Friday, September 6, 2013
What To Do With Algebra II?
Pushing students to take more advanced coursework has been a mainstay of American school reform for several decades. That prescription has worked in boosting enrollments. In 1986, less than half of all 17 year-olds (44%) had completed Algebra II, and for Black and Hispanic students, the rate was less than a third. Completing Algebra II is now commonplace. In 2012, about three-fourths of students completed Algebra II, and the race/ethnicity gaps associated with taking the course have narrowed significantly.
Getting more students to take higher level math courses may be a hollow victory. As this essay points out, it has not coincided with students learning more math.