A Comparative Study of Students' Scores in Eighth-Grade Algebra 1 for Students Who Participated in a Seventh-Grade Rigorous Preparation Program and Those Who Did Not Participate at a Selected Junior High School in Tennessee
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The purpose of this study was to compare students who participated in a rigorous seventh-grade Algebra 1 preparation program to those who did not participate at a selected junior high school in Tennessee. This comparison included several measures of achievement including semester 1 eighth-grade Algebra 1 grades, Algebra 1 benchmark scores, and Algebra 1 benchmark subscores (quantities, expressions and equations, linear functions, modeling linear functions, and quadratic and polynomial functions). The sample consisted of one eighth-grade Algebra 1 class where ten students completed sets of rigorous challenge questions accompanied by teacher feedback during their seventh-grade math class while the other eleven did not. All students in the sample participated in eighth-grade Algebra 1 during the fall semester. Data were collected at the end of the semester in the form of students’ semester 1 Algebra 1 grades and scores from two Algebra 1 benchmarks. Data were then analyzed using independent t-tests. The results indicated that there was no significant difference in students’ semester 1 grades, benchmark scores, and benchmark subscores between those who participated in the rigorous preparation program and those who did not. The results suggest that the rigorous preparation program may require adjustments in the instructional setting, format, and teacher feedback for it to have a more significant impact on students in eighth-grade Algebra 1.