Ready Classroom Mathematics.


Rethinking Middle School Math Acceleration

Cover of Rethinking Middle School Math Acceleration whitepaper.

For decades, school districts have been offering students opportunities to accelerate through middle school math. Prior to the implementation of rigorous college- and career-readiness standards in 2010—when middle school math was much more repetitive—acceleration practices like skipping grades made sense. However, now when each year of middle school math builds upon the previous year’s work, we must adjust the way we approach acceleration.

This paper examines the many ways acceleration practices have been detrimental to student learning. It also, through the example of Oregon’s Springfield Public Schools, shares how districts can take bold steps to enact changes that give students appropriate foundations for mathematical understanding and future success.

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About the Author

Danielle Curran has more than 30 years of experience working in mathematics education. As Curriculum Associates’ associate vice president of mathematics instruction and implementation, she is committed to supporting educators in using effective and equitable teaching practices that engage all students in meaningful discourse and deeper learning. Over the course of her career, Danielle has taught mathematics to students ranging from preschool to college age, and she has had opportunities to work with some of the top leaders in mathematics education in the United States and in Singapore. Danielle obtained her original teaching certificate and bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and is an avid Michigan football and basketball fan. She holds a dual master’s degree in mathematics and curriculum and instruction from Boston College. She is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences, including NCTM conferences.

About the Author

Elizabeth Peyser is a national director of content and implementation at Curriculum Associates. She specializes in training K–12 educators to interpret progressions in the mathematical standards. Prior to her current position, Liz was vice president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics, a K–12 math coordinator for Wichita Public Schools, and a trainer for the Kansas State Department of Education. During Kansas' transition to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards, Liz developed math clinics for teachers that became the statewide training program. She has been a frequent speaker at National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics conferences.