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ERIC Number: ED529005
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 30
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Variation in Content Coverage by Classroom Composition: An Analysis of Advanced Math Course Content
Covay, Elizabeth
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Everyone knows that there is racial inequality in achievement returns from advanced math; however, they do not know why black students and white students taking the same level of math courses are not leaving with the same or comparable skill levels. To find out, the author examines variation in course coverage by the racial composition of the classroom. She hypothesizes that content coverage varies by classroom composition, because teachers respond to the needs and abilities of their students and make adjustments to teaching. More specifically, she asks: (1) Within advanced math courses with the same title, to what extent does content coverage breadth vary by classroom minority composition; (2) Within advanced math courses with the same title, to what extent does content coverage depth vary by classroom minority composition?; and (3) Within advanced math courses with the same title, to what extent do the topics covered vary by classroom minority composition? The author's study includes classroom level information as reported by the teachers of high school advanced math courses: trigonometry, advanced math, and calculus. In addition, she categorizes classrooms by their racial minority composition: predominately minority, predominately white, and racially mixed classrooms. In her preliminary results, she finds that about 70% of advanced math classrooms are predominately white in racial composition, with 11-14% of advanced math classrooms being predominately minority (See Table 1). In terms of content breadth and depth, she finds that teachers of trigonometry in predominately white (PW) classrooms cover significantly fewer topics than do teachers in racially mixed (RM) or predominately minority (PM) classrooms (See Table 2). Teachers of advanced math in PW and RM classrooms cover significant more topics than teachers in PM. In terms of depth, teachers of advanced math in PW and RM classrooms cover more topics per period compared to teachers in PM, which would suggest teachers in PW and RM cover topics with less depth. In general, teachers of advanced math courses in PM classrooms tend to spend more time on basic skills such as number sense compared to teachers in PW classrooms. In addition, in calculus courses teachers in PW spend significant more time on analysis than do teachers in PM. (Contains 5 tables.)
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail: inquiries@sree.org; Web site: http://www.sree.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)