Tested In and Placed In: Are Sixth-Grade Boys and Girls Completing Early Challenge Math Coursework before They Are Ready?


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the algebra readiness outcomes of randomly selected sixth grade boys (n = 15) and girls (n = 15) who tested into and completed early challenge math coursework compared to the algebra readiness outcomes of randomly selected same school sixth grade boys (n = 15) and girls (n = 15) who tested below the admission threshold but were placed into and completed early challenge math coursework based on teachers’ recommendations to determine if these students, both tested in and placed in, were enrolled into higher-level math courses before they were ready—a growing concern nationwide. Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test scores were analyzed using dependent t tests to determine sixth-grade pretest-posttest within group progress and Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test scores were analyzed using Analysis of Covariance for between group statistical comparison across gender and placement conditions to determine rate of test score improvement. Between group challenge math end of sixth-grade report card grade scores were analyzed using Analysis of Variance, also across gender and placement conditions. Taken all together the study test scores and grade results clearly indicate that boys and girls whether tested into or placed into sixth-grade challenge math coursework based on teacher recommendations were equally prepared and ready for seventh-grade pre-algebra studies following a year of early challenge math. Finally, we assert that placement criteria and procedures will continue to predict student success where there are, in combination, a well-designed rigorous math curriculum, committed, caring, and skilled teachers, and motivated students—making early challenge math coursework placement the only appropriate option for students when these conditions are extant.

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Hemphill, D. & Hill, J. (2013). Tested In and Placed In: Are Sixth-Grade Boys and Girls Completing Early Challenge Math Coursework before They Are Ready?. Creative Education, 4, 521-527. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.48076.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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