Math professionals propose end of course math exam requirements

Common final course exams for Geometry, Precalculus needed by 2020

North Charleston, SC – Math professionals at the district and college level, supported by the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, have been working to open pathways to college and careers in science, business, technology, engineering and other STEM-related disciplines.

This Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT) has been assessing the effectiveness of end of course examinations for high school math courses. Common end of course exams for Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are being administered or are soon to be administered across the state of South Carolina.

After careful study, this team has reached consensus on the following recommendations directed to leadership within the Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester District 4 school districts.

  1. High school math courses beyond Algebra I and Algebra 2 (e.g.Geometry and Precalculus) shouldinclude a final course exam that is common across each school district. These common final course exams should be created or obtained and used across each school district.
  2. Each end of course exam should be aligned exclusively to the set of priority standards that are set forth for that course.
  3. These common final exams should count for at least 15% of the student’s final grade for the course.

The state has imposed across all school districts a consistent final exam for Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 that is already planned for implementation. State-level end of course final exams have not been imposed for courses beyond Algebra 2 (e.g. Geometry and Precalculus).

The MPPT has concluded that most final exams are not common for high school math courses beyond Algebra 1, even within school districts. Therefore, the final exams administered to students for these courses may have little to no accountability for the content that should be assessed.

To ensure that all students are assessed on their proficiency with the standards applicable to each course, the MPPT strongly encourages that, by the 2020 school year, each respective school district create or obtain and use common final course exams for Geometry and Precalculus. These common exams should be tied exclusively to the state adopted South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics.

Furthermore, the MPPT has concluded that end of course exams are not weighted consistently for the final course grade for students. To assure that students enrolled in the same course are assessed equitably and consistently for the student’s final grade for a course, common final exams should account for at least 15% of the final grade for each course. MPPT also recommends that these final course exam results should not be used to measure teacher effectiveness.

About the Math Pathways Project Team

The Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT) was initiated in October of 2015 by Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s Postsecondary Education Consortium and High School Graduation Network to open pathways to STEM-related college and career options. MPPT is comprised of representation from the region’s four school districts (Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester District 4) and colleges and universities across the state (Charleston Southern University, Clemson University, The Citadel, College of Charleston, University of South Carolina and Trident Technical College). Since that date, the team has been engaged in the review and evaluation of the region’s school district math curriculum, the colleges’ and universities’ entry requirements and the readiness of high school students to enter post-secondary education and/or to enter into the workforce.

About the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) is a community-wide movement in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, South Carolina, focused on improving the quality of life of its citizens and its workforce through education. Using data and focused community collaboration across a continuum from “cradle-to-career,” TCCC serves as a catalyst for widespread, systemic change, with the ultimate goal of increased success and economic prosperity for all.

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