Impact of Timing of Algebra on Future Mathematics Achievement

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by Dr. Lorianne R. Ventura

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Impact of Timing of Algebra on Future Mathematics Achievement

  1. 1. Impact of Timing ofAlgebra on FutureMathematics AchievementLorianne R. VenturaSFSU SymposiumNovember 3, 2012
  2. 2. 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?
  3. 3. Areas that Influenced my Work Importance of Student Achievement in Mathematics The Opportunity Gap Appropriateness of Algebra in Grade Eight
  4. 4. Methods Mixed Methods QUAN qual  Demographic information  Quantitative Participants Pilot school vs. non-pilot school  Qualitative Participants
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. Interpretations of Findings –Survey and Interviews  Survey  Focus group interviews Themes – Opportunity, Motivation and Support  Teachers and administrators were split on three issues
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. Recommendations for PractitionersSchools and Districts should look at ways to get more students to successfully complete Algebra I prior to entering high schoolThere needs to be some examination of instruction, preparation and assessment so that all students can benefit from early entrance into Algebra
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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?
  14. 14. 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.

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