Wyandotte students beat Algebra II odds

WYANDOTTE, Mich. - Wyandotte Public Schools is attracting attention statewide for its 90 percent pass rate among algebra II students, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Though the graduating class of 2011 - today's sophomores - will be the first group required to take the course statewide, Wyandotte put the requirement in place early, the Free Press reported. It attributes its high pass rate to several factors, but primarily a decision to teach geometry to ninth graders, followed by consecutive years of algebra I and algebra II, giving the students more continuity, the article said.

The district also emphasizes teacher preparation and requires eighth graders to take an algebra course that does not count as high school credit, according to the Free Press.  However, so far the success has not transferred to the Michigan Merit Exam, which less than half of Wyandotte's students passed, the Free Press reported.

Some educators expect that a large number of students will fail algebra II once it becomes mandatory for high school graduation.

"Wyandotte deserves a huge round of applause. They got ahead of the curve," Jim Ballard, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, told the Free Press.

The Detroit Free Press, "Wyandotte kids beat odds, excel in math," Nov. 13, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "New high school graduation requirements in action," May 6, 2008