Algebra ForumSilicon Valley Education Foundation Ze’ev Wurman March 24, 2012
Algebra 1 Taking in PAUSD by 8th Grade 100% Jordan Score 550 JLS Score 90% Terman Score 80% State Score 500 70% Advanced Scaled Score 60% 450% Takers 50% 39% 40% 400 30% 26% Proficient 20% 350 10% 16% Basic 0% 300 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 School Year
2004 % of Algebra Taking by Grade 8 vs. Algebra 1 Achievement California School-Level Data Below Basic Basic Proficient Advanced 100% 80%Percent of Algebra Takers by Grade 8 60% 40% 20% 0% 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 School Grade 8 Algebra Scaled Student Score
2012 % of Algebra Taking by Grade 8 vs. Algebra 1 Achievement California School-Level Data Below Basic Basic Proficient Advanced 100% 80%Percent of Algebra Takers by Grade 8 60% 40% 20% 0% 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 School Grade 8 Algebra Scaled Student Score
2004 vs. 2012 % of Algebra Taking by Grade 8 vs. Algebra 1 Achievement California School-Level Data Below Basic Basic Proficient Advanced 100% 2012 2004 80%Percent of Algebra Takers by Grade 8 60% 40% 20% 0% 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 School Grade 8 Algebra Scaled Student Score
Growth in Proficient & Advanced Among Different Groups In California 2003-2012 Note: Cohort size changed by less than 5%80,000 7305170,000 6349360,000 55258 5069050,000 43190 3992640,000 37470 34032 34880 30810 2848030,000 2409220,000 11730 10236 9753 1008810,000 6572 6442 5841 3487 2518 1679 1014 1485 0 Low SES Af-Am Latino White Low SES Af-Am Latino White Low SES Af-Am Latino White Algebra 1 by Grade 8 Algebra 2 by Grade 11 Geometry by Grade 11
What the Current Framework Draft Suggests (1 of 3)• 1. Decisions to accelerate students into the Common Core State Standards for higher mathematics before ninth grade should not be rushed. Placing students into an accelerated pathway too early should be avoided at all costs. It is not recommended to compact the standards before grade seven to ensure that students are developmentally ready for accelerated content. In this document, compaction begins in seventh grade for both the traditional and integrated sequences.
What the Current Framework Draft Suggests (2 of 3)• 2. Decisions to accelerate students into higher mathematics before ninth grade must require solid evidence of mastery of prerequisite CCSSM. “Mathematics is by nature hierarchical. Every step is a preparation for the next one. Learning it properly requires thorough grounding at each step and skimming over any topics will only weaken one’s ability to tackle more complex material down the road” (Wu, 2012). Serious efforts must be made to consider solid evidence of a student’s conceptual understanding, knowledge of procedural skills, fluency, and ability to apply mathematics before moving a student into an accelerated pathway.
What the Current Framework Draft Suggests (3 of 3)• 3. Compacted courses should include the same Common Core State Standards as the non-compacted courses. “Learning the mathematics prescribed by CCSSM requires that all students, including those most accomplished in mathematics, rise to the challenge by spending the time to learn each topic with diligence and dedication. Skimming over existing materials in order to rush ahead to more advanced topics will no longer be considered good practice” (Wu, 2012). When considering accelerated pathways, it is recommended to compact three years of material into two years, rather than compacting two years into one. The rationale is that mathematical concepts are likely to be omitted when trying to squeeze two years of material into one. This is to be avoided, as the standards have been carefully developed to define clear learning progressions through the major mathematical domains. Moreover, the compacted courses should not sacrifice attention to the Mathematical Practices Standards.
Doesn’t this remind us of the days 10 years ago, whenschools and districts prevented EL students from beingReclassified as Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP) andplaced barriers in front of them? That was despite thefact that over 150,000 of those EL students in 2004scored above native English speakers.That was the bilingual lobby in action, trying to protectthe extra money it got from federal and state sourcesfor those kids. Now we have the Defenders of the Common Core protecting the indefensible, while trying to keep talented kids down.
The Academic Content Standards Commission deliberated onthis issue in 2010 and recognized the need to offer two optionsin grade 8 rather than dumbing down our currentexpectations. This was done by a broad consensus of theCommission.Instead, we have now abandoned those high expectation anddecided to place barriers in front of many talented and boredstudents. Exhortations that “every standard counts” and thatplacing students too early should be avoided “at all costs” arenothing but code-words for placing obstacles on the way ofaspiring students. Why not, instead, avoid “at all cost” keepingstudents in boring and meandering classes?
This is a recent testimony of the immediate past president of the North California chapter of the California MathematicsCouncil (CMC), on the issue of offering Algebra choice to our 8th grade students. I … really appreciate having only one course at eighth grade. There are a lot of districts out there who, I know, have been putting off professional development, moving forward implementing the standards, because there hasn’t been a clearly defined pathway in eighth grade and so now I think we can finally move forward. And, also, by eliminating a lot of the additions we can now work with other states and take advantage of resources that are already out there. Gretchen Muller, Jan. 2013 One would imagine that CMC would fight for the right of students to learn challenging mathematics. One would be wrong.
In summary• More that 165,000 students every year, 1/3 of the cohort, successfully prove they can master Algebra 1 by grade 8; this is triple that of 10 years ago• Because of that, three times as many students successfully complete Geometry and Algebra 2 than ten years ago• Minorities were the prime beneficiaries of this effort• Many schools do even better than that• Yet California prefers to dumb down its expectations rather than build on this incredible success