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Middle School Math Changes for the 2018-2019 School Year

MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH CHANGES FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR

Overview: The Dublin Unified School District has withdrawn the Course 2/3 middle school math option for the 2018-2019 school year. The following Q&A addresses concerns associated with this decision.

Q: Why was the Course 2/3 math class removed as an option for the 2018-2019 school year?

A: Across the District’s three middle schools, only 17 students tested into Course 2/3. Even if all these students had been located at the same school, there would not have been enough to justify forming the class. As a result, families of students that had tested into the Course 2/3 class were notified of the change and given the option of enrolling in Course 2 or advancing to Course 3.

Q: If only 17 students qualified for the Course 2/3 math class, are we doing a satisfactory job of providing them with an adequate education in mathematics?

A: We were able to eliminate Course 2/3 for the SY18-19 because Dublin has so many high performing math students. Our schools are supporting these advanced math students by accelerating them early in the 6th grade. This provides the opportunity for those students to benefit from a full year of the critical Course 3 standards. The Common Core Framework states: "When accelerated pathways are considered, it is recommended that three years of material be compacted into two years, rather than compacting two years into one. The rationale is that mathematical concepts are likely to be omitted when two years of material are squeezed into one. This practice is to be avoided, as the standards have been carefully developed to define clear learning progressions through the major mathematical domains. Moreover, the compacted courses should not sacrifice attention to the Standards for Mathematical Practice."

Dublin accelerated over 120 6th graders last year (2017-2018) into the year-long Course 2 program, providing an advanced path that allows more time to develop critical math skills. These students would then be in Course 3 as 7th graders (3 years of material compacted into 2 years). Since these 120 students were already accelerated, the need for the 2/3 course was lessened and the opportunity for students to succeed in the even higher levels of math increased.

Besides providing a stronger math foundation for our students, eliminating Course 2/3 is beneficial from a wellness perspective. Course 2/3 was a higher stress environment where students spent a much smaller amount of time on each concept.  

Finally, this pathway still allows a large number of students to get to Algebra I as an 8th grader. In the 2018-2019 school year there are over 150 7th grade students in Course 3 math. All of these students are a year ahead of the grade-level curriculum and will reach Algebra I as an 8th grader, provided that they show success in the Course 3 class.

Q: What was the focus of the Course 2/3 math class?

A: Course 2/3 was a compacted course combining Course 2 and Course 3 curricula. Due to compacting these two courses into one, there were concepts and processes that students were expected to know, without any exposure to those concepts. Nowhere in later years would those concepts be reintroduced, yet students would be expected to use them in complex mathematical concepts.

Q: Will my student still be able to learn the same material without having Course 2/3 as an option?

A: Yes, Course 2/3 was an accelerated option, so students taking Course 2 or Course 3 will have a more detailed instruction in the related material and there are still multiple opportunities to accelerate.

Q: Why didn’t the District communicate this change to the existing and incoming middle school students/families?

A: While the District did not communicate this change to all existing and incoming middle school students/families, on May 21, 2018, it did send a letter to each student that tested into Course 2/3 and communicated their available options.

Q: Does this change mean my middle school student does not have the ability to get into Algebra 1 or Geometry in 8th grade?

A: Your student does have that option. As outlined in DUSD’s CC Math Course Progression there is a pathway into Algebra 1 or Geometry.

Q: Will Course 2/3 return in the 2019-2020 school year?

A:  The District will evaluate the need for a Course 2/3 option in the 2019-2020 year based on student testing later in the 2018-2019 school year.

Q: Where can I learn more about math course progression from 5th – 12th grades?

A: Please view the District’s middle school math page at http://bit.ly/DUSDmath