The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

More 8th grade algebra does not lower college remediation

The Sacramento bee on May 22 published an analysis of why students who take algebra in 8th grade instead of 9th are not lowering college remediation and improving college success. California state policy promoted 8th grade algebra to prepare students to take the full math college prep sequence in high school. Many more students are taking 8th grade algebra, but remediation rates of 56 % for Cal State U and nearly 80% for community colleges have not been lowered.
The article speculates on why. Many students get a C in 8th grade algebra, some do not take math in their senior year, and the 1Oth California high school exit test is way below college standards. Moreover, the community college placement tests are not aligned with the high school mathematics test standards for the higher level 11th grade California standards test.
So 8th grade algebra is no silver bullet and needs to be supplemented with many other policies. California ended its algebra professional development for middle school teachers years ago, and this may be a significant cause.

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