By Johnny Jackson
Henry County Schools is offering a new type of course to aid high school juniors, who are struggling with math.
School officials reported that the school system has begun offering students its new Mathematics III/Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) Prep course, that is based on the state's new Georgia Performance Standards curriculum, on which students will be tested in this spring's graduation exam.
The new math course serves two purposes, according to Lya Snell, Henry's secondary mathematics coordinator. The first, she said, is to expose students to core content taught in Mathematics III. Secondly, the new course reviews content taught in Mathematics I and Mathematics II as preparation for students to take the new math portion of the GHSGT.
"The course content blends Mathematics I, Mathematics II, and Mathematics III in a way that prepares students for the March 2011 and future administrations of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, and for post-secondary mathematics course work," Snell said. "The mathematical concepts being taught in this course will include concepts and skills currently taught in Mathematics I, Mathematics II, and Mathematics III."
On previous graduation tests, based on the state's former Quality Core Curriculum, the school system reported steady performance among regular-education, high school juniors taking the GHSGT for the first time. About 97 percent of those students passed the math portion of the 2009 GHSGT, according to Henry's Balanced Scorecard, updated on Nov. 19, 2009.
Snell said the school system's new math course has been designed to assist students who need additional support in mastering Mathematics III content. It also integrates and reviews math content studied during students' freshman and sophomore years in high school, as preparation for the new GHSGT.
The Mathematics III/GHSGT Prep course is currently being offered at a few high schools in the school system, but is projected to be a course offering at each high school by next school year, according to the secondary mathematics coordinator.
Snell said eligibility to enroll in the new course includes "all students who have successfully completed Mathematics II, and either failed the EOCT [End-of-Course Test] for Mathematics I, or Mathematics II; been identified by local school administration and teachers as having weaknesses in mathematics; have a documented mathematics learning disability and have had a committee to recommend this course for additional support; or are determined to be at risk of [not] passing the GHSGT."