Giving Compass' Take:

• A report was released that found high school math courses are not effective in preparing students for college.  The report suggests ways to improve the system which includes eliminating the current tracking system that places kids into math levels throughout middle and high school. 

• How would altering high school math course tracking be beneficial for students? 

• Similarily at the college level, there is discussion of rolling back remedial math courses which are also hurting students academic achievement. 

High school math should be more practical, more engaging, and without tracking systems that place some students — often low-income, African-American or Latino — in less challenging classes that leave them unprepared for college, according to a report released last week by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The 126-page report, “Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics,” was compiled over 18 months by high school math teachers, mathematicians, college professors and school district leaders. It also includes feedback from 200 public comments.

“If you look at the last three decades of national K-8 scores, the trend has been positive. But the trend in high school math has been flat,” said Matt Larson, president of the council.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, high school math scores have remained stagnant since the 1970s, with only about 25 percent of 12th-graders scoring at or above proficient.

The council recommended that schools eliminate tracking, in which students — usually beginning in middle school — are placed in math classes that are either honors, general or basic-level math. Those placed in less challenging classes tend to stay on that track through high school and graduate less prepared for college math, the report states.

The council also suggests eliminating “teacher tracking,” in which the most experienced and effective teachers are assigned to higher-level math classes and less experienced teachers are sent to lower-level classes.

The report suggests that all high school students take four years of math, including algebra, geometry and either advanced math such as calculus or practical math such as statistics, financial literacy or data science. Schools would have flexibility as to how those courses would be structured.

The goal, Larson said, is for students to enjoy math and learn real-life concepts they’ll use throughout their lives.

Read the full article about high school math classes by Carolyn Jones at EdSource