A Passing Grade: For Schools with Limited Course Offerings, Online Classes Show Promise
|June 1, 2012|
Boston, MA – Learning Starts, a new online parent’s guide to education and learning from the Pearson Foundation, recently wrote about REL Northeast and Islands’ three-year study on the impact of offering online Algebra I to “algebra-ready” eighth-graders in 68 mostly rural middle schools in Maine and Vermont.
Published by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in December 2011, “Access to Algebra I: The Effects of Online Mathematics for Grade 8 Students” finds that students who took an online Algebra I course instead of their school’s general math class scored higher on an end-of-the-end assessment of algebra knowledge and were about about twice as likely to take advanced math courses in high school.
“These findings are important for a couple of reasons, not least of which is the fact that many public middle schools do not have the capacity to offer algebra classes to their 8th grade students,” writes the Learning Starts article. “And not having access to introductory algebra in middle school can have a cumulative impact. Prior studies have shown that kids who take an Algebra I course in the 8th grade have more success in math throughout high school and college than their peers who take the class later.”