In New York State students are traditionally scheduled to take Algebra I in their first year of high school mathematics. However, in many schools, the “top” students in a cohort have access to this course in eighth grade, tracking these high-achieving students ahead of their lower-achieving peers. In response, some schools have adopted the policy of “Algebra for all” in eighth grade – called universal acceleration. While this policy ensures equal access to a challenging curriculum for all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, and prior achievement, there is a concern that not all students are developmentally ready to take Algebra in 8th grade. This study investigates how the implementation of acceleration for all in one school district impacted the timing of when students take the Integrated Algebra Regents, their achievement on the Integrated Algebra Regents Exam, and whether the policy affected racial/ethnic subgroups differentially. I find that the policy led to increases in participation in students enrolled in 8th grade Integrated Algebra, with the most notable increases for black, Hispanic, and Asian students. Across the general population, there was no significant change in scores upon policy implementation, however there was a small decrease in trend of scores post policy. There were no significant changes in performance in the models for white students, Asian students, or black students; however Hispanic students saw decreases in scores at policy change and in trend post policy change.
"The Impact of Universally Accelerating Eighth Grade Mathematics Students on Participation and Achievement,"
Journal of Vincentian Social Action: Vol. 5:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholar.stjohns.edu/jovsa/vol5/iss2/5
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