REL West Research Digest


December 2013

Analysis of assessment data (scores on the California Standards Test and the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project) indicated that students from the feeder K–8 districts on the east side of San Jose, California, entered East Side Union High School with varied preparation in algebra.

In addition, the Algebra I placement policies for rising 8th graders varied considerably. That meant that some students were on track in ninth grade to take the four years of mathematics courses necessary for admission to a four-year college, but many were not. And it is very difficult for students off track for college preparatory coursework in ninth grade to catch up in the remaining three years of high school.

Educators in Silicon Valley have been working together to improve mathematics preparation, with a focus on the middle school years. Over the past two years, REL West's Silicon Valley Research Alliance (SVRA) has convened twice-yearly educator seminars that focus on supporting students’ persistence in college-preparatory mathematics by connecting research and practice. The context for the seminars is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math, and the implications for instruction and placement.

Read more about the seminars and efforts to improve middle school math preparation in this issue of the digest. The digest also shares information about several REL West events that helped build momentum for state and regional alliance work by bringing researchers and educators together to develop strategies for improving student outcomes. Links to current publications of interest are included.