SPASD Taking Away Extended Math

Belle Xiong-Schnitzler

The schedules of a regular Algebra class and an extended Geometry class. Notice how fast an extended class takes two days to teach a lesson while a regular algebra class takes one day to teach a lesson.

There is an underlying problem that most students might be oblivious to. SPASD taking away extended math classes. Extended classes, if you aren’t sure what that is, are classes that are taught twice the time of a regular class. Even though there are a lot of students that are in regular math classes and passing, there are still a large number of students that aren’t that good at certain parts of math and need longer to learn.

How Students and Teachers Feel About the Removal or Extended Math

When asked how she felt about the removal of extended classes Mrs Bowling, a SPASH math teacher said, “I support the decision to remove extended classes. Academic research has shown that multi ability grouping in the mathematics classroom is the best for all students.” Along with this she also provided research as to how this is proven (“Opening Our Ideas”: How a detracked mathematics approach promoted respect, responsibility, and high achievement. Jo Boaler, Stanford University In Theory into Practice, Winter 2006, Vol. 45, No. 1). When asked if she had a personal choice of keeping extended math her response was, “I support the removal of the extended classes. Academic research shows that mixed ability math classrooms have the greatest impact on student achievement for all students.” After this question she was asked if AIM would be taken away as well, she explained how AIM is not being taken away but extended to geometry as well.

Kylie Wiza, a SPASH geometry student on the other hand said, “I think it’s unfair those classes were put there for a reason. My sister is in an extended class and i just don’t think its fair that after every school year when we come back and teachers try to teach us and tell us that we should know the things that they are teaching us, and the e-learning that happened just made kids fall behind even more and made the GPA for math worse.” After answering this question she was asked the same question as Mrs. Bowling and she stated that the school district is thinking from an adult point of view and not a students.

Lastly was Brixton Evans, a SPASH extended geometry student who commented, “I do not like that district is taking extended classes away at all. Since they are taking the classes away there should at least be an alternative for the future students. I struggle with math and I know I’m not alone so future students should have the same help and opportunities I got.” Brixton is just one of hundreds of students in the SPASD, he might have a better understanding than a lot of students, even with help there are some students that struggle at math. 

How Extended Classes have Helped Students

Kylie Wiza, a SPASH geometry student, was asked how extended classes helped her or someone she knows. Her response was, “My sister is in extended algebra and the class has allowed my sister to get the help that she needs in math and understand the curriculum and get a deeper understanding of the subject.” Even though she isn’t in an extended math class she still noticed how it has helped her sister thrive. 

Mrs. Bowling, SPASH math teacher answered with, “The extended classes have allowed students to learn the content from the core classes, but twice the time.” Sure it might take longer to learn the topic but it really is about helping students get the needed knowledge and credit to graduate. 

Brixton has a bit more of a deeper understanding as to how this has and will impact students’ first hand experience of being one of the students this change will affect. “The classes have affected me in a positive way, I failed my first semester of math my sophomore year and the extended math classes helped me get back on track.” During Brixton’s sophomore year the extended classes were taken away due to COVID and e-learning. With them being taken away the average test scores for math went down. This is most likely due to most students e-learning and not being motivated to do any of their homework, having to quarantine due to close contact or from actually getting COVID or just because some student can’t learn at as fast of a pace as the majority can.