Passing algebra, flunking middle-school math

New Jersey students who’ve passed algebra, geometry and even advanced algebra are flunking the graduation exam’s math test, which requires a 50% on middle-school questions, writes Derrell Bradford of E3 (Excellent Education for Everyone) on NJVoices guest blog.

Students who can’t pass the exit exam on three tries can earn a diploma through Special Review Assessment.

Sixty-eight percent of SRA takers needed the exam because they failed the math portion of the HSPA. Notably, SRA supporters identify this problem and assert that a lack of quality math instruction, or instructors, is catalytic in the breakdown.

But the DOE, after examining the courses these students took, found something more disturbing. Ninety percent of SRA users took, and passed, Algebra I. A stunning 86 percent took and passed Geometry, while 71 percent and 91 percent took and passed Algebra II and Biology, respectively.

New Jersey has suburban schools for affluent whites in which classes teach what they claim to teach, Bradford writes. And it has urban schools  where “algebra” or “geometry” is just a name.

In a recent Praxis test, “42 percent of prospective New Jersey teachers — and two-thirds of minority applicants — failed the math portion of the certification exam,” Bradford writes.

He asks why students should be forced to attend schools that are just going through the motions, pretending to teach algebra in algebra class but leaving students unprepared for any future.

Via The Foundry.

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