An ambitious effort to better prepare students for college is now just a footnote in history books after the State Board of Education eliminated Algebra I standards for eighth graders last month.
The controversial plan required school districts to teach Algebra I in middle school, a mathematics course that most other states offer to high schoolers, according to NBC 4 News.
But the State Board of Education dumped the Algebra 1 requirement last month, favoring standards that will mirror the national Common Core standards, EdSource reported. That means no more Algebra I for eighth graders, though there are plans to develop accelerated courses of study for students who have the skills to comprehend the Algebra I curriculum.
The new eighth grade math course will be more rigorous than a general pre-algebra class but not as complex as Algebra I, Tom Adams, head of California's curriculum framework and instructional resources, told NBC 4 News. It will be rolled out for the 2014-15 school year.
The state launched Algebra I for middle school sutdents 15 years ago to put students on a path to take Calculus as high school seniors, according to this Mercury News report. The advanced math study is encouraged for college-bound students and expected by high-level universities.
Nearly 80 percent of eighth graders in the Pacifica School District took Algebra I during the 2011-12 school year. Of those 295 eighth graders, 19 percent rated "advanced" in STAR test results and 26 percent were "proficient."
While more students enrolled in Algebra I as eighth graders, there have been concerns about students struggling with the curriculum. The standards require students to keep retaking the course until they pass.
Complicating the matter was a move by the state two years ago that created two sets of middle school math standards. Federal No Child Left Behind statues don't allow for dueling curriculum.
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