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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Advanced math puts all achievers on path to equity, excellence

All high achievers should be placed in challenging math classes that prepare them to take algebra in eighth grade, write Brenda Berg and Jonathan Plucker on The 74.

Black, Hispanic, Native American and low-income students in particular often are "underchallenged," they write.

Photo: Katerina Holmes/Pexels

North Carolina adopted automatic enrollment in advanced classes for achievers, starting in third grade, in 2018. As a result, most of the state's "mathematically talented students are taking advanced courses in their public schools," though some barriers remain. "The path to equity and excellence is through increased access to advanced opportunities," Berg and Plucker conclude.

Making "gifted" classes available in every school can "advance greater school integration, greater equity within gifted services themselves, and most importantly, greater levels of talent development for students of color and those from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds," write Scott J. Peters, Matthew C. Makel, and James Carter III in Kappan. "There are kids in every school who could be learning more."

All students should be considered, not just those nominated by a teacher or pushed by a parent, they write. Universal screening tends to increase racial and ethnic diversity of students in advanced classes.

Identifying the top students in each school -- instead of comparing scores to national percentiles -- also expands diversity and opportunity.


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