Saturday, December 19, 2015

Favorite comments of '15: SteveH and Barry Garelick

On Conversations on the Rifle Range Chapter 21: The Truly Brilliant, the Stupid People, and Egalitarianism 

SteveH said...
"... about 300 students were enrolled in Algebra 1 in the entire District. This year, the number dropped substantially to 46."

Do you know how many of the 300 were successful? What is their justification for cutting the number down so low?

I'm a believer in giving parents an override in these sorts of testing situations. I think they allow that in our schools. The problem is that a tough cutoff requires parental involvement and some kids don't have that support.

Parents often don't pay enough attention until their kids get into high school. If many more kids never get a chance to get to algebra I in 8th grade (and pre-algebra in 7th), then it's all over by the time high school starts. Schools should push and not just reserve algebra in 8th grade for those who have gotten help at home in K-6. Better yet, schools should fix math in K-6.

Barry Garelick said...
The 300 students enrolled in ALgebra 1 had been placed there by virtue of the MDTP which in my opinion is a good test. I had 60 students in my two classes, and they did well. Most of the class got A's and B's; a few C's, 2 D's and 1 F.

The justification for cutting the number low has been discussed in other chapters of the series. Basically, the District wants as many students in Grade 8 Common Core math as possible and wants algebra 1 reserved for 9th grade. As mentioned in Ch 18: "The purpose of the additional test, as Sally had explained the last time the math department had met, was to limit Algebra 1 for eighth graders to the “truly gifted” since the powers that be preferred that students take Algebra 1 in ninth grade under Common Core."

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