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ERIC Number: EJ1013968
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1537-5749
Solving Our Algebra Problem: Getting All Students through Algebra I to Improve Graduation Rates
Schachter, Ron
District Administration, v49 n5 p43-46 May 2013
Algebra I has long served as a gateway to higher-level math courses and science courses, such as physics, and has been required for high schoolgraduation as well as admission to most colleges. But taking algebra also can turn into a pathway for failure, from which some students never recover. In 2010, a national U.S. Department of Education study found that 80 percent of high school dropouts cited their inability to pass Algebra I as the primary reason for leaving school. What's more, failure to pass state algebra assessments is a more frequent problem for minority students and contributes to a serious achievement gap in math. In the 2012 results of the California Standards Test (CST) in Algebra I, for instance, just 39 percent of Hispanic eighth graders scored proficient or advanced, as did 20 percent of Hispanic ninth graders. The results for African American students inthe two grades were 32 percent and 16 percent, respectively. In contrast, white students tested at 60 and 34 percent proficiency or better. It should come as no surprise that algebra poses a formidable challenge for all students, who must get used to a brave new world of variables, coefficients, and quadratic equations. The problems posed by algebra are numerous,though, say experts in mathematics education, math teachers, and administrators. So are the solutions that a number of school districts have implemented. And while those district leaders are looking toward theCommon Core State Standards in Algebra I to uniformly improve the quality of algebra teaching and learning, they also have resorted in the meantime to their own innovative approaches. They include screening for students equipped to take the course as early as eighth grade, more effectivelyengaging all algebra students in the classroom, creating real-life, concrete examples of algebra in everyday life, and better managing individual student progress. These innovative approaches are described in this article.
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Journal Articles
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A