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New Math Class Will Help Students Get into JJC, Trade Schools: Valley View

The class would spend one semester on entrance exams preparation and another on college-level math.

Valley View School District 365U looks to add a new senior math elective that will prepare students for college and trade school entrance exams. 

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Bolingbrook and Romeoville High School students are unprepared for the COMPASS placement test, officials said at Wednesday's school board meeting. Students must receive a certain score on the COMPASS placement exam to be admitted to Joliet Junior College and some trade schools. 

Students can't use a calculator on the COMPASS test, which requires students to multiple and divide decimals, add and subtract fractions and other "procedural" math. 

That's a problem for some students, as they are "not introduced to the concept of being able to not use tools and resources," one Valley View official said. 

Students can use a calculator on the Prairie State Achievement test and other standardized testing Valley View students undergo. These exams emphasize more strategic thinking rather than the ability to crunch numbers, officials said.

"We recognize that they need to be prepared for both," said Rachel Kinder, assistant superintendent for Valley View. "Our goal is preparing our students to think and reason and be able to construct an argument and defend their argument and really use math." 

School Board Member Rich Gougis said that more Valley View students go on to Joliet Junior College than any other college or university. 

"(The COMPASS test) is not that rigorous," Gougis said. "If we can't successfully get them over that hurdle to go to that college, then that's a problem." 

The new math class would spend one semester on preparation for college entrance exams and a second semester on college-level math topics. 

Under Valley View's new high school math curriculum, most students will take Advanced Algebra by their junior year and will then be attend to take a math elective their senior year. 

You can read the full proposal for the new math course here. 

Sarah Caldwell April 23, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Doing well on a placement test without actually being able to do well in the activity for which you are being placed is like memorizing the eye chart from what the person before you says. You get the credential, but the problems aren't fixed.
Hmmm April 24, 2013 at 01:20 AM
They are creating a course that is designed to "teach to the test?" There are no words.
Dr. C April 24, 2013 at 02:03 PM
This is truly horrifying. All recent research has pointed to the lack of validity of the COMPASS (and the College Board's Accuplacer). In Illinois, they are particularly useless, since we already have the universal ACT testing. The district needs to talk with Joliet Junior College on their misguided placement process, not on how to waste instructional time teaching to a largely invalid test. For a very recent EdWeek article on the topic, go to: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/20/21remediation_ep.h32.html

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