An 82 percent failure rate on high school algebra exams?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What does it say about our public school system when 82 percent of the high school students in a suburban county fail their Algebra 1 final exams? It implies quite strongly that our public schools are not doing a good job preparing America’s students in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The high failure rate on the exams happened in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is considered a well-off suburb of Washington, D.C., with high taxes that residents pay, at least in part, to fund the schools. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools contains 28 high schools. The district contains 11 schools that received gold, silver or bronze medals in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings.”

What was the primary response of school administrators to the poor performance in math among Montgomery County high school students? School administrators decided the solution was to reward every student with 15 additional points on their exam.

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