Improved Instructional Practice

Haertel, Williams, et al. (2011). Preparation, Placement, Proficiency: Improving Middle Grades Math Performance. EdSource.
This policy brief provides an overview of EdSource’s work in their report Improving Middle Grades Math Performance.  Through their research, they looked at placement of California students in 8th grade algebra, their prior preparation and subsequent achievement, and analyzed district and school policies and practices and how they related to student achievement in mathematics.  They find that while the percentage of low-income students who both took algebra in the 8th grade and scored proficient or higher on California’s state algebra assessment test grew substantially, many students who took algebra in the 8th grade still scored  below or far below basic on the test.  When analyzing district and school policy along with student algebra achievement, researchers found that a general emphasis on coherent curriculum and evaluation of student outcomes and instructional needs were associated with higher performance.  The report breaks these general categories into specific practices.

U.S. Department of Education. (2008). Foundations for Success, The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.
This report was commissioned through an Executive Order to develop a report on mathematics in the United States with an emphasis on students entering and succeeding in taking algebra.  Its findings were developed by a national panel of experts and funded through private donations and the U.S. Department of Education.  Its findings emphasize the importance of students completing algebra early in their secondary education and include specific recommendations for curricular focus, building students’ early foundation of mathematics knowledge, and for teachers and teacher education.