What Middle School Students Need to Succeed In Math: Preparing Struggling Learners for Algebra

By John Woodward, Ph.D., and Mary Stroh, M.S.

Dr. John Woodward, dean of the School of Education at Puget Sound, discusses the reasons why many students entering middle school experience a significant drop in math achievement—and what can be done to get them on track for algebra success. Factors of failure include the excessive quantity of material to be covered, the rate at which it is presented, inappropriate entry points ignoring critical gaps in understanding, and ineffective remedial interventions. This white paper explores proven, age-appropriate solutions, including covering fewer topics in greater depth, using a dual-topic approach, and increasing student motivation with real-world connections.

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