Skip to comments.Students failing algebra rarely recover
Posted on 12/01/2012 2:31:36 PM PST by thecodont
California students who fail algebra and repeat the course are pretty much doomed to fail again, a vicious cycle that wastes limited resources and precious learning time, according to a report released Friday.
Just over a third of students in the 24 school districts studied had to repeat Algebra I either in ninth or 10th grade, yet even after a second year of study, relatively few were proficient in the subject.
Of those who took the class in eighth grade and repeated it as freshmen, just 1 in 5 scored at a proficient level on standardized tests. And of those who repeated as sophomores, 9 percent were proficient.
"These results provide powerful evidence that school systems are struggling to successfully teach, or reteach, mathematics to students who are not already performing well in math by the time they reach middle school," said Neal Finkelstein, the lead researcher on the study, which was commissioned by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd. ...
All told, half of all students in the study repeated algebra, geometry or Algebra II.
Yet many students retake the same course taught the same way, sometimes by the same teacher, according to the authors.
Researchers found that the majority of students who were proficient in Algebra I at the end of eighth grade followed an accelerated math track of geometry in ninth grade and Algebra II in 10th grade.
And those students made up the vast majority - 75 percent - of all those in their class who would ever become proficient in algebra by high school graduation.
Not a single student who earned below a grade of D in seventh-grade math went on to take calculus in high school, according to researchers.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
For the sake of the graduating students, they should be prepared for a bit more than an entry level job if they want to advance.
It used to be that high school graduates went on to very lucrative careers in trades and skilled labor, where not only algebra but trig are requirements.
The requirement here is that they be able to be productive members of society - and that’s a big more of a requirement than bagging groceries at the local supermarket.
For some types of education, the less the better!
Here’s a list of industries from the BLS. I see a whole lot of industries that high school graduates can enter without expertise in algebra.
Total Employment by Industry Sector
Sector Industry 2008 2009 2010
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 1,175,975 1,149,145 1,154,071
21 Mining 713,734 641,737 651,918
22 Utilities 816,560 821,449 807,673
23 Construction 7,315,195 6,136,403 5,672,913
31-33 Manufacturing 13,425,573 11,854,096 11,532,213
42 Wholesale Trade 5,955,341 5,562,324 5,466,844
44-45 Retail Trade 15,374,115 14,611,408 14,549,251
48-49 Transportation and Warehousing 5,357,858 5,028,657 4,935,603
51 Information 3,139,585 2,956,723 2,848,734
52 Finance and Insurance 5,887,222 5,649,983 5,520,206
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 2,157,368 2,017,447 1,961,617
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 7,918,296 7,586,118 7,567,186
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises 1,895,417 1,855,139 1,854,778
56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services 8,079,181 7,239,599 7,482,610
61 Education Services 12,103,006 12,171,846 12,144,279
62 Health Care and Social Assistance 17,433,674 17,764,982 18,077,213
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 2,380,659 2,323,222 2,300,728
72 Accommodation and Food Services 11,491,913 11,158,761 11,183,469
81 Other Services (except Public Administration) 4,541,233 4,425,121 4,406,249
92 Public Administration 7,429,907 7,474,515 7,545,067
Most trades have apprentice programs where they learn by doing under a ‘master’ plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.
Alfred North Whitehead said that most people only need to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and, curiously, statistics.
I had come to the same conclusion, except for the statistics part.
OK, then, let’s go whole hog.
Eliminate spelling and grammar. California has already done it. While we’re teaching kids to excel in innumeracy, we can pile on illiteracy. Checkout clerks don’t need to write or spell, right? Neither do bus drivers. So why make kids learn how to spell much less write a paragraph?
You have to be able to read and write in order to be educated or to educate yourself.
Along with basic mathematics, these language skills are the basic tools of an education which can enable you to make a good living.
Algebra, however, is not a basic tool and millions of folks make a damn good living without it.
I failed every math class in college twice before passing.
I made a B in Trig on the first try. The only thing I can figure why is that trig gives you a visual with the problem.