Algebra 1 is considered a gatekeeper to advanced math in high school, but the students who repeat the course aren’t always those who failed it, finds a study presented at the annual meeting this month of the Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness.
WestEd researchers looked at East Side Union High School District, in Silicon Valley, Calif., as well as five elementary school districts that feed into the high school district.
Out of 3,400 students who took Algebra 1 at grade 7 or above, between 2006-07 and 2011-12, 44.3 percent eventually repeated the course. More than 8 percent of students who received an A or B in the course during the first run-through, as well as more than 22 percent of students who performed proficiently in math on their first attempt of the Algebra 1 California Standards Test still repeated the class.
Students improved on average by about half a letter grade and a little less than a third of the difference between one performance level and another on the state tests when they repeated Algebra 1.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2016 edition of Education Week as Math Education