N + 1 article

Posted on September 18, 2021


Oh, boy oh boy, another article about how we Just Shouldn’t Place Anybody In Developmental Math. “Maximizing Math Throughput of Students Who Did Not Complete Algebra 2 in High School.”

Wow, that was the title? There was lots of analysis but if this were an essay, then I’d expect there to be oh, perhaps more than one way to achieve that end.

The bold faced conclusion: “Direct access to transferable, college-level math
classes maximizes the likelihood that students will complete a transferable, college-level
math class within one year by eliminating attrition from multi-term developmental
sequences and by immediately engaging students in challenging, rigorous, and relevant


Maximizes. Not “improves.” Maximizes.

This was the success rate before more students were given access to the courses (“Pre AB 705”).

This was the success rate “post AB 705.”

So! In all cases, yes, the throughput of those entering in the nontransfer course was not as good as those in the transfer courses.

However, the success *rate* when four times as many people were going into transferable… went …. down. Now, the total success went up. So, it would seem that so many people who got to do the transferable instead of int. alg. boosted that total.

However, at zero, zilch nada point is their discussion of how the decision as to which course to enter was made. None. YES, they factored in GPA and math background, but it just could be that many people enrolled in the Int. Alg. because they had good reasons.

the conclusion that because developmental math has a lousy success rate, and *some* people were more successful without it, that therefore everybody should be placed into transferable math? Hey, almost 2 out of 5 students succeeded! I’m sorry, *what about the rest of them* ? This is “maximizing?”

There was a “finally” where it was acknowledged that remedial math is usually procedural. It suggested analyzing courses. Why don’t we analyze how we teach, and what concepts students learn and need to learn? Here’s a hypothesis: students who’ve learned math as procedures a: are missing vital strategies as well as understanding for learning higher level math. It’s not lack of ability. If we want to *maximize* we need to think further.

There was no acknowledgement of the possibility that the math requirements disenfranchise millions of people every school year. I also did not espy any breakdown of said success rates by race. I wonder if they might have done that but didn’t like what it looked like, since they did glean that information.

Finally, wordpress editing is a mess and so I’ve had to just “update” and reopen to make basic edits, and some paragraphs are aout of order.

… but 28% being “maximizing” isn’t equity, in my book.

Posted in: rant