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Rethinking High School: Supporting All Students to be College Ready in Math


In mathematics classes across the country, many students identify themselves as being in one of two camps: Those who can do math and those who can't. Such labels may be assumed by the students themselves or unconsciously assigned to them by the adults in their lives based on students' math achievement. Whatever its source, the can't label may be a costly one.

This Rethinking High School report profiles three high schools supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that have successfully implemented mathematics programs that prepare all students for college.

The program elements identified by research and explored in this report are:

  • Offering high-level math courses and supports

  • Continually improving teachers' skills and math content knowledge

  • Using student information to drive instruction

According to this report, access to and enrollment in challenging courses had a greater impact than any other factor, including income level and parents' level of education.