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)

The NASSMC Briefing Service (NBS) is supported in part by the National Science Teachers Association, International Technology Education Association, and Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education. Briefs reflect only the opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the source articles. Click to SUBSCRIBE, COMMENT, or FIND archived NBS briefs. Click for information about NASSMC. Permission is granted to re-distribute NBS briefs in unmodified form, including header and footer.