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Eric.ed.gov – Upgrading High School Math: A Look at Three Transition Courses. CPRE Policy Briefs.

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Lower-level mathematics courses often become a dead-end for mathematics course-taking among low-achieving students. However, several new upgraded mathematics courses reflecting emerging standards in mathematics are improving students’ chances of taking college preparatory mathematics and raising student achievement. California and New York have created “transition courses” to serve as a bridge between basic and college preparatory mathematics. This document focuses on the nature of instruction in transition mathematics courses, the consequences of student placement in the new transition courses, and the linkages among course type, course content, and students achievement. The findings presented here are based on both qualitative and quantitative data gathered from seven high school in San Diego and San Francisco in California and in Buffalo and Rochester in New York. Schools were chosen which had high percentages of minority and low-income students because the problem of dead-end classes for low-achieving students is most severe in such schools. Benefits of the upgrade mathematics courses included students taking more challenging and useful mathematics, students learning more, the material covered was more practical and relevant to real life situations, and students had a better opinion of mathematics and a higher sense of self-esteem. Despite the benefits identified, problems in the implementation of the transition courses included: unclear objectives; a lack of teacher training; problems in course design, student placement and course sequencing; and a differentiated curriculum remains. Findings lead to four policy recommendations: (1) lower-level, general math courses should be eliminated; (2) improve implementation by having clear objectives and staff development; (3) pay more attention to student attendance, mobility patterns and student placement in courses; and (4) while the transition courses represent an improvement, the researchers’ data supports eliminating low-level mathematics and requiring all students to take college preparatory math. (MKR)

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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