A pilot project designed to give high schoolers a second chance at mastering mathematics is getting promising results.
Using a federal GEARUP grant aimed at improving college readiness, the Long Beach Unified School District this year is providing after-school math tutorials for algebra, geometry and intermediate algebra students who’ve received D or F grades on chapter exams.
After the tutorials, students retake failed tests to get back on track. More than 700 students have retaken such tests, with more than a third of them scoring 70 percent (a C grade) or better. At one school, Cabrillo High School, more than half of the participating students made such improvements.
“It gives kids an opportunity to dig themselves out of a hole,” said LBUSD Mathematics Curriculum Leader Rebecca Afghani. “If students fail the first chapter test, then they will need extra help to get past chapter two.”
Teachers have worked with central office staff to develop special materials for the tutorial project known as the GEARUP Math Intervention Pilot Program.
One aim of the project is to create assessments and other tools for teachers to use long after the grant expires. The effort is modeled after last year’s similar program at Wilson Classical High School.
“Some students were failing Algebra I by Christmas,” Afghani said regarding Wilson’s efforts, “so teachers thought, why wait until December to help these students?”
The GEARUP math program includes teacher-led committees that help ensure consistency and high standards throughout the school district.
High school math courses like Algebra I can be gate-keeper classes that impede students’ ability to gain admission to colleges and universities.
The pilot project is an integral part of LBUSD’s efforts to prepare more students for success in college and careers.