From the Washington Post, excerpt:
"When Eric J. Smith became superintendent of Anne Arundel schools in 2002, students were allowed to take high school math in middle school only if they scored in the 90th percentile or better on a math aptitude test.
Smith relaxed entry rules so that three times as many students -- those scoring in the 70th, 80th or 90th percentiles, as well as some in the 60th percentile -- could take Algebra I in middle school. Less than 5 percent of students who took the state algebra test this spring failed."
Bravo for Smith! It seems like a paradox, but many children do need more challenge to perform better. Also, education proceeds best when students are challenged at their conceptual level, though they may fail to crack the 90% barrier (e.g. careless mistakes).
The strong performance of these kids also seems to fit with the finding that adolescent brains seem better suited to doing algebra than adults(here).
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