Hold on to your hats: Low-performing students don’t learn much from middle-school algebra according to new research. From Ed Week:
Separate studies of urban middle schoolers in California and in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools suggest that placing struggling math students in algebra class does not improve their test performance on state math tests, and significantly hurts their grade point averages and the likelihood of their taking and passing higher math courses in high school.
Algebra is a gateway course to college, so reformers have pushed students to take it as soon as possible. Some 31 percent of students take algebra in eighth grade compared to 16 percent in 1990 to 2007. California’s standards call for students to learn algebra in eighth grade: 54 percent take the course, though many have to repeat it in ninth grade. And sometimes tenth and 11th.