Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Math Placement Research

It is that crazy time of year, and I would guess that many of you are dealing with math placement decisions for your students. The following link has an interesting article about the effect that math placement has on certain students.

“More challenging middle-school math classes and increased access to advanced courses in predominantly black urban high schools may be the key to closing the racial academic achievement gap, according to a University of Illinois study. "


Here are a couple of quotes from the article that really made me think.

Students who take more advanced math courses in middle school lengthen their lead over time, and the positive school-related behaviors developed in those advanced courses lead to even higher achievement.

Being in a classroom where the expectations are higher, the course work is more rigorous, and the climate is more academic has huge effects on student effort.

These finding don’t surprise me because I have seen this happen with my students, but it is great to see research that backs up my instincts. So my questions are, “so what?” and “what now?”
I would also like to see the researchers' definition of "academic climate. " Obviously, this includes more than high expectations and rigorous coursework. I would think the climate would be the most challenging to change. I also think that we might have many different pictures of what a room with an academic climate looks like and sounds like.

What are your thoughts?

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