Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)

Department

Education Specialties

First Advisor

Erin Fahle

Second Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Abstract

Traditionally, students are scheduled to take Algebra I in their first year of high school mathematics in New York State. 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. A perceived benefit to the policy of universal acceleration is ensuring equal access to a challenging curriculum for all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or prior achievement- mitigating one of the perceived limitations of ability tracking. A drawback of an “acceleration for all” policy is that weaker students may not be developmentally ready to take Algebra in 8th grade, while at the same time, stronger students’ progress might be hindered. The purpose of this descriptive, quantitative study is to investigate how the implementation of acceleration for all has impacted the timing of when students take the Integrated Algebra Regents in one school district, the district’s achievement on the Integrated Algebra Regents and whether the policy affects subgroups of students differentially. The results from the study will be significant to school leaders, as districts may wish to consider these policy changes to enhance learning opportunities for all students.

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