The Population, Society and Inequality Series presents

"Pushed Forward or Pulled Back? Accountability Incentives and Eighth Grade Algebra Enrollment in California"
with Andrew McEachin, IES Postdoctoral Fellow at the Curry School of Education and a Research Associate at UVa’s Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
12:30-1:30 p.m.
SOcial Science Plaza B, Room 4250

Algebra is perceived as an important gateway to students’ future success in secondary and post-secondary education. However, there is a long standing debate on the appropriate time for students to enroll in algebra coursework. California has been an early adopter in increasing the share of middle school students, primarily eighth-graders, in algebra. This talk focuses on the school-level contextual factors that interact with students’ likelihood of completing algebra in eighth-grade. Specifically, this talk evaluates the impact of California’s dual-structure accountability policy on algebra enrollment for 8th grade students. California’s current accountability landscape provides differential incentives for schools to enroll eighth-grade students in algebra depending on their standing under the two systems. The results indicate that while most schools are responsive to changes in their standing under the state accountability system, the lowest performing schools in the state are also responsive to changes in their AYP standing. The talk also provides descriptive evidence on the benefits of early algebra completion. Contrary to recent research, the talk provides suggestive evidence that students who complete algebra in eighth-grade attain higher levels of math achievement, and are more likely to complete higher-level math courses, than students who complete a remedial math course. The results in this paper have important implications for accountability and math education policy, especially with many states implementing the Common Core standards in the near future.

Sponsored by Public Health

For further information, please contact Jayne Lee Yang, or 949-824-2566.

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