Education leaders in Virginia use early access to Algebra I as one method to provide students more time to take college preparatory courses in high school, thereby increasing students' likelihood of graduating prepared for college and careers. Yet, little data are available for these leaders to examine whether their approach is warranted. Members of the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia Student Success in Mathematics partnership are interested in learning more about students who complete Algebra I in grades 7-9 and their outcomes. This study examined whether these students passed the Algebra I state assessment and whether they earned a college preparatory diploma. The study used administrative data to calculate descriptive statistics for one cohort of Virginia grade 5 students who completed Algebra I in grades 7-9. The results for the overall study population are presented by students' proficiency level on the grade 5 math state assessment and disaggregated for economically disadvantaged students and English learner students. Among students in the overall study population who scored at the advanced proficient level in grade 5 math and completed Algebra I in grade 7, 90 percent passed Algebra I, and 80 percent earned a college preparatory diploma. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students who passed Algebra I was 10 percentage points lower than the percentage of the overall study population, and the percentage who earned a college preparatory diploma was 18 percentage points lower. There were similar differences in performance for students who completed Algebra I in grade 8 or 9. The study findings suggest the need to better understand Algebra I placement policies and practices and whether they unintentionally contribute to differences in student access to Algebra I and subsequent outcomes.
ERIC DescriptorsAcademic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Algebra, Capacity Building, Career Pathways, College Attendance, College Preparation, College Readiness, Content Analysis, Course Selection (Students), Courses, Data, Data Analysis, Data Collection, Data Use, Disadvantaged Youth, Economically Disadvantaged, English (Second Language), English Language Learners, Grade 5, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Graduation Rate, High School Graduates, Instructional Program Divisions, Longitudinal Studies, Mathematics, Mathematics Achievement, Mathematics Skills, Middle School Students, Outcome Measures, Outcomes of Education, Policy Analysis, Professional Development, Public Schools, Readiness, Secondary School Mathematics, Statistical Analysis, Student Characteristics, Student Placement, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Improvement, Equity
Appalachia | Publication Type:
Descriptive Study | Publication
Date: October 2020