by Anne-Evan Williams, LGL Director of Educational Development
According to an article in the Ann Arbor News, several Michigan school districts are offering special summer programs to help students prepare for or remediate in Algebra I. They are not alone in their concern for student success at the Algebra I level. School districts all over the country, like the ones in Michigan, are requiring more and more math classes for graduation, meaning that students will have to find success beyond the Algebra I level in order to graduate.
Algebra I has long been considered a pre-requisite for success in upper level math classes as well as in many science and technology classes. The U. S. Department of Education, in its 1997 publication Mathematics Equals Opportunity, describes Algebra I as a "gateway" both to science and math courses, and to higher education.
With graduation requirements now including exit exams in many states, and increasing amounts of mathematics and science course work being required, students more than ever need support to ensure success in Algebra I. School districts are employing early enrichment programs, remedial courses (even dividing the crucial Algebra I course into two years of work so that students can master difficult material at a slower pace), and supplemental instruction to support their students' Algebra I skills. Whether this takes the form of summer courses, after-school centers, or computer enrichment programs, parents, teachers, and students alike are acknowledging the importance of success in Algebra I.
Tags: algebra, remediation, remedial math, graduation requirements