Friday, September 6, 2013
Algebra Assessments are Essential, but Inadequate
Over the past two decades, algebra has acquired elevated status within the U.S. school curriculum. Researchers have documented that readiness for both college-level mathematics and technically-oriented employment hinges on students gaining, at least by the end of high school, a basic knowledge of algebra.[i] The recognition of algebra’s “gatekeeper” role within the continuum of high school math courses--that it must be taken and passed by any student who aspires to take calculus or other advanced mathematics-presents a challenge for policymakers: the need to measure--in a sound, trustworthy manner--national progress in learning algebra.
This essay, from Brown Center on Education Policy, describes the current state of affairs in assessing algebra—the national and international tests that Americans rely on to measure progress and presents evidence that the current battery of assessments is inadequate.