Impact of Timing of Algebra on Future Mathematics Achievement
Impact of Timing ofAlgebra on FutureMathematics AchievementLorianne R. VenturaSFSU SymposiumNovember 3, 2012
Purpose of StudyExamine how a District’s requirement for allstudents to successfully complete Algebra I by theend of grade eight directly impacts achievement,specifically Latino and African American students Research Question To what extent do mathematics pathways affect student opportunities and academic achievement in mathematics? How do these pathways affect the academic achievement gap? How do these pathways affect student attitudes and beliefs about mathematics?
Areas that Influenced my Work Importance of Student Achievement in Mathematics The Opportunity Gap Appropriateness of Algebra in Grade Eight
Methods Mixed Methods QUAN qual Demographic information Quantitative Participants Pilot school vs. non-pilot school Qualitative Participants
Quantitative Findings GPA Pilot School - no significant difference between White/Asian and Hispanic/African American Non-Pilot School - Significant difference between White/Asian and Hispanic/African American Pathways Students stayed in longer and took higher levels of courses Graduation Status Pilot Group – higher number met UC/CSU entrance requirements Non-pilot Group – lower number met UC/CSU entrance requirements
Survey and Interview Participants Participants – Similar experiences as pilot students 366 purposefully sampled high school students 328 high school student surveys returned 9 Teachers and Administrators (Middle School and High School) Teachers and admin had more than 5 years of experience Variety of teaching experiences Either agreed with Algebra Initiative or Disagree with Algebra Initiative
Survey Findings Math pathways, student attitudes, beliefs about mathematics were related. Course versus enjoyment Grades versus effort Perceptions on parent support Algebra and opportunities for students Motivation Support
Interpretations of Findings Impact of Mathematics Pathways on Overall Achievement and Opportunities Impact of Mathematics Pathways on Academic Achievement in Mathematics Impact of Mathematics Pathways on Academic Achievement Gap
Interpretations of Findings –Survey and Interviews Survey Focus group interviews Themes – Opportunity, Motivation and Support Teachers and administrators were split on three issues
Discussion Timing of Algebra impacts: student opportunities math achievement overall academic achievement Attitudes and beliefs Pilot group achieved At a higher level overall measured by their grade point averages Algebra in 8th grade Kept more students in the math pathway Helped more students graduate meeting UC/CSU entrance requirements Exit Exams for 8th – Grade Algebra Students Barrier
Recommendations for PractitionersSchools and Districts should look at ways to get more students to successfully complete Algebra I prior to entering high schoolThere needs to be some examination of instruction, preparation and assessment so that all students can benefit from early entrance into Algebra
Recommendations for Practitioners The Algebra Initiative has proven to support academic achievement, keep students in the mathematics pathway longer and expand students college and career opportunities Success of Algebra Initiative requires: Support for students Support for teachers Review and implement the current CACCS, Algebra curriculum (and prerequisite curriculum) Reexamination the Exit Exams for 8th Grade Algebra as a barrier
Recommendations for Practitioners Essential questions need further study Is Algebra I keeping students out of college because they do not get to take it in the eighth grade? Is the problem because students of color and students identified as low-socioeconomic status are not adequately prepared to take Algebra I in the eighth grade? Is there a problem with the traditional Algebra I course and how it is taught?
Conclusion Districts must identify current policies and practices Study highlighted the impact of the timing of algebra in a students mathematics pathway Timing of Algebra is foundational to ensuring students can access future math and science courses.