Studies Question Value of Early Algebra Lessons
Mastering algebra is widely considered the gateway to higher mathematics and college readiness, but new studies question whether low-performing students benefit from exposure to the subject in middle school.
Separate studies of urban middle schoolers in California and in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools suggest that placing struggling math students in algebra class does not improve their test performance on state math tests, and significantly hurts their grade point averages and the likelihood of their taking and passing higher math courses in high school.
California has led the country in efforts to introduce algebra concepts in lower grades. In 2008, the state board of education included algebra as part of the 8th grade end-of-year math test, thus requiring all students to take algebra by the...
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