Eighth grade math curriculum changes



Abbie Starr, Reporter

The math curriculum next school year will change to better prepare students for the PSSA and Keystone tests they face.

The honors curriculum and other courses will be affected.

“Our current seventh grade students will need to meet certain criteria  to be placed into the honors curriculum and specifically Algebra 1,” principal Lori Mangan said.

Because of the changes that have been currently made with the mathematics curriculum and changes that have been made with the state and testing, Mangan said teachers are seeing concerns with a large portion of the students being able to successfully take the Algebra 1 Keystone as well as the PSSA Math 8 Exam.

“The tests are two very different tests, and we can’t prepare the students to be successful on both of the exams. So in order for next year, students will be looking at their MAPs assessment, and they will have to meet a minimum criteria on that. They have to have a minimum criteria on their overall GPA. We also will be looking at their PSSA scores and having to be proficient on those from this year before they would be moved into the honors curriculum and Algebra 1 for next year,” Mangan said.

The ones who are going to be most affected will be generally the population of the academic students.

“It is really not going to affect the honors students that much, because those students that were in the honors curriculum this year were taking Algebra 1, and the majority of students that are going to be in the honors curriculum next year would be that same group of students,” Mangan said.

Next year, the academic students will be taking the PA Core Math 8 class as opposed to an academic Algebra 1.

“This way they will have a stronger foundation of the concepts as it relates to the PA Core, and they will only be preparing then in ninth grade for one test which is the Keystone. They will get a full year of Algebra 1. Their teacher will not be trying to teach them both the PA Core Standards as well as the Keystone Standards,” Mangan said.

Along with this change, there has currently been another math curriculum change that went into effect this year.

“I think the changes of the curriculum have been positive. I think the kids have been better prepared for testing this year in terms of higher and higher order questions,” eighth grade math teacher Melissa Krott said.

Krott said this curriculum has also helped the students in using higher vocabulary, and they have been tackling the questions a little more in depth which makes them ready to go for testing.

“It has been an adjustment how I have to teach because I have to get the kids to think at a little higher level. It is forcing the kids to read the questions a little more and go a little more in depth. It makes them make sure they are answering all parts of the question,” Krott said.

Both of these curriculums are working to better the students mathematics testing scores.