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Abstract/ Summary

The goal of this study was to examine the pathways to being college ready in mathematics. Students who enter high school already having demonstrated mathematics proficiency on a standardized test in the 8th grade have already taken a significant step towards being college ready. The best scenario is to enter high school proficient in mathematics and having already completed Algebra I, then to complete at least Algebra II and Calculus before graduating from high school. Students completing this pathway are virtually guaranteed to be college ready in mathematics. There also is an alternative path to being college ready. Being proficient entering high school, and then completing a course sequence that includes at least Algebra I, Algebra II, and pre-Calculus significantly increased students' chances of being college ready in mathematics. Thus, it appears 8th grade proficiency is key to becoming college ready in mathematics. It affords opportunities for students to complete Algebra I before entering high school and then take higher level mathematics courses in high school. Alternatively, even if students wait to take Algebra I in high school, if they are proficient and complete at least pre-Calculus, they have a high likelihood of being college ready. The key is 8th grade mathematics proficiency. It opens the gate to a successful high school and college experience in mathematics. The typical sequence of courses completed by most high school students is Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. The Common Core State Standards Initiative (2012) has endorsed this three course sequence as preparing students for college. However, the evidence from this study does not support this endorsement. Completing Geometry does not substantially ensure college readiness, nor does completing Algebra II ensure college readiness. Students also need to successfully complete either a pre-Calculus or Calculus course in high school to be college ready.


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