Early Algebra Policies May Backfire

From Education Week:
A 1997 Chicago policy requiring all high-school freshmen to enroll in algebra may have caused far more students to fail math without improving students’ math test scores or their likelihood of taking more advanced math courses, according to a study of 160,000 Chicago high-school students. "This policy that Chicago tried in 1997 seems to be sweeping the country now and not a lot of thought is being given to how it really affects schools," said lead researcher Elaine M. Allensworth.

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My son is about to enter Eastern Middle School’s Humanities Magnet program,  Max on the Moundwhere we’ve just been informed that students will lose a full period in their schedule (one less elective, i.e., art, music, etc.) They are however, being slated to take Algebra1 in the 7th grade; geometry in the 8th. These are “magnet” courses and so are HS level, with an opportunity to earn HS credit.

Anyone else see something wrong here?

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2 responses to “Early Algebra Policies May Backfire

  1. My daughter (now at Dickinson) went through the Eastern MS magnet, and it was a real life saver. Made it cool to be smart (rather than cool to wear the right clothes or have a boyfriend), gave her a great group of friends through high school (Blair CAP). She did have electives, played in the band and on the basketball team, both of which continued through high school and into college. I’d say that of all my encounters w/ MCPS (including the Takoma math magnet) Eastern was by far the most positive. Congrats to your son!

  2. shana donohue

    In Boston, they’re trying to push Algebra into 8th grade.

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