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Let’s Go Learn: Key to Success in Higher Math

Here at Let’s Go Learn we spend a lot of time thinking about how to support teachers and students. And one of the things that keeps coming up is how to decrease math anxiety and increase math achievement. Why?

Research shows that success in algebra is key to success in higher math, college, and STEM careers. And success in algebra is dependent on successive mastery of math concepts through elementary and middle schools. 

Basically what we’ve discovered is that math anxiety begins when math learning stops being fun and instead represents confusion, self-doubt, and successive failure. Once a learner gets stuck and fails to learn a particular concept, the effect snowballs. The initial learning gap causes the learner to miss all the concepts that rely on mastery of the initial concept. Imagine that this cycle begins in kindergarten or first grade. Students pass from grade to grade and get more and more behind. How do we stop the cycle?

We wanted a solution that could work in two ways -- intervening in the early grades when learning gaps first appear and remediating in later grades before a student is enrolled in algebra.

We’ve come up with a very practical solution and a Math Success flowchart for putting the solution in place. 

Use the flowchart to:

o   Make sure every student masters all grade level math skills in elementary grades

o   Make sure students have mastered targeted pre-algebra skills in middle school BEFORE they are enrolled in algebra

o   Diagnose performance in algebra throughout the year so that you catch students before they fall behind

If you'd like to read the white paper, go to Trending Now! We'd love to hear your comments.

Tags: math, algebra, math placement tool, flowchart, success in math

  1. Richard Capone
    Reply 11/14/14

    Since we’ve posted our math workflow, we’ve revised our Pre-Algebra RTI reports and added a version C for Pre-Algebra.  The version C RTI report will create a student-list export that sorts students into: Algebra I Ready, Algebra I with Support, Pre-Algebra, Pre-Algebra with Emphasis on Basic Math.  Plus it ranks students within these categories.

    The need for this transitional placement from 8th grade to 9th grade has been so popular that I’ve been sharing the detailed working documents with multiple district administrators each week as it comes up in conversations. 

    The solution to tackling this math gap has to be two-fold:  One, sort students into the appropriate classes more efficiently.  And two, train teachers to use diagnostic data to improve personalization within the classroom.

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