“Because colleges require all applicants to take advanced math — at least Algebra II — this is the math standard that all students in the country will now have to meet, requiring mastery of obscure algebraic procedures that the vast majority of adults never use”
This belief shared by venture capitalist Tim Dintersmith in his blog post for the Huffington Post about the failures of the Common Core is certainly far from unique. In fact, the belief that advanced math courses such as Algebra II is only needed for those who wish to go on to college is likely shared by a number of educators, policymakers, and parents throughout the country. This is probably due to the fact that, at first glance, such high level math skills are only needed to get into and graduate from college.
But does data actually backup such a belief? Should Algebra II only be relegated to those high school graduates who plan to go onto college? Fortunately, answers to these questions can be found in my recent report Path Least Take II: Preparing non-college goers for success.
What I found will likely come as a surprise to Tim Dintersmith and others who believe that high level math skills are not needed for those who don’t go on to college. In fact, Algebra II is all but essential for those non-college going graduates to succeed in the labor market. By itself, completing Algebra II:
- Increases the chances non-college goers will:
- be employed full-time.
- work for an employer that offers medical insurance.
- have a retirement fund.
- earn higher wages.
- Less likely to:
- ever be unemployed.
- be unemployed for more than 6 months
- be on public assistance.
The positive impacts of Algebra II are amplified when you also consider the fact that many professional certifications or licenses require (slides 39-41) the math skills at least at the level of Algebra II. And the Path Least Taken report shows that obtaining a professional certification or license has the greatest positive impact on whether a non-college enrollee finds success in the labor market after high school.
Of course completing Algebra II in high school doesn’t guarantee a non-college goer will go on to to get a good job or that a non-college goer who fails to complete Algebra II will be destined for career failure. However, preparing students to complete higher level math courses such as Algebra II should not be reserved only for those students who plan on attending college. Our high schools should ensure all students complete at least Algebra II as well as higher level courses in English, science, and social studies, among others, to maximize all students’ chances for a good job. – Jim Hull
Last semester we had the pleasure of having David Ferrier, a doctoral student studying applied developmental psychology at George Mason University, as one of our policy research interns.
We enjoyed many cerebral discussions with David, who spent his time detailing what research says about executive functioning and its connection to critical thinking, specifically, and academic achievement, generally, in an upcoming research brief.
You can get a preview of what David means by executive functioning and why it’s so important in the latest issue of American School Board Journal. Read it here and then visit our Facebook page where we’ve shared a video of a University of Michigan researcher discussing what she discovered in her review of school-based interventions that target executive functioning.
CPE has worked with the Data Quality Campaign a number of times to shed light on how and why student data is collected and used.
They’ve answered many of the most common questions in this handy infographic, which you can click to enlarge.
Last fall, we introduced the first installment of a series that examined the characteristics and outcomes of high school graduates who don’t go on to college.
We called it The Path Least Taken because, much to our surprise, the percentage of students who had not advanced to college by the time they turned 26 was remarkably small.
But more than just identifying which students had and hadn’t gone on to college, we wanted to know which of those non-college going students found “success” in spite of taking the road less traveled. And further, how high school had prepared them to achieve similar if not better outcomes than their college-going peers.
Jim Hull, CPE’s senior policy analyst, sifted through A LOT of data from NCES’ Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 to answer these questions and more. Read what he discovered in our second installment of The Path Least Taken.
The Center for Public Education seeks a policy research intern to work closely with CPE’s senior policy analyst in conducting education policy research. CPE is a national resource for accurate, timely, and credible information about public education and its importance to the well-being of our nation. CPE provides up-to-date research, data, and analysis on current education issues and explores ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for public schools.
Primary duties include: Produce a report to be published by the Center as well provide research assistance to the Center’s staff, summarize findings of significant education reports on the Center’s blog, update the Center’s previous reports, and attend briefings/conferences in the Washington, DC area. Previous interns have produced reports on such topics as credit recovery programs, effective professional development and preparing high school graduates to succeed in college.
Job qualifications: A graduate or undergraduate student studying education policy, public policy, statistics, economics, or a related field. The student should also have a strong interest in education policy and research.
The internship begins in September and concludes in December and requires a minimum of 10 to 15 hours a week. The internship is unpaid. However, the Center will work with your school to satisfy any requirements for you to receive course credit.
Send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Policy Research Intern. Please contact Jim Hull at 703-838-6758 or email@example.com with any questions about the internship.