Low Performers Found Unready to Take Algebra
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...
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