In order for a child to successfully complete an Algebra 2 course, they must have both the intelligence required and the background in mathematics that is required. Some children have neither and some only have one of the qualities required for Algebra II success. Because of the education systems fundamental failure in not separating students appropriately by ability, some children are forced through Algebra I and Geometry without ever understanding either one. They may pass with a D or even a C because of a teacher recognizing their hard work.
As a teacher of kids, primarily today of children or young adults in poverty, I hate when I begin working with a student who can not add, subtract, divide or multiply without a calculator. Algebra II is hard, even for those of us with engineering degrees and years of teaching calculus and advanced math. It is often made very difficult with new applications of advanced methods for factoring. The IQ level of children who excel at math has been studied and also well documented.
For well over 50 years and back into the 1920s, study after study has concluded that IQ level is directly correlated to math ability. In the master thesis of Forrest Eugene Adams, numerous studies are presented and analyzed. Conclusions were reached in a ten year study of nearly 1200 students by Mitchel (1). Mitchel concluded that pupils with an I.Q. of one hundred or above are almost certain to pass algebra and that pupils with I.Q.’s of ninety or below should not be encouraged to pursue even Algebra I. Greenspan (2) supported this conclusion.
As a teacher, I thank Rick Scott for this move. It is torture for children to have to fail over and over. It is the adults in society responsibility to help children be the best they can be, but there becomes a line of torture when a child does not have the natural ability. Imagine making a person without feet race another on their hands to pass into the next stage of life. There may be some anomalies, but generally speaking, those walking on their hands can not match the speed of those on their feet.
By: Erik Robelen on April 22, 2013 2:31 PM
Algebra 2 will become an optional course for high school students pursuing a standard diploma under legislation Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed today. Advocates say this and other changes to Florida graduation requirements (only adopted in 2010) aim to give students more flexibility as they prepare for various career paths. But the action seems to raise questions about fidelity to the Common Core State Standards in Florida.
The Florida legislation, which won strong, bipartisan majorities in the state’s Republican-controlled House and Senate, is intended to designate “multiple pathways” for demonstrating the skills and knowledge required of high school graduates. Those include a “scholar designation” for students planning to attend a four-year college, as well as a “merit designation” that involves pursuing industry certifications for some high school credit.
1. Claude Mitchell, “Prognostic Value of Intelligence Tests,” Journal of Educational Research, 28:577-81, April, 1935.
2. Philip · Greenspan, “Predicting Success in Algebra,” High Points, 35:19-22, May, 1953.