Giving Compass' Take:

• Education News reports that while U.S. public schools are falling short in serving high-achieving math students, several programs in the private sector have stepped up to meet their needs.

• The drawback to these programs can be: the students in the courses are overwhelmingly white, affluent, and male. How can we help them to become more inclusive?

Here are the benefits of small group math instruction for young children. 

Megan Joshi has always loved math— and excelled at it. When she was seven, her parents would reward her for doing chores around the house with algebra and geometry workbooks. Joshi capped her senior year in high school by winning the Math Prize for Girls, an annual competition for high-schoolers from the United States and Canada, and earning a silver medal at the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.

Even though Joshi grew up in a wealthy Southern California community, her public schools played little role in these achievements or in nurturing her passion for math. In elementary school, she was a standout. As a 3rd grader, she was placed in 5th-grade math and still outperformed the other students. She found ways to keep herself “less bored” by helping classmates, grading papers for the teacher, and, when there was nothing else to do, reading novels. “I don’t especially remember paying attention,” said Joshi, now an undergraduate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tens of thousands of students languish in similar mathematical monotony in schools that are unable to fully support them. Despite the overall limp scores of U.S. students on state, national, and international math exams, the number of high-achieving math students in the country has soared during the past 20 years. During those two decades, the number of schools offering Advanced Placement classes in Calculus AB and Calculus BC grew by about 50 percent. The number of students taking those courses jumped to nearly half a million—an increase of 161 percent—and pass rates are rising. In 2018, twice as many 8th graders and 50 percent more 4th graders scored as advanced in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, as compared to their counterparts in the year 2000.

Read the full article about student enrichment programs by Kathryn Baro at Education News.