...taking and successfully completing an Algebra II course, which once certified high school students’ mastery of advanced topics in algebra and solid preparation for college-level mathematics, no longer means what it once did. The credentialing integrity of Algebra II has weakened.
The declining significance of successfully completing Algebra II highlights a dilemma. 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. (All NAEP data below are from the NAEP data explorer.)
Getting more students to take higher level math courses may be a hollow victory. It has not coincided with students learning more math.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Tom Loveless on the algebra 2 problem
From Algebra II and The Declining Significance of Coursetaking: