Tested In and Placed In: Are Sixth-Grade Boys and Girls Completing Early Challenge Math Coursework before They Are Ready?

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the algebra readiness outcomes of randomly selected sixth grade boys (n = 15) and girls (n = 15) who tested into and completed early challenge math coursework compared to the algebra readiness outcomes of randomly selected same school sixth grade boys (n = 15) and girls (n = 15) who tested below the admission threshold but were placed into and completed early challenge math coursework based on teachers’ recommendations to determine if these students, both tested in and placed in, were enrolled into higher-level math courses before they were ready—a growing concern nationwide. Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test scores were analyzed using dependent t tests to determine sixth-grade pretest-posttest within group progress and Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test scores were analyzed using Analysis of Covariance for between group statistical comparison across gender and placement conditions to determine rate of test score improvement. Between group challenge math end of sixth-grade report card grade scores were analyzed using Analysis of Variance, also across gender and placement conditions. Taken all together the study test scores and grade results clearly indicate that boys and girls whether tested into or placed into sixth-grade challenge math coursework based on teacher recommendations were equally prepared and ready for seventh-grade pre-algebra studies following a year of early challenge math. Finally, we assert that placement criteria and procedures will continue to predict student success where there are, in combination, a well-designed rigorous math curriculum, committed, caring, and skilled teachers, and motivated students—making early challenge math coursework placement the only appropriate option for students when these conditions are extant.

Cite this paper

Hemphill, D. & Hill, J. (2013). Tested In and Placed In: Are Sixth-Grade Boys and Girls Completing Early Challenge Math Coursework before They Are Ready?.*Creative Education, 4,* 521-527. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.48076.

Hemphill, D. & Hill, J. (2013). Tested In and Placed In: Are Sixth-Grade Boys and Girls Completing Early Challenge Math Coursework before They Are Ready?.

References

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[37] Raty, H., Kasanen, K., Kiiskinen, J., & Nykky, M. (2004). Learning intelligence—Children’s choices of the best pupils in the mother tongue and mathematics. Social Behavior and Personality, 32, 303-312. doi:10.2224/sbp.2004.32.3.303

[38] Sax, L. (2010). Gender differences in learning. NASSPE Research. http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-learning.htm

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[45] US Department of Education (2010). Highlights from PISA 2009: Per formance of US 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science literacy in an international context. US Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011004

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[48] VanNoy, T. (2010). Teaching embedded algebra to young students. http://ezinearticles.com/?Teaching-Embedded-Algebra-to-Young-Students&id=4771526

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[50] Wu, H. (2001). What is at stake in the K-12 standards wars: A primer for educational policy makers. The 1997 mathematics standards war in California, New York: Peter Lang Publishers.

[1] Baharudin, R., & Luster, T. (1998). Factors related to the quality of the home environment and children’s achievement. Journal of Family Issues, 19, 375-403. doi:10.1177/019251398019004002

[2] Board, J. (2010). Criticism of public education—Inequality of oppor tunity, highly bureaucratic systems, achievement-based outcomes, school choice, reform after reform. http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2341/Public-Education-Criticism.html

[3] Bracey, G. W. (2008). The algebra hoax. Phi Delta Kappan, 90, 306-307.

[4] Ciechalski, J. C. (2005). Review of the Orleans-Hanna algebra prog nosis test (3rd ed.). Greenville, NC: Professor, East Carolina University.

[5] Daubert, H. (2006). Millard investigation: Conversation with peggy brendel. Omaha, NE: Millard Public Schools.

[6] Dulaney, C. (1996). Should students take algebra I in middle school? E&R Report, 96(.08), Raleigh, NC: Eye on Evaluation—Evaluation and Research Department: Wake County Public School System.

[7] Eamon, M. K. (2005). Social-demographic, school, neighborhood, and parenting influences on academic achievement of Latino young ado lescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 163-175. doi:10.1007/s10964-005-3214-x

[8] Else-Quest, N. M., Hyde, J., & Linn, M. C. (2010). Cross-national pat terns of gender differences in mathematics: A meta-analysis. Psycho logical Bulletin, 136, 103-127. doi:10.1037/a0018053

[9] Fensterwald, J. (2010). Too many students forced to retake algebra. Thoughts on public education: Analysis, opinions and ruminations on California education policy. Silicon Valley Education Foundation. http://toped.svefoundation.org/2010/03/24/too-many-students-forced-to-retake-algebra/

[10] Gallagher, A., Levin, J., & Cahalan, C. (2002). GRE research: Cogni tive patterns of gender differences on mathematics admissions tests (ETS Report No. 02-19). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

[11] Geist, E. A., & King, M. (2008). Different, not better: Gender differ ences in mathematics learning and achievement. Journal of Instruc tional Psychology, 35, 43-52.

[12] GreatSchools: Involved Parents. Successful Kids (2010). Why is alge bra so important? Algebra is known as a gatekeeper subject, so when should your child take it? http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/why-algebra.gs?content=354

[13] Guttenplan, D. D. (2010). Western nations react to poor education re sults. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/world/europe/09education.html

[14] Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

[15] Halpern, D. F. (2004). A cognitive-process taxonomy for sex differ ences in cognitive abilities. American Psychological Society, 13, 135-139.

[16] Halpern, D. F., Benbow, C. P., Geary, D. C., Gur, R. C., Hyde, J. S., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2007). The science of sex differences in science and mathematics. Association for Psychological Science, 8, 1-51.

[17] Hochschild, J. L. (2003). Social class in public schools. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 821-840. doi:10.1046/j.0022-4537.2003.00092.x

[18] Hyde, J. S., Fennama, E., & Lamon, S. L. (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139-155. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.107.2.139

[19] James, A. N. (2007). Gender differences and the teaching of mathemat ics. Inquiry, 12, 14-25.

[20] Jeynes, W. H. (2002). Examining the effects of parental absence on the academic achievement of adolescents: The challenge of controlling for family income. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 23, 189-210. doi:10.1023/A:1015790701554

[21] Kaput, J. K. (2000). Transforming algebra from an engine of inequity to an engine of mathematical power by “algebrafying” the K-12 cur riculum. Dartmouth, MA: National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science.

[22] Katz, V. J. (2007). Algebra: Gateway to a technological future. The Mathematical Association of America (MAA). http://www.maa.org/algebra-report/Algebra-Gateway-Tech-Future.pdf

[23] Kloosterman, P., Tassell, J., Ponniah, A. G., & Essex, N. K. (2008). Perceptions of mathematics and gender. School Science and Mathe matics, 108, 149-162. doi:10.1111/j.1949-8594.2008.tb17821.x

[24] Knuth, E. J., Alibali, M. W., McNeil, N. M., Weinberg, A., & Stephens, A. C. (2005). Middle school students’ understanding of core algebra ic concepts: Equivalence & Variable. International Journal on Ma thematics Education (ZDM), 37, 68-76. doi:10.1007/BF02655899

[25] Kuchemann, D., & Secolsky, C. (1985). Review of the Orleans Hanna prognosis test. In J. V. Mitchell Jr. (Ed.), The ninth mental meas urement yearbook (pp. 1105-1106). Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurement.

[26] Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

[27] Lee, J., Grigg, W., & Dion, G. (2007). The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2007 (NCES 2007-494). Washington DC: National Cen ter for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, US De partment of Education. http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2007/2007494.asp#pdflist

[28] Loveless, T. (2008). The misplaced math student: Lost in eighth-grade algebra. Washington DC: Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings.

[29] Majoribanks, K. (1996). Family learning environments and students outcomes: A review. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 27, 373-394.

[30] McCoy, L. P. (2005). Effect of demographic and personal variables on achievement in eighth-grade algebra. The Journal of Education Re search, 98, 131-135. doi:10.3200/JOER.98.3.131-135

[31] McNeal, R. B. (2001). Differential effects of parental involvement on cognitive and behavioral outcomes by socioeconomic status. Journal of Socio-Economics, 30, 171. doi:10.1016/S1053-5357(00)00100-1

[32] Muller, C. (1998). Gender differences in parental involvement and ado lescents’ mathematics achievement. Sociology of Education, 71, 336-356. doi:10.2307/2673174

[33] National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) ( 2011). Breaking down the PISA results. Newsleader, 58, 1-10.

[34] National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2002). Principal and standards for school mathematics. http://standardstrial.nctm.org/document/chapter6/index.htm

[35] National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Principal and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

[36] Penner, A. M. (2008). Gender difference in extreme mathematical achievement: An international perspective on biological and social factors. American Journal of Psychology, 114, S138-S170.

[37] Raty, H., Kasanen, K., Kiiskinen, J., & Nykky, M. (2004). Learning intelligence—Children’s choices of the best pupils in the mother tongue and mathematics. Social Behavior and Personality, 32, 303-312. doi:10.2224/sbp.2004.32.3.303

[38] Sax, L. (2010). Gender differences in learning. NASSPE Research. http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-learning.htm

[39] Seyfried, S. F. (1998). Academic achievement of African American preadolescents: The influence of teacher perceptions. American Journal of Community Psychology, 26, 381-402. doi:10.1023/A:1022107120472

[40] Stacey, K. (2009). Trends in mathematics education research: The example of algebra education. [Peer commentary on the study “The future of the teaching and learning of algebra” by Stacey, K., Chick, H., & Kendal, M.] http://www.hbcse.tifr.res.in/episteme/episteme-1/epiteme-1-review-papers/stacey

[41] Steen, L. A. (1999). Algebra for all in eighth-grade: What’s the rush? Middle Matters, 8, 6-7.

[42] Steen, L. A. (1992). Does everyone need to study algebra. Mathematics Teacher, 85, 258-260.

[43] Toone, L. T. (2011). Orleans-hanna algebra prognosis test: Informa tion for students, parents, and educators. Farmington, UT: Davis School District. http://www.davis.k12.ut.us/davis

[44] Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (1999). High lights from TIMSS 2007: Mathematics and science achievement of US fourth and eighth-graders in an international context. US De partment of Education: National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2001027

[45] US Department of Education (2010). Highlights from PISA 2009: Per formance of US 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science literacy in an international context. US Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011004

[46] US Department of Education (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the national mathematics advisory panel. http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/report/final-report.pdf

[47] Valentine, E. F. (1998). Gender differences in learning and achieve ment in mathematics, science and technology and strategies for eq uity: A literature review. Psychological Foundations of Education for Pre-Service Teachers. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Insti tute & State University.

[48] VanNoy, T. (2010). Teaching embedded algebra to young students. http://ezinearticles.com/?Teaching-Embedded-Algebra-to-Young-Students&id=4771526

[49] Willingham, W. W., & Cole, N. S. (1997). Gender and fair assessment. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99105978

[50] Wu, H. (2001). What is at stake in the K-12 standards wars: A primer for educational policy makers. The 1997 mathematics standards war in California, New York: Peter Lang Publishers.