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ERIC Number: ED567056
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
Who Repeats Algebra, and How Does Initial Performance Relate to Improvement When the Course Is Repeated?
Fong, Anthony; Jaquet, Karina; Finkelstein, Neal
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The information provided in this report shows how students perform when they repeat algebra I and how the level of improvement varies depending on initial course performance and the academic measure (course grades or CST scores). This information can help inform decisions and policies regarding whether and under what circumstances students should repeat the course. The study examined four research questions: (1) How many students repeat algebra I after taking it for the first time?; (2) How do student characteristics (such as race/ethnicity, gender, grade 7 math performance and initial algebra I performance) relate to the likelihood of repeating algebra I?; (3) How well do students perform when they repeat algebra I compared with the first time they took the course?; and (4) How does that difference in performance vary based on student characteristics? This study was conducted in the East Side Union High School District, located in Silicon Valley, California. The data for this study are from this district and five elementary school districts that feed into the East Side Union High School District: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, Evergreen School District, Franklin-McKinley Elementary School District, Mt. Pleasant Elementary School District, and Oak Grove Elementary School District. The study examined algebra repetition rates and success rates among students based on their characteristics and initial performance. Data from the elementary feeder districts, which span from kindergarten through grade 8, were collected for the 2005/06-2008/09 school years, and data from the high school district, which spans from grade 9 through grade 12, were collected for the 2007/08-2011/12 school years. Student-level longitudinal data, collected from each district, include variables such as identification number, race/ethnicity, gender, math course name, final course letter grade received, math CST taken, CST scale score, and CST performance level. A logistic regression was used to identify the relationship between student characteristics and algebra repetition. Of the 3,400 students in the sample, 44.3 percent repeated algebra I. While grades and standardized test scores are the most common reasons to retake the course, other considerations may also factor in, such as parent preferences and teacher or counselor recommendations, depending on the school and district. The rates of repeating varied across student characteristics, with students in special education (69.6 percent), Hispanic students (61.1 percent), and English language learner students (56.7 percent) exhibiting the highest rates. Students' performance improved on average by approximately half a letter grade and a little less than a third of a CST performance level when they repeated algebra I, but the data showed variation in improvement levels among higher achieving students.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: California