4 reasons to rethink middle school math acceleration practices

As the pandemic continues to impact another school year, a lot of focus has been on “accelerating learning,” which is about maintaining on-grade level instruction or infusing pre-requisite skills in the instruction so students can access on-grade level instruction.

There is another way the term “acceleration” can be used in math, however, and that pertains to moving students beyond grade-level instruction. Sometimes 5th grade students are accelerated into 7th grade math, or 8th grade students are accelerated into Algebra 1.

Research shows this is not optimal for many students and is oftentimes detrimental when students are inappropriately accelerated. Given this research, as well as the effects of the pandemic, the current practices of this acceleration need to be re-examined as some students may have gaps in learning which will be exacerbated through an aggressive acceleration program.…Read More

Five apps for boosting middle school math skills

These five apps can help middle school students learn math skills such as geometry, estimation, and simple algebra

These math app reviews come from Common Sense Media and its free Graphite service.

Here are reviews of five high-quality digital apps that can help teach middle school math, courtesy of Common Sense Media and its new Graphite service—a free database of teacher-written reviews of learning technologies.

Slice It!…Read More

N.C. schools: Middle school math too hard for elementary students

Under new education reforms adopted by North Carolina, gifted elementary school students will no longer be able to take middle school courses formerly available to them, the Huffington Post reports. In an effort to phase in a set of national education reforms knows as the Common Core — an educational initiative that seeks to improve American education through unified and rigorous teaching across state lines — North Carolina has voted to install a more difficult curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year. Officials say that middle school math courses currently taken by gifted elementary school students will be too difficult for them after the curriculum changes, the McClatchy-Tribune reports. As a result, middle school courses will no longer be available to advanced elementary school students. These changes fuel an already heated national debate on education reform. They raise the question of whether compliance to national educational standards such as the Common Core can stifle individual schools, preventing them from being able to push — and conversely, alienating — their brightest pupils…

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School of One boosts individual learning

In the School of One, students move through material using the methods with which they learn best.
In the School of One, students move through material using the methods with which they learn best.

Although an innovative school model in New York City called the School of One has just started its first full year of implementation, it already has garnered national attention for its middle school math program, which is being hailed as a pioneer for a new method of education based on each student’s individual learning experience.

In traditional classrooms, teachers lead students through the curriculum at the same pace, and every student is expected to learn the same material at the same time. The School of One focuses on learning progression, but students might begin the same lesson at different points. State test results and other assessments identify which skills a student needs to develop, and those skills make up a student’s “playlist,” or individual learning plan.…Read More