The Changing of Rockwood’s Math Policy
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Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the Rockwood School District is changing the middle school math sequence.
Lisa Lingle, head of the math department, said the current sequence for middle school math is Sixth Grade Math in sixth grade, Pre-Algebra in seventh grade, and Foundations of Algebra in eighth grade.
“The new sequence adds two new courses that impact the curriculum and allows students to advance without skipping foundational concepts,” Lingle said.
With the new math sequence, sixth graders are given the opportunity to either enroll in Math 6 or Integrated Math 6/7, seventh graders have the option of either Math 7 or Integrated Math 7/8 and eighth graders can enroll in Math 8 or Algebra 1.
“The new middle school math sequence was prompted by the need to create a pathway that allows students to get to Algebra 1 without skipping a grade-level of mathematics,” Lingle said.
Patricia Strauss, math teacher, said the new math policy could be beneficial to students if it is pursued correctly.
“Those kids are the ones that can handle the extra math and I’m glad to hear that they are not cutting anything out,” Strauss said.
Based on their experience in middle school, Strauss said she often has to teach review concepts as new concepts. She hopes that with this new sequence, kids will learn more in middle school making them more prepared for high school math.
Her only fear is since most middle schools teach math on a blocked schedule, they may not be able to get through all the required material.
“If they are not changing the schedule to teaching math everyday, then I think it’s going to be hard for middle school teachers to complete a year and a half of curriculum,” Strauss said.
Sarena Yeung, sophomore, skipped Sixth Grade Math and took Pre-Algebra instead. She then went on to take Fundamentals in seventh grade and Algebra 1 in eighth grade.
Yeung said skipping Sixth Grade Math didn’t have much of an impact on her throughout middle school because the course is a review of fifth grade math. However, she said skipping multiple grades of math can be hurtful.
“I don’t really think skipping around is that bad, unless you are skipping two or three grade levels,” Yeung said. “Then when you get to high school it can more difficult because you might not remember what you learned.”
Yeung thinks the change in math scheduling could potentially be beneficial for middle school students.
“I think it depends on the student but it can be beneficial for some students because it makes it a little more even for everyone so nobody knows a lot more than someone else,” Yeung said.