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ERIC Number: EJ812104
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep-24
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Low Performers Found Unready to Take Algebra
Cavanagh, Sean
Education Week, v28 n5 p1, 12-13 Sep 2008
As state and school leaders across the country push to have more students take algebra in 8th grade, a new study argues that middle schoolers struggling the most in math are being enrolled in that course despite being woefully unprepared. "The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth Grade Algebra," scheduled for release by the Brookings Institution this week, finds that an increasing number of the lowest-performing students have been thrust into algebra as 8th graders in recent years. Yet the study concludes those students are as far as six grades below grade level in math. Efforts to require all students to take introductory algebra, or Algebra 1, in 8th grade are well-meaning but ultimately misguided, argues the study's author, Tom Loveless of the Washington-based Brookings Institution. Policymakers would be better off concentrating on grounding elementary students in the math they need for algebra and intervening with the ones who need extra help. To help struggling students, Loveless said he favors having schools concentrate on building necessary skills in elementary math, particularly whole numbers and fractions, an emphasis recommended this year in a report by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, on which he served. He also said that schools must intervene with such students, though he noted that those efforts--whether they focus on summer and after-school programs, or "algebra readiness" materials--must start early. Scant research has been conducted supporting the idea that students far below grade level can be brought up to speed quickly, he said in an interview.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail: customercare@epe.org; Web site: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A