Tag Archives: Math Department Chairwoman Penny Downing

GRB math department seeks to add new ‘statistics’ course

by Nicole Reitz

The G. Ray Bodley High School Math Department is looking at proposed changes that would affect fourth-year math students.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Fulton Board of Education, Math Department Chairwoman Penny Downing and Principal Donna Parkhurst addressed the proposed changes.

“We are looking at the resources and staff that we have and at courses that students take throughout their four years, and how we can best meet their needs and serve our students so that their college and career ready,” said Parkhurst.

The department would like to introduce “Statistics,” a local course that would begin next school year. Statistics would become an option for high-performing math students who have already taken three years of Regents math.

It would be a second fourth-year option to pre-calculus. Downing said that some accelerated students take Advanced Placement Calculus as a fifth unit.

“We’re hoping that we have some kids who may not take that fourth year of math decide to stick with math and take statistics,” said Downing. “We’re also hoping that it will keep some accelerated students that we loose.”

Math teachers want to reduce the loss of students in the math sequence from year to year.

At the junior high, there are, on average, 50 accelerated math students in seventh grade. There are two class sections for accelerated math in eighth grade, but enrollment numbers dwindle.

By senior year, there are typically only 15 to 20 students who are potential AP calculus students.

Three years of Regents math is required for graduation. Downing is finding that many accelerated math students opt out of taking math in their senior years. Instead, they take elective courses.

The problem with that, she said, is that math is also required in college. Taking a year-long break from mathematics could mean that students would perform poorly on their college placement tests and subsequently end up in remedial math courses.

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