A recent story that aired on a National Public Radio affiliate features the Long Beach Unified School District and its efforts to enroll more students in algebra during middle school.
The "Learning to Love Algebra" report cites studies showing that for students who pass algebra in middle school, the chances of going to college and earning a degree jump exponentially, as do the chances of earning high wages.
The story looks at 200 students – mostly black and Latino – at Stephens Middle School in West Long Beach, where a research-based pilot project is helping to make math fun. The Stephens students' math skills were not strong enough for them to take algebra, but they were enrolled anyway and provided with extra support, including an additional Algebra Development class. The students are now performing as well as the general population taking Algebra I.
The Algebra Development class uses games to help students solve formulas, graph quadratic equations and figure out other algebraic concepts.
To hear the full report, click on the archive at www.californiareport.org and type in “Learning to Love Algebra” in the search field.