Success Story: Algebra Education with Computing
The C-STEM program has shown great promise in closing the math achievement gap for schools with a large percentage of underrepresented groups.
Hillcrest High School in Alvord Unified School District is a suburban school located in the southern region of Riverside, CA. The student population of 1,788 students is comprised of 65% Hispanic/Latino, 17% White, 7 % African American, 6% Asian, and 3% Filipino, with the remaining 2% unknown. Many of their students come from low income families and parents who have not completed a high school education. 63% of the students participate in a free or reduced-fee lunch program and 16% are English language learners.
Under the leadership of Principal Jennifer Radeka, the school in 2014-2015 completed their first full academic year of C-STEM integration. Ms. Radeka says, “As principal of Hillcrest High School, it was my great pleasure to have our teachers attended the three-day on-site workshop in January 2014 on C-STEM Common Core Mathematics with Computing and Robotics using the C/C++ interpreter Ch. That was an eye-opening experience for them. They have found that the programming environment is very easy to use and offers so many opportunities and potential to enhance our STEM curriculum. After the workshop, we decided to integrate computer programming in C/C++ into our Integrated Math track. In Fall 2014, Mr. Stephen Mason, a math teacher at Hillcrest, offered one class of C-STEM Integrated Math II with Computing and Robotics. Students performed extremely well and showed a very high level of motivation. In Fall 2015, we moved in full speed to integrate computer programming into our entire Integrated Math track, and offered seven classes of C-STEM Integrated Math curriculum.”
Mr. Mason is pleased with the C-STEM program. He says, “Prior to the C-STEM professional development I attended in January 2014, I had not programmed in C/C++ nor had I taught programming in any of my classes. Working with the C-STEM program has brought so many positive impacts on my teaching, my school, and my students’ learning on the STEM subjects. Students were excited each day we got to explore the programming and wanted to go deeper into the content with every lesson. Students regularly performed at a higher level on common formative assessments that were given throughout the site. 94% of students in C-STEM Integrated Math II were able to earn passing marks, compared to the site average of 61% passing rate in non C-STEM Integrated Math II courses. 92% of students who took the C-STEM Integrated Math II with Computing and Robotics last year were retained and continue on the C-STEM Integrated Math III with Computing and Robotics this year. ”
Teaching integrated algebra and math with computing to all students presents an unprecedented opportunity for educational equity, given the fact that algebraic and computational thinking can reinforce each other. Learning algebra and math with computing is a cost-effective way to close the math achievement gap and provide computing education for all students without adding teachers or new courses.