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Problem Solved? 8th Grade Math Curriculum May Change in Napa Valley

The State Board of Education cut Algebra I standards from the state’s eighth grade math requirements.

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.

Are you an educator in Napa Valley? What do you think about this? Tell us in the comments.

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Lorie February 07, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I don't get it...It just doesn't add up! How does eliminating an "advanced math class (Algebra I)" encourage children to seek higher education and not just "settle" for a HS Diploma, if at all? Lowering the bar is a WASTE of plenty of brilliant minds out there. What will the "bored" children do in a math class that is too easy for them, since "Federal No Child Left Behind statues don't allow for dueling curriculum"? Pathetic!

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