Math Placement: The Importance of Getting It Right for All Students

By Tony Fong, Neal Finkelstein

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Given the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, California’s history of math acceleration in the middle grades, and the concern for correct math course placement for all students, this brief examines patterns from the past to shed light on considerations for the future.

The brief, written by WestEd’s Tony Fong and Neal Finkelstein, presents the results of further analyses of data from 24 school districts in California that were previously analyzed in an earlier released report.

The additional analysis focuses on the math experiences of minority students: When did minority students take algebra I, how often did they repeat the course, and what proportion of minority students reached calculus by grade 12?

The answers to questions like these are critical for ensuring that all students are placed in appropriate courses to enable them to succeed in high school and college.

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