7th Grade Math

Written by Tara Peris
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Educators assigned to teach 7th grade math face a special set of challenges related not only to the material itself, but to its importance in future academic performance. Courses during the middle school years are critical for assigning children to subsequent ability groupings. Moreover, early learning experiences during middle school are likely to shape how a child views math in the years to come. Given these factors, it is of paramount importance that educators help children to begin on the right foot.

For over a decade, debate has swirled over the use of tracking in our school systems. Tracking, or the grouping of children into different ability levels, means that students are placed on very different academic paths based on their early academic performance. As each class in a given sequence is structured so as to prepare students for the next, it is very difficult to break off of a "low" track and advance to more rigorous classes.

Tracking and 7th Grade Math

Typically, 7th grade math and English are used to assign children to different ability groups. Some children may stick with pre-algebra, whereas others will advance to algebra or algebra II. Critics of this system suggest that once assigned, children have a pre-determined ceiling on how much they can achieve.

Of course, proponents of this approach argue that, given the crowding in our schools, something must be done to facilitate teaching in an effective manner. Further, they suggest that it is frustrating and overwhelming for children to be exposed to material which they cannot yet handle. Whatever the case, tracking remains in place in many school districts, making it imperative that students perform well in 7th grade math and English courses.

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