New study: Fewer high school students in Georgia scoring at advanced levels in math

math (Medium)A new report finds high school achievement lagging in many states, including Georgia.

While state test scores have increased in high schools, as they have done in elementary and middle schools, the Center on Education Policy found that high school students show less progress than students at the other two levels. Gaps between groups of high school students have widened at the advanced achievement level in many states, including Georgia, one of a dozen states with a drop in students scoring at the advanced level in math.

(Before we put all the blame on the new math approach in Georgia high schools, please note that the period studied was 2004 to 2009.  Georgia introduced its controversial integrated math –  math taught using a multidisciplinary approach that draws on concepts taught in algebra, geometry and statistics simultaneously to solve problems — in high schools in 2008-2009 with that year’s entering freshman class. Those students also were exposed to integrated math as sixth graders in the 2005-2006 school year.)

The report states: Georgia is one of 12 states with declines in the percentage of high school students scoring at the advanced level on state math tests. (Georgia introduced a new high school English language arts test in 2008, so trends in this subject are not available.) The percentage of white and African American students scoring at the advanced level in high school math decreased from 2004 to 2009, while the percentage of Latino students scoring advanced increased. The gap between African American and white students widened at the advanced level in high school math, while the gap between Latino and white students narrowed. (You can download the Georgia info and chart from the main page of the Center.)

According to the official release:

While high school scores on state English language arts and math tests have risen since 2002 in most states, new data show smaller proportions of states making gains in high school compared with 4th and 8th grades. The data, published in the Center on Education Policy’s new report, also show a striking lack of progress and widening gaps at the advanced level in many states.

CEP’s report, State Test Score Trends Through 2008-09, Part 5: Progress Lags in High School, Especially for Advanced Achievers, is based on state test results from 40 states and the District of Columbia. States were included if they had at least three consecutive years of test data through school year 2008-09 for the high school grade assessed for the No Child Left Behind Act, generally grade 10 or 11.

High school students in more than three-fourths of the states analyzed made gains in average test scores and percentages of students scoring proficient, the study found. But compared with grades 4 and 8, a smaller share of states made gains and a larger share showed declines. In addition, high school gains tended to be smaller than gains in grades 4 and 8.

“These trends show that progress in raising achievement is lagging in high school, so these students may not be adequately prepared for life after graduation,” said Jennifer McMurrer, CEP research associate and co-author of the study. “The data can’t tell us why, but we can speculate about contributing factors, such as institutions and instruction that aren’t meeting the needs of high school students, low student motivation, and fewer resources for remediation at high school compared with the earlier grades.”

The study also reveals a lack of progress among high school students at the advanced achievement level. Although the percentage of high school students reaching the advanced level has increased since 2002 in a majority of the states analyzed, one-third or more of these states showed declines at the advanced level for high school students. Declines at this level were more prevalent at high school than at grades 4 and 8.

Progress has also lagged at the advanced level for major groups of high school students, including racial/ethnic minority students, low-income students, and boys and girls. In a large majority of the states analyzed, all of these groups made gains in both average test scores and percentages scoring proficient. But fewer states posted gains for subgroups at the advanced performance level. In English language arts, the percentage of students reaching the advanced level declined in one-third to one-half of the states analyzed for all groups except Asian Americans.

“We’re not sure what’s behind these troubling declines at the advanced level,” said Nancy Kober, CEP consultant and co-author of the study. “Clearly, some students aren’t taking challenging courses like algebra and geometry early enough. High achievers may also be getting less attention amid the intense focus on bringing students to proficiency. It’s also possible that they are more motivated to score well on the SAT or AP tests, which have more impact on their future, than on state tests.”

Moreover, achievement gaps have often widened at the advanced level in high school, in contrast to a broad trend of narrowing gaps for high school students at the proficient level and in average test scores. Gaps in the percentage of high school students reaching the advanced level widened more often than they narrowed, especially in math. The African American-white gap in advanced high school achievement widened in two-thirds of the states analyzed, and the Latino-white gap widened in three-fifths of these states.

“These trends show a need to rethink high school education,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO. “The adoption by 44 states of common academic standards for high schools affords us the opportunity to do that.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

103 comments Add your comment

smoopy

October 5th, 2011
1:33 pm

bring back the abacus.

The Truth

October 5th, 2011
1:45 pm

No one demands accountability anymore…..the motto is we just need more money for schools……the world is catching up kido’s. Get educated or you will be someone’s slave.

Don't Tread

October 5th, 2011
1:57 pm

Like most other things, it’s an end result of how the kid was raised. Teachers can’t change that.

Attentive Parent

October 5th, 2011
2:02 pm

Maureen-

The constructivist approach to math and the Frameworks for Math and Science go back to the GIMS, Georgia Initiative in Math and Science, systemic initiative in the mid-1990s. The integrated math sham was simply an attempt to rein in the high performing high schools who were still teaching high level math the old fashioned way. Many Georgia systems have been pushing those Frameworks and learning from tasks for more than 15 years.

The Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics was set up in 2002. Also to push the math and science are mere social constructions approach. Such nonsense may have been incredibly lucrative to the University System but it has had tragic effects on Georgia’s top students, especially in math and science where sequential knowledge matters.

As long as the University System thinks it is valid to bring in revenue by selling off what its colleges of education will be foisting on teachers to be we will have lousy education in Georgia. At the time that CPTM grant was advertised as being the largest outside grant ever to UGA. Selling off what Georgia students would be allowed to know or do.

Georgia’s schoolchildren are not an asset to be sold off by bureaucrats or politicians.

Jerry Eads

October 5th, 2011
2:02 pm

First things first, we have absolutely no clue what “advanced” means. The “pass” level is (was, before the disastrous math standards (not to be confused with curriculum) change) on the order of the 10th to perhaps 20th percentile nationally. We could roughly estimate the relative national performance level of the “advanced” point by going back to the first year of a test’s administration. The percent “advanced” would roughly correspond to what might be a national percentile. (If 50% “passed at the advanced level then it would roughly correspond to the 50th percentile nationally – except that Georgia has historically had lower averages than most other states).

I’ll continue to hypothesize that the reason for any indications of lowered performance may be the draconian federal NCLB rules that demanded schools to focus on the lower “pass” point – no one – students, teachers, administrators, parents – gets rewarded for performance above that lower pass point – only to get as many kids TO that pass point as possible, to the exclusion of all else. How on earth would we expect anything else from the insistence on “standards” that are in reality nothing more than an arbitrariliy chosen low bar?

We can never expect better overall student performance as long as we’re addicted to the false god of “standards,” which only ask students to perform at some minimal level, never to do the best they can.

snarky

October 5th, 2011
2:06 pm

Just in case you were wondering, the answer to the problem in the image is 6.25.

AlreadySheared

October 5th, 2011
2:08 pm

Scott

October 5th, 2011
2:11 pm

My years of high school math teaching experience lead to the following theory. Although 8th grade scores aren’t so bad, we allow *all* students to go to 9th grade. Then everything gets dumbed down in an attempt to coddle these few underskilled students so they will eventually graduate. Also, the administration may pressure teachers to have low standards so kids don’t fail too many classes. So the advanced kids coast through high school and aren’t challenged to any significant degree, failing to show any great learning gains at *most* schools. Your mileage may vary… but this has become the norm.

This is all made worse by the fact that all the pressure is applied to the teachers, not the students, so they don’t care about the results or learning the most they can learn. If we would grade students hard starting in 9th grade, they would realize what is expected of them and have to work harder to earn that HOPE scholarship as a senior.

Alas, when one high school took a firm approach with the students when the GPS rolled into high school, they were chided for low passing rates and the area superintendent made sure that ten math teachers (conveniently) were not offered a contract for the next year due to a RIF. Too bad politics are more important to some figureheads than helping kids meet a standard of learning.

Ole Guy

October 5th, 2011
2:30 pm

Same song, tenth verse…math was never an easy subject to grasp, much less master. HOWEVER, the major obstacle to the current generations’ learning their “gazintas and timses” lies, not so much in the manner in which the material is taught, but in that infamous stranglehold which the pc gods have been allowed to impose. We…parents and educators…are no longer permitted to “build motivational fires” under the six of those who cannot/will not get with the program. I don’t want to hear the sad tired refrain that “math is not for everyone. EVERYONE, regardless of future occupational goals, needs math…yes, even (so-called) advanced math, not necessarily for the actual subject matter, but for the mental discipline required in the study of anything beyond “how to do doo doo without falling in the pool”. Future butchers, bakers and candlestick makers will benefit, just as technicians, engineers and the movers and shakers will.

Then again, we seem to have been “socially infected” with the propensity to celebrate mediocrity; to garner accolades upon those whose achievements are confined to the psuedo accomplishments which are borne of the politically correct ends of self esteem. Rather than truly challenge kids to heights once deemed beyond capability, we…the educational systems…have invented artificial goals, easily within reach of the “less than motivated”, simply to facilitate that cruelest hoax upon the younger generation…SELF ESTEEM.

Push these damn kids to limits beyond their immediate grasp…motivate them with ALL means possible (to include the traditional “building of motivational fires” under the sives of those who have little -to-no self-confidence). Let’s stop crapping around and do the jobs which older generations…to include the rather expensive educational community…have always done.

snarky

October 5th, 2011
2:31 pm

Already Sheared, that’s because you were reading Douglas Adams instead of doing your math.

Of course that’s the fault of your teacher, who didn’t make the lesson “engaging” enough.

Lori

October 5th, 2011
2:34 pm

No, no, no, @AlreadySheared…42 isn’t the answer to the above image, it’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything!

Traditional Math Fan

October 5th, 2011
2:35 pm

My prediction: it’s only going to get worse. If you could see the crap that passes for math in my daughter’s 4th grade class, you would be alarmed. To make matters worse, many the kids in her class don’t even know their multiplication facts, let alone, how to add, subtract, or divide. I know this because I go in to try and help. So I ask… just how in the H#LL is the teacher supposed to cover order of operations and fractions if they haven’t mastered these other skills?

This is a recipe for disaster. These kids are 4.5 years away from HS. Whoever developed this muddied curriculum, with it’s over-reliance on cutsie manipulatives should be taken to court. And parents that think their children are “okay” because they are in a good school system… you best think again. Our good school system and highly ranked ES is following the current curriculum. You’re kids are screwed unless you teach them math facts and proven methods at home.

thomas

October 5th, 2011
2:42 pm

@ Traditional,

Well, you don’t have to worry. Mr. Superintendent decided to let the district pick how they organize HS courses so that they can go back to the same system that the students in this study were exposed to. Wait, does that make sense???

SPARKY

October 5th, 2011
2:42 pm

“Kids are coddled these days” – Response to every Maureen article ever.

Math made simple

October 5th, 2011
2:45 pm

It’s like this. When students don’t apply themselves, yet we continue to tie the teacher’s hands when it comes to holding the students accountable, eventually they can’t pass the test, even when desperation sets in and they finally start trying.

It’s a simple equation really: Won’t do + Can’t do = Doo Doo

And that’s why the scores stink.

Jokester

October 5th, 2011
2:48 pm

Once a kid gets behind in math, it eventually snowballs into an avalanche. Every time.

Car Salesman

October 5th, 2011
2:51 pm

All anybody needs to know is how much money down and how much a month.

MiltonMan

October 5th, 2011
3:07 pm

It does not help that most high school math teachers in advanced classes are not even math majors.

thomas

October 5th, 2011
3:09 pm

@ Milton,

Where are your evidences? I think you are completely wrong.

catlady

October 5th, 2011
3:16 pm

Well, you’ve got fourth and fifth graders adding 4+5 (incorrectly) on their fingers. No surprise you can’t teach any higher order math when they are not required to master the basics.

TeacherReader

October 5th, 2011
3:16 pm

Math scores lag, because of the way that the government wants math taught to our children. It’s confusing and does not always make the most sense. I remember having to teach myself the ways that I was supposed to teach my kids how to add and subtract, and couldn’t understand what was wrong with the way that I learned. Look at how most countries spend much more time on getting students to have a number sense to understand numbers before teaching things like adding subtracting, and algebraic principals. The way that other countries teach math is much more logical, requires students to genuinely have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, and does not put the cart before the horse. In a typical first grade classroom in many other countries, the entire year is focused on developing a number sense. In an American School, we teach number sense, addition, algebraic principals, word problems, and throw in subtraction as well. Our program goes for breath, while a typical math program in many other countries goes for depth.

@ Jerry You are dead on the money about the false G-d of standards. They are have helped to bring the level of education down and not up-which is exactly what they were designed to do.

tony

October 5th, 2011
3:21 pm

i heard former fed chief greenspan say the biggest problem facing the unites states is not the economy , ” it is the fact that america is replacing a highly intelligent qualified workforce of baby boomers who are retiring with a less intelligent ,unqaualified workforce uncapable of competing with rest of the world and unable to sustain economic growth

thomas

October 5th, 2011
3:30 pm

@ TeacherReader,

Can you give us some specific examples of the way “other countries teach math” in a more logical way? What do you mean by “the entire year is focused on developing a number sense”? What do you mean by “number sense”?

Math made simple

October 5th, 2011
3:31 pm

Well what do you expect when teachers were told they should respond to a child who says 2 X 7 = 9 with, “Good answer. Does anyone else have an answer”?

We reap what we sow.

Solution!....APS style

October 5th, 2011
3:33 pm

Bring back Fat Bev and Cat Man Augustine to run the State Department of Ed. and Georgia will be in preeminent…..No More Gap….All Students wil be Proficient at a minimum….within a Year’s time!

Heck, they’ll even label the rapid success, “the Georgia Miracle!”

BAB

October 5th, 2011
3:37 pm

What is lattice multiplication and what is the point of it? My daughter had to do her multiplication by using the lattice method and it is just plain dumb. The old traditional way needs to be taught because the lattice method will not work for large numbers or when students are taking a timed test.

demographics

October 5th, 2011
3:52 pm

The population shift we are seeing is a factor.

You can’t import millions of poor Latinos and expect your public school test scores not to sink.

John

October 5th, 2011
3:55 pm

Can’t be the fault of the teacher’s union. No way! Because, their top priority is the children, right?

A reader

October 5th, 2011
3:59 pm

I believe the problem is the same as all subject in the post NCLB era: teachers are forced to teach breadth rather than depth. Teachers are forced to spend only a day or two on any given concept and then move onto the next concept. It takes more than a day or two to master many of the concepts in higher mathematics. Students need time to think and work problems over and over again so they can “wrap their heads around” complex concepts. Therefore, they never fully understand the concept and never build that base of knowledge required to conquer the more advanced concepts.

Jerry Eads

October 5th, 2011
4:11 pm

@Thomas, if you ask @milton for evidence, you need to bring some yourself! As we know, I don’t have the numbers in front of me any more, but it’s possible most certified high school mathematics teachers are mathematics education majors, rather than “pure” mathematics majors. While some might argue that such degrees are pablum, it seems to be the case that TEACHING math is an altogether different issue from DOING math. It is POSSIBLE for someone in high school to teach math without a math degree – the rules are on the books for anyone to be certified who can pass the state teacher certification test (I think that’s how it works). I’m not aware of any research to suggest whether outcomes are different among students of math major teachers, math ed major teachers, and pass the test teachers.

Scott

October 5th, 2011
4:13 pm

@Milton Man,

It is not the lack of math majors in advanced classes that alarms me (although you get a share of those, smart schools put math majors into the more advanced offerings). It is the lack of math competency in the K-8 teachers. A weak foundation eventually crumbles. Maybe it just takes the more ambitious standards of high school to reveal students’ lack of readiness. But it all seems to fall apart starting in 9th grade.

(I think it really starts falling apart around 6th grade, but middle school principals typically prevent teachers from holding back students, no matter how much they lack in basic skills. What surprises me is that according to the report, the 8th grade scores don’t seem to be that bad overall.)

Beverly Fraud

October 5th, 2011
4:13 pm

If we would just rigorously rigorize the rigor, with an emphasis on rigorous rigoressness, we would be world class.

We need rigor consultants.

Attentive Parent

October 5th, 2011
4:22 pm

Jerry-

You know good and well these math education and science education degrees, especially if they are masters and doctorates, are not about how to best teach the academic disciplines of math and science. That is a red herring to cover up all the traditional math is racist or sexist nonsense that these degree recipients have agreed to push.

Social interactions through group math tasks. It’s a big part of what APS was and is covering up. Hula hoop math has really poor results on the CRCT.

oldtimer

October 5th, 2011
4:30 pm

Math scores will improve when memory work in grades 1-4 improves.

Zachsmom

October 5th, 2011
5:37 pm

The biggest problem with my student is that they teach WAY TO FAST. He get it eventually but he really needs 2-3 class periods to get a concept that they want you to learn it 30 minutes. As a non math person. I can completely understand that. He would be much more advanced in math if he could have learned it that way in the beginning.

Jhaquatta

October 5th, 2011
5:39 pm

The graphic @ the top of the blog reminds me of my monthly cell phone bill. And makes about as much sense.

research

October 5th, 2011
6:36 pm

@ Jerry,

I will let thomas answer the question/issue you raise, but I’m just tossing in my $.02.

I think research seems to suggest that content knowledge is clearly important, there is a point of diminished return in terms of the number of advanced level mathematics courses. There was a study by an economist who looked at teachers’ college math courses and their students’ performances on some tests – not sure exactly what. And, according to my increasingly unreliable memory, it was only about 4 or so courses before the effect of additional course becomes almost insignificant – certainly not a “pure math major.” Furthermore, the same study does suggest that “mathematics education” courses also contributes to students’ success, sometimes more than (additional?) mathematics courses.

When you compare the course list of “pure math” majors and “mathematics education” major, the difference is often 2-3 courses. Mathematics education majors may not have topology, advance real analysis, complex analysis, etc., but they sometimes have to take math courses math majors typically don’t – like non-Euclidean geometry course.

Finally, my own experiences in college suggest that advanced degrees don’t necessarily mean any better teachers. I have had some of the worst teaching in my entire student career in colleges from PhD holding mathematicians.

Mike Honcho

October 5th, 2011
7:36 pm

@ research – Great post. I totally agree. There was a big difference between the courses a secondary math education major had to complete compared to a middle grades major. I teach an accelerated math course in high school. The new concepts I teach tend to go well. However, when it comes to solving equations or working with fractions we have big problems.

I think the people who wrote the current curriculum didn’t look into brain study. If I recall correctly, it was understood that the majority of students cannot understand the abstract work of higher mathematics at the younger ages.

mystery poster

October 5th, 2011
7:48 pm

@John
It can’t be the fault of the teachers’ union. THERE IS NONE IN GEORGIA!

mystery poster

October 5th, 2011
7:56 pm

I was a math education major (as opposed to a pure math major).
I took 48 semester hours of math as a requirement of my bachelors degree, that’s 16 college level math courses. I did not take topology, but I did take advanced mathematical analysis and non-euclidean geometry.
I would argue that I am very qualified to teach ANY high-school level course.

Lee

October 5th, 2011
8:21 pm

Not surprising, really. Forty-something years ago, we were forced to write multiplication tables hundreds, if not thousands, of times apiece. The Phd types today abhor this type of rote exercise, but to this day, if someone asks me “What’s nine times seven?”, that image flashes in my head.

Another example, a few years back, I was helping one of my daughters with homework. As I found out, the teacher taught them some shortcut instead of working the problem out long-form. The teacher called it “magic”. I called it bulls@#t. Once I showed them the long way, then the “magic” made sense. This is the same daughter who announced to me in middle school that she didn’t know how to divide fractions.

Hey, if the straight-A, Gifted, Elementary School Salutatorian doesn’t “get it”, what does that say about the teaching methods? Not much, IMHO. They blow through the material without gaining mastery just so they can brag that students are taking Algebra in middle school.

That may be true, but they forgot how to multiply and divide.

ScienceTeacher671

October 5th, 2011
9:55 pm

They don’t know their math facts, and they can’t do much of anything without a calculator.

The child who barely passes the 8th grade CRCT can do math (at best) at a 5th grade level, and a lot of them don’t pass, but they get promoted anyway.

And we’re surprised at the results? Really?

Beck

October 5th, 2011
10:15 pm

Demographics – you’re disgusting.

Perhaps you’re unaware of the pyramids in Mexico and Central America which are sun dials and calendar and the architectural & engineering knowledge that goes into making earthquake-proof structures in Peru.

There is nothing wrong with the Latino ability to learn and to educate others.

HS Math Teacher

October 5th, 2011
10:30 pm

Focusing on the lower half of the pyramid for so long is now having it’s effects on the top. Mainstreaming, RTI, NCLB-AYP, One Size Fits All Curriculum, Overflowing Classes, Granola Math, Under-Funded / Under-Paid Teachers, Social Promotion in Lower Grades, Idiots Running Our Educational Ship Into The Rocks….. I could go on.

CB

October 6th, 2011
7:47 am

In reading these responses, every part of the equation has been blamed. IMO, it goes back to the parents and whether or not they value education. End of discussion.

true colors

October 6th, 2011
8:50 am

Interesting. MD spends a couple days slamming on the gifted, and then wonders why we don’t have more gifted students in math? Go back and read your own columns.

Maureen Downey

October 6th, 2011
8:57 am

@true colors, Not slamming on on high performing students or “gifted” programs, but whether the delivery model is the most effective for the largest number of students.
However, I would agree that I am not a big fan of early sorting — too many people I have interviewed over the years who were sorted into the “less than” category and ended up proving themselves to a lot more. I have interviewed many, many people whose school experience was deflating or discouraging and yet they led their fields or even created their fields.
Maureen

Anonmom

October 6th, 2011
9:09 am

To me, it’s all in the lack of basics being taught within the curriculum at the early grades. My 19 year old was required (by curriculum) to learn his multiplication tables in 3 grade (nifty chart on the wall with stickers) — this was last by the time his middle and younger siblings came through (fortunately the middle one learned it in Kindergarten while we were drilling the 3rd grader — that’s the 99th% kid who has always been a sponge — he could do double digit multiplication in Spanish in 1st grade (and we’re not latino)) — the middle one then was appalled that his little brother didn’t know his multiplication table in 1st grade, b/c he knew his in kindergarten and he taught his younger brother his multiplication facts so I wasn’t aware of the fact that they had “fallen off” the curriculum and my kids all learned them — thoroughly. One can not do high level math without rote knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication & division facts. I then sat in a meeting for the “roll out” of the “new” integrated curriculum with the HS math coordinator and she explained that they didn’t need to know their multiplication facts … only to understand that 4 groups of 5 were 20… that’s when I knew we were in trouble. (I also knew that there was a 70% fail rate on the mandatory algebra plan when my eldest hit 8th grade because they didn’t all know their multiplication facts… you can’t do higher math if you can’t multiply).

MD

October 6th, 2011
9:31 am

@Lee
>>the teacher taught them some shortcut instead of working the problem out long-form. The teacher >>called it “magic”. I called it bulls@#t. Once I showed them the long way, then the “magic” made >>sense.

Glad to learn that at one point in America, Math Teachers were actually competent.

My children’s math teachers usually teach “math tips” (or magic as your daughter’s teacher called it) instead of mathematical reasoning. My children are in an excellent and expensive private school. Everything except for math education at our school is good. The fact is today there are few competent K-12 math teachers who are U.S.-educated, even in private schools. This fact has baffled me greatly. How can the world’s most technologically advanced nation have such a mediocre pool of math teachers?

Here is a math problem from my daughter’s critical think math:
X4273Y is a 6-digit number divisible by 72. Find X and Y.

Here is the teacher’s 3-step solution:
Step 1 – X4273Y must be an even number because it’s divisible by 72, an even number. So Y can only be 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8.
Step 2 – Since X4273Y is a 6-digit number, X and Y must be a single digit number. X can be any single digit number except for 0 because we don’t start a whole number with a 0.
Step 3 – Try X with 1 though 9 and Y with 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8. Divide each instance by 72 and see if it’s divisible. There is a total of 45 combinations (permutation of 9 and 5).

Viola! When X = 5 and Y = 6, the number is divisible by 72. Problem solved.

Don’t be fooled. There is little math reasoning with this 3-step approach. With Step #3, students may possibly have to go through 45 combinations to find the answer. What if the combinations are in the thousands? This approach is barbaric, inefficient and unmathematical (i.e. a finite set of rules to account for an infinite set of numbers).

This is a very basic 5th grade math problem in some countries. Our daughter is learning it at 7th grade here in the U.S. Also, it requires the most basic math fact of 9 and multiples of 9 to solve this problem. I would challenge any K-12 math teacher to solve this problem with a sound mathematical reasoning. If no one can, we know why our students are short-changed in math education.

Mom of 3

October 6th, 2011
9:32 am

CB@ 7:47……You are correct. I have 3 children. My youngest, in 4th grade, must write his spelling words at night 5 times each. When his math worksheets come home, he must correct all problems that he missed. I can give more examples, but the point is this….I require that work, not the school. My 7th grader is learning to study independently. He studies on his own and then his dad or I quiz him to make sure he is studying effectively. We ask him every night what he is studying and spot check his homework. Due in part to what we have required at HOME, my junior in high school is a straight A student at a private school with no grade inflation. Parents must be involved, heavily in the early years, to ensure academic success. Oh, and another key component. My oldest 2 are not allowed to waste time on Facebook and have very limited TV during the week.