Doing the math


Mathematics are getting an overhaul within the citys middle schools, a shift designed to encourage more students to enter high school with basic algebra under their belts. 

The move comes after officials in Richmond raised the bar on their math Standards of Learning tests. By the next school year, fifth grade students will be tested on material previously expected of sixth graders, according to district officials. 

Staff proposed offering four skill-based class levels for sixth graders and three for seventh and eighth graders, including algebra one and geometry. Students prepared for more advanced levels of math will be encouraged to challenge themselves, said Gwen Holmes, the districts chief academic officer.

Lets say youre a rising sixth grader, but youre wanting to take advanced math concepts and you have the achievement to show you have the ability to take that. You would take it with a majority of seventh graders, Holmes told the board. We want to have kids where they need to be, not at the grade level classes by content.