“My fifth grade daughter just missed the cut-off mark for the accelerated sixth grade math class. What can she do to get placed into that accelerated math class?” Parents often express their frustration over this dilemma that might adversely affect their child’s future education. As was mentioned in an earlier message, supervisors and teachers have seized the initiative to offer a course this summer that would provide these “marginal” math students the opportunity to acquire the additional math proficiencies to enter into accelerated math.106 5th grade students took the online math pilot course from June 27th through July 22nd, using chromebooks and working with TenMarks assignments. Middle grade teachers monitored the math programs, and communicated online with these students. Students were administered a pre-test in June and a post-test at the conclusion of the course.We are elated to report that 85 students or 80 % of the students showed significant growth in their math skills. Post-test scores indicated that math proficiencies increased from a range of 8% to 30%, and almost all students demonstrated solid growth in their daily assignments. Students showed determination and work ethic throughout the course and, as a result, 102 more students will begin accelerated math this September. The sixth grade teachers who monitored the online course will also be teaching accelerated math, and will be closely tracking their progress and adjusting support mechanisms to ensure their continuing success.Students were polled on the summer pilot course, and most students found it extremely helpful. Some student comments were: “Assignments were easy to find, access and were well organized;” “I learned a lot from the math class that previously confused me;” “It was easy to contact the teachers.” Teachers thought that TenMarks was a terrific platform to track progress and offered great quality of assignments.Happily, 102 students will be given the opportunity for accelerated math in sixth grade, for this course is the precursor for taking Algebra 1 in the middle school. These students will now be prepared to access high school calculus, preferred by most colleges. We hope that this summer online math course will be established as a permanent fixture in the middle school curriculum, so that such students can close the gap, enhance their math skills, and continue their educational journey to more advanced math challenges.
Frank Heelan Ed.D., President
Edison Board of Education