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More On Math Scores

Hillel Aron | September 17, 2012

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We got an interesting email in response to our post about LAUSD’s low math scores from a  Cochran Middle School math teacher named Rustum Jacob, who offers two additional reasons why scores are as low as they are:  more 9th grade students being placed into Geometry, and no real alternatives for 9th graders who aren’t ready for Algebra.

Mr. Jacob’s points (read his email below) are well taken, and we encourage any teachers to share their views with us below or email us with comments from the front lines.

1. LAUSD has gotten a lot better about placing 8th graders [who are] proficient in Algebra into Geometry in 9th grade. In other words, the population taking Algebra in 9th grade has fewer students repeating the class. Good for students, bad for the 9th grade passing statistic.


2. California/LAUSD doesn’t know what to do with 8th graders who aren’t ready for Algebra… for now. For multiple reasons, not every kid is prepared to take Algebra in the 8th grade.


[The] good news is that Common Core will realign the standards in a way that better prepares students for Algebra in [the] 8th grade, and those that are not ready will get [a] specific curriculum to get them ready for Algebra in the 9th grade.


While a yearly look can be informative, when the population taking the test changes, that needs to be stated. When the curriculum for 8th grade math doesn’t prepare students for Algebra, it should be stated.


Also why are you including a drop in 11th grade passing rates, of course the passing rate goes down. Students in 11th grade had taken Algebra 3 or 4 times before and failed, every proficient student had left the population sample. The better question is what percentage of 11th graders are still taking Algebra and is that number shrinking.


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