostic. That rate includes the diagnostic, the individual report, the Intro to Algebra and first Fractions lesson sets for each student, and then up to four additional Lesson sets for each student. Our pricing is very competitive with similar products and, we believe, far more effective.
I'm a parent. Can I buy Math Whisperer for my child?
Yes. Go to our contact form or call us and let us know you are a parent. A representative will contact you shortly.
What are your plans to move Math Whisperer on line?
We plan to move the entire program on line in 2016. In the meantime the version available to our customers is the same one used to achieve the remarkable gains we saw in students during our research and development period. As we move online we are being very cautious to make sure that the online experience for students matches the quality and engagement of the Workbooks. Current customers will be able to take advantage of our most current development efforts without a change in price. Customers will always have a choice between the online and print versions of our products.