Tracking can lose students rather than support them
- Tracking students in math can leave them on the sidelines, with poor skills and a lack of abilities they may need if they want to pursue a college education, EdSource writes on a new report from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
- Where students are placed in middle school math — from honors, general to basic level math — is often where they stay through high school, and that’s not ideal for those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
- While removing tracking is core to NCTM’s suggestions, infusing more excitement and engagement to math classes is also crucial to help students gain more footing in the subject.
There are few subjects that can intimidate people, even teachers, more than math. At an early age, certainly in elementary school, students will often categorize themselves as good in math or not — and these are assessments they are actually not qualified to decide on their own. It’s crucial for educators to find a way to reach students in math, to make the subject more accessible and more approachable, lest they lose the next Katherine Johnson or Albert Einstein along the way.
A new report from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) outlines the way curriculum administrators can reach students so they don’t leave school lacking the very critical skills in math they need in the 21st Century.
To start, NCTM emphatically believes that both student and teacher tracking should be eliminated on the grounds that neither encourages thinking, and that they instead paralyze future growth in math skills for both educators and students. Math should also be a four-year program, where each class flows into the other, with “engaging and empowering” lessons for every single child, NCTM authors wrote in the 126-page report “Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics.”
From detailing core ideas every high school student needs to ways to set-up and create curriculum for the high school years, the report is a thorough take on setting up math lessons and courses so every child is ready for their future, wherever that takes them.