News Brief #3353 Category: Assessment & Accountability
TITLE: "Middle Schools in Md. Find Advanced Math Is Right Formula"

By opening up higher math classes to a broader cross-section of students, 
Maryland middle schools have dramatically increased participation. 

More than one-third of all Maryland middle-school students now take at least 
one high school math course before entering the 9th grade. 

Expanded access to these courses has created opportunities for students with 
weaker academic abilities, and most of them have risen to the challenge. 
Ninety percent of the middle school students who took the state's High School 
Assessment in algebra last spring passed. 

In the Anne Arundel County schools, Superintendent Eric Smith got rid of a 
rule restricting high school math classes in middle school to students who 
scored in at least the 90th percentile on a math aptitude test. Three times as many 
students are now eligible to take Algebra I. 

Educators say students' increased participation is driven by a growing 
recognition that algebra is a must for more advanced math and science, and the 
introduction of algebraic concepts in elementary school. 

"Each generation is becoming more and more ready for higher-level thought 
when they arrive at the middle school level," said Lois Roney, a math specialist 
at New Market Middle School in Frederick County. 

SOURCE: Washington Post, 21 November 2005 (p. B01)

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