Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th

Posted by: Bostonian

Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 04:58 AM

I hope this change does not occur.

link
Virginia moving to eliminate all accelerated math courses before 11th grade as part of equity-focused plan. State says framework includes 'differentiated instruction' catered to the needs of the child
By Sam Dorman
Fox News
April 22, 2021

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is moving to eliminate all accelerated math options prior to 11th grade, effectively keeping higher-achieving students from advancing as they usually would in the school system.

Loudoun County school board member Ian Serotkin posted about the change via Facebook on Tuesday. According to Serotkin, he learned of the change the night prior during a briefing from staff on the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI).

"[A]s currently planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade," he said. "That is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7. All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10. Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses."

His post included a chart with what appeared to be set math courses for 2022-2030.

VDOE spokesperson Charles Pyle indicated to Fox News that the courses would allow for at least some variation depending on students' skill level. "Differentiated instruction means providing instruction that is catered to the learning needs of each child (appropriate levels of challenge and academic rigor)," Pyle said.

...
Posted by: aeh

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 06:07 AM

Thought-provoking quote from the NCSM Detracking white paper cited by VDOE:

"Those that have been privileged by the current system must be willing to give up that privilege for more equitable schooling."
Posted by: aeh

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 06:27 AM

It appears that the current (2020 publications) movement in math education, as documented on position papers from NCSM and NCTM, emphasizes equity or social justice, and expressly sets as an objective eliminating ability grouping prior to 11th grade.

https://www.nctm.org/change/ (2020)
https://www.mathedleadership.org/docs/resources/positionpapers/NCSMPositionPaper19.pdf (2020)
https://www.todos-math.org/assets/docs2016/2016Enews/3.pospaper16_wtodos_8pp.pdf (2016)

On a bit of an off note, one of the documents contrasts White and Asian-American students with "students of color". I am pretty sure that most Asian-Americans would not describe their holistic experience as that of White privilege, especially over the past year.

"Tracking is a form of de facto segregation as students in higher tracks have historically been predominantly White or Asian American from affluent families, whereas students in lower tracks have been primarily students of color and students who are economically disadvantaged." -- NCSM
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 08:41 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
"Tracking is a form of de facto segregation as students in higher tracks have historically been predominantly White or Asian American from affluent families, whereas students in lower tracks have been primarily students of color and students who are economically disadvantaged." -- NCSM

Children can learn math outside of public school. My three children have attended Russian School of Math. They also attended math classes at a Saturday school run by Chinese-American parents. A good fraction of Chinese-American fathers have advanced math skills. Educational bureaucrats who are effectively trying to suppress the academic achievement of Whites and Asians will meet with various responses.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 10:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Children can learn math outside of public school.


Children can learn anything outside school. Presumably taxpayers would like their children to actually learn in school, as is the stated goal of public education.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 11:11 AM

And critically, it seems likely that this will have disparate impact on access to appropriate instruction particularly for highly capable learners from disadvantaged homes, who will not be as well resourced to learn math outside of public school.

Thus amplifying disproportionality, rather than reducing it.

Not feeding a child's strengths has long-lasting, often irremediable effects. I am still haunted by the student I had many years ago who was convinced after years of (I hope) inadvertent school messaging that they were not academic, not college-bound, and really only good enough for minimally-skilled labor. The revelation in tenth grade that this severely dyslexic young person was also in the 99th %ile for math (even after lack of access to any advanced work for all of elementary and middle school) propelled the school-based team to pour resources into opening up new possibilities for them, but sadly, came too late to convince the student personally.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 11:44 AM

aeh, thank you for that. I think it's helpful that you shared an anonymized case, because it restores the human dimension to the debate. That is truly an upsetting story.

As a general note for the group, it's easy to get bogged down in labels and factions. At the end of the day, this isn't an us-against-them story. These are students -- all of equal value in the eyes of the law -- not categories, packages, or numbers. They're fellow humans, each with innate dignity and the right to learn. How they are treated, and what they are exposed to in school (or, in this discussion about math, not exposed to) will materially influence their direction in life.

Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

Children can learn math outside of public school. My three children have attended Russian School of Math. They also attended math classes at a Saturday school run by Chinese-American parents. A good fraction of Chinese-American fathers have advanced math skills. Educational bureaucrats who are effectively trying to suppress the academic achievement of Whites and Asians will meet with various responses.


If this policy only applies to public schools, then it will widen the equity gap. Those who can afford private schools will still be able to advance, whilst the gifted but financially poor will suffer. If this understanding is correct, this policy is absolutely appalling.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 04:09 PM

I suspect the authors of these policies are senior administrators who send their kids to private schools and will indirectly benefit through handicapping their competitors.

Just to provide personal context, Iím in a different country, have the financial means to send my kids to the top private schools, have supported them in their decisions to decline selective school offers and we make donations to our local school, which my kids attend, where we see relatively modest sums make huge differences to large cohorts. The school now reaps the benefits of having allowed my son to self direct his learning in junior grades as he essentially co-teaches all his STEM classes now that he is in senior grades, because his understanding of concepts is often more robust than his teachersí (a fact that several freely admit). If such a policy were introduced here, we may have no choice but to move our kids (or homeschool them as I would not want to support other institutions benefiting from such a policy).

I am outraged for the affected citizens of Virginia.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 04:43 PM

Unfortunately, this is likely just the first ripples of another wave of ed reform in math across large swathes of the USA, not just one state, since these policy positions emerge from the major organizations in K-12 math education.

For context, I should note that there have been alternating rounds of ability grouping and detracking occurring at semi-regular periods over several decades, and while I think this is a bad idea, and likely harmful to the most disadvantaged children subject to it while it holds sway, I also suspect that it will end up as a passing fad, just like it has all the previous times.

What is more unfortunate is that the response to deeply-imbedded societal inequities is to lower the ceiling on the highest-performing, rather than pouring additional supports into bringing the least-resourced students up early on. After all, disadvantaged high-potential learners won't be exposed to any higher-quality instruction or more advanced opportunities by this proposed system, which would make it difficult for them to reach the higher-performing levels that this is supposed to facilitate.

Even the position papers acknowledge that the real problem with tracking/laning/ability grouping is how it is executed, and the overlay of bias and inflexibility that often enters into the selection process and the education of those placed in lower lanes.

Quote:
students might be placed into these tracks based on questionable methods using grades and placement exams, perceived ability through teacher recommendation, or non-academic expectations adults have for the students
-- NCSM Position Paper 19
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/23/21 04:59 PM

I'm going to forward this policy document to a friend who completed her doctoral work with a Nobel prize winner in the skills area, and who leads research on the nexus between education policy and future employment. It would be good to get some heavyweights ahead of this kind of misguided policy that will, ultimately, have regressive consequences. Let me chat with some policy friends in the US.

I'm a Canadian, and we're seeing similar trends toward integration in math, as well, and to a greater degree. Compound that with the fact that students aren't allowed to test out of high school classes - unless they are mature students reaching back to complete high school - and it's a stultifying morass of non-mathiness.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 05:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Virginia moving to eliminate all accelerated math courses before 11th grade as part of equity-focused plan.

Who did not see this coming...?

- Manning Johnson, an African American defector from the Communist Party, risked everything to warn America in 1958 about changes in education (Chapter 7, "Creating Hate", find "education"), as part of the plan to take down America by exacerbating tensions between the races,

- C.S. Lewis fictionalized changes in education for "parity" in Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959),

- Frattura & Capper promoted one-size-fits-some education (beginning in 2007),

- I shared my dread when Common Core State Standards (2010) appeared to create a ceiling, capping the growth of students at the top.

- This approach removes the supply-and-demand aspect of economics from American taxpayer-funded public school education opportunities.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
State says framework includes 'differentiated instruction' catered to the needs of the child...
Parents and students need to remain alert as to whether this actually means the implementation of differentiated task demands.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 05:51 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
And critically, it seems likely that this will have disparate impact on access to appropriate instruction particularly for highly capable learners from disadvantaged homes, who will not be as well resourced to learn math outside of public school.

Thus amplifying disproportionality, rather than reducing it.
Yes, IMO, these families need to be identified, assured of ongoing support from the community, and encouraged to use their voice to advocate for their children and against the non-acceleration plan. The non-acceleration plan appears to be based on overall statistics... which do not apply to individuals... applying aggregated statistics to individuals is a form of stereotyping and/or racism.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 06:19 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
Unfortunately, this is likely just the first ripples of another wave of ed reform in math across large swathes of the USA, not just one state, since these policy positions emerge from the major organizations in K-12 math education.
Yes, unfortunately, an ill-advised program or policy can spread unchecked like wildfire. People are wise not to shrug this off, saying, "Luckily, I do not live in Virginia." People in every state need to begin research and outreach to raise awareness and prepare for advocacy.

Originally Posted By: aeh
Even the position papers acknowledge that the real problem with tracking/laning/ability grouping is how it is executed, and the overlay of bias and inflexibility that often enters into the selection process and the education of those placed in lower lanes.

Quote:
students might be placed into these tracks based on questionable methods using grades and placement exams, perceived ability through teacher recommendation, or non-academic expectations adults have for the students
-- NCSM Position Paper 19
A more flexible implementation of grouping by ability and readiness in each subject, may be helpful.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 07:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
Those who can afford private schools will still be able to advance, whilst the gifted but financially poor will suffer.
Yes. Private schools, homeschooling, co-ops may be options to alleviate government school pressure to stunt the growth of pupils at the top.

There has already been a major push by Harvard to eliminate homeschooling. A pincer strategy.
Concerned citizens need to keep their finger on the pulse of homeschooling legislation, to preserve, protect, and defend the right of the people to choose to homeschool.
Some ways to do that:
1) Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) -
. . https://hslda.org/
2) Legiscan -
. . https://legiscan.com/
. . To see current bills for any given state, append the two-character state abbreviation
. . (For example, California - https://legiscan.com/CA)
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 07:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
... it will widen the equity gap.

To the degree that for some students there may be an effort gap, and to the degree that new way of thinking is that the system is responsible for student achievement and the student has no personal accountability, gaps may continue to widen by virtue of exonerating the pupil from the effort of learning. For example, when considering teaching/learning, if a student does not perform well, the teacher gets the mark or grade of D, the child does not get the mark or grade of D.

Pivot, new thought on the knowledge gap, new thread: Natalie Wexler, author: The Knowledge Gap
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 02:40 PM

I agree with you wrt the possibility of increasing effort gaps. Would there not also be potential equity gaps, wrt opportunity, if this policy only applies to public schools, whilst private schools can continue to offer acceleration pathways?
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 03:40 PM

Originally Posted By: indigo
Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
Those who can afford private schools will still be able to advance, whilst the gifted but financially poor will suffer.
Yes. Private schools, homeschooling, co-ops may be options to alleviate government school pressure to stunt the growth of pupils at the top.

There has already been a major push by Harvard to eliminate homeschooling. A pincer strategy.
Concerned citizens need to keep their finger on the pulse of homeschooling legislation, to preserve, protect, and defend the right of the people to choose to homeschool.
Some ways to do that:
1) Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) -
. . https://hslda.org/
2) Legiscan -
. . https://legiscan.com/
. . To see current bills for any given state, append the two-character state abbreviation
. . (For example, California - https://legiscan.com/CA)


Which suggests that this isnít just a misguided but benign policy, but rather first steps in a much bigger strategic plan.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
I agree with you wrt the possibility of increasing effort gaps. Would there not also be potential equity gaps, wrt opportunity, if this policy only applies to public schools, whilst private schools can continue to offer acceleration pathways?
Some may say that the existence of any potential opportunity gaps may depend upon WHAT one wants equal opportunity for:
- equal opportunity to have a student's needs met?
- equal opportunity to have an option of acceleration?

I'm using a simple definition of student's NEEDS as:
1) appropriately challenging curriculum in the student's zone of proximal development (ZPD)
2) intellectual peers

Upthread it has been suggested theoretically that:
- students who need or would benefit from advanced academics enroll in the private school program (or homeschool or co-op), which allows acceleration,
- students who need or would benefit from on-grade-level academics enroll in the public school program, which does not offer acceleration.

If needs are being met, then does one consider this fair, just, equitable?
In the following oversimplified chart,
- school disallowing acceleration is the public school; school allowing acceleration is private, homeschool, or co-op,
- "fit" designates needs being met, "poor fit" indicates needs not being met.
Originally Posted By: oversimplified chart
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . Student . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . gifted/advanced. . typical
School disallowing acceleration .poor fit . . . . . . . .fit
School allowing acceleration. . . fit. . . . . . . . . . . .fit
The existence of schools which allow acceleration provides opportunity for more students' needs to be met.
Therefore, fewer opportunity gaps, increased equity.

To further reduce opportunity gaps and increase equity, especially wrt pupils whose families cannot afford private school, "school choice" may fill the gap, although some consider the concept to be controversial and/or political.

Circling back to the idea of WHAT one wants equal opportunity for, I'll use a comparison to handing out school uniforms.
- does one want to choose the uniform which fits (meets student's needs)?
- does one want the largest size uniform possible (although it may be too large, therefore unusable)?
- does one want the same one-size-fits-some uniforms to be handed out to all pupils without regard to whether it fits (or meets students' needs)?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/24/21 05:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
Which suggests that this isnít just a misguided but benign policy, but rather first steps in a much bigger strategic plan.
Yes, this is big. Did you also notice aeh's post upthread?
Originally Posted By: aeh, brief except from post
Unfortunately, this is likely just the first ripples of another wave of ed reform in math across large swathes of the USA, not just one state, since these policy positions emerge from the major organizations in K-12 math education.
Posted by: Team3

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/26/21 04:09 PM

Educators will also have to manage the altered studentĖstudent interactions that accompany the change. E.g., it's not always pleasant to know the answers in class.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 04/26/21 05:34 PM

Welcome, Team3!
That is an EXCELLENT point.
smile

In order to not veer off-topic, I created a new thread discussing: Rather than capping the growth of pupils at the top (for example by implementing a no-acceleration policy), might more be done to bring up the performance of struggling students?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 05/11/21 12:59 AM

Possibly this old paper is still pertinent. It debunks several myths previously used to avoid subject acceleration:
Originally Posted By: paper
In Search of Reality: Unraveling the Myths about Tracking, Ability Grouping, and the Gifted
(Ability Grouping and Acceleration) Ellen D. Fiedler; Richard E. Lange; Susan Winebrenner.
Roeper Review
, Spring 2002 v24 i3 p108(4)
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2002 The Roeper School
...
Myth #1: Tracking and ability grouping are the same thing.
...
Myth #2: Ability grouping is elitist.
...
Not all students have the ability or desire to participate on a varsity sports team, yet I have never heard any school official argue that singling out talented athletes for team membership to the exclusion of others is elitist. In fact, school districts and local community agencies go to great lengths applauding these athletes' efforts and supporting them in their development.
...
Myth #3: Ability grouping inevitably discriminates against racial and ethnic minority students.
...
Myth #4: Gifted students will make it on their own; grouping them by ability does not result in improved learning or achievement for them.
...
Myth #5: Providing heterogeneously grouped cooperative learning experiences is most effective for serving all students, including the gifted.
...
Myth #6: Assuring that there are some gifted students in all classrooms will provide positive role models for others and will automatically improve the classroom climate.
...
Note: "ability grouping" may also be known as cluster grouping by readiness and ability.
The paper is available on wayback machine, internet archive, here.
Link - https://web.archive.org/web/20170918201400/http://www.casenex.com/casenet/pages/virtualLibrary/gridlock/groupmyths.html

Adding a link to related discussion threads, pertaining to limiting student ability to move ahead in math, on the West Coast of the USA:
1) in the San Francisco Unified School District: Math test doesn't add up
2) for the entire State of California: http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post248829
Posted by: indigo

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 06/27/21 10:52 PM

Eliminating accelerated math classes is 1st step toward education disaster
by Marie Richter
June 27, 2021
AmericanThinker

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/202...n_disaster.html

Originally Posted By: brief excerpt from article
Eliminating accelerated math courses for middle and high school students is simply a bad idea with serious consequences. For starters, Virginia will have far fewer students accepted into engineering programs of study at U.S. colleges. Thereafter, Virginiaís engineering universities will be faced with watering down admission requirements for its own state students. Ultimately, Virginia students who are accepted into in-state and out-of-state engineering programs will not be able to compete with students from other states.

Math classes are the backbone of a high school studentís body of work for those pursuing engineering. The normal sequence of classes offered toward high school graduation is Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus. Accelerated math students can handle Algebra 1 in 8th grade, which puts them on a trajectory to take full calculus (even AP Calculus) before graduating high school.
Posted by: BlueFist

Re: Virginia eliminating accelerated math before 11th - 08/04/21 09:37 AM

Look at this incompetence of Virginia removing accelerated math classes before 11th. Remember that American high school diploma is merely slightly harder than GCSEs in UK, per subject while GCSE is taken at 15-16 in UK. So those in UK are basically completing regular American high school diploma two years earlier.

AP is between AS level and A level in the UK. To put that in perspective 17-18 year olds sit AS levels and 18-19 year olds sit A-levels. You can see that US education needs to catch up.