Study: More time in algebra class equals future success
Students who spent twice as much time learning algebra improved not only in math but also in verbal skills, according to a study of the Chicago Public Schools’ double dose algebra program enacted in 2003. The program in which students enrolled in two algebra classes at the same time was designed to serve students who scored below average on national tests in eighth grade, Maureen Downey writes. Besides academic gains, students in the program graduated high school and attended college at a higher rate than similarly situated peers not enrolled the program, researchers found. 

When students’ time learning algebra is doubled, both their math and verbal skills improve and their rates of college enrollment increase, reveals a study conducted in part by a Texas A&M University researcher.

Kalena Cortes is an assistant professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, and along with Joshua Goodman, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University, and Takako Nomi, an assistant professor at Saint Louis University, studied the “double dose algebra” policy at Chicago Public Schools, implemented in 2003. The study, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, “Doubling Up: Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment,” will be published in the winter 2013 edition of the Education Next journal.

“Double dose algebra is for students who scored below the national median on the 8th grade math exam,” explains Cortes, who specializes in the economics of education and economic demography. “These were inner city schools that had mostly low-income and minority students. Once in the 9th grade, these students who were struggling would take two different algebra classes, so instead of 45 minutes of algebra each day, they would have 90 minutes.”

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