Social Promotion And Inadequate Math Skills

It is hard to dispute the general decrease in the skills of high school graduates over recent decades.  When I was in school, Pre Calculus was regularly and rigorously taught to all but the most challenged students of mathematics.

When looking at today’s high school academic environment, it is hard to comprehend what we see. Many students struggle with even basic arithmetic topics such as division or multiplication – for these youths developing skills in pre calculus without help is quite simply out of reach.

So what has happened to cause this decline?  Many people blame lax parenting.  These days many kids are given the freedom to do what they want – and to not do what they do not.  Some students will not do any maths homework over the course of an entire school year, something that would of been incomprehensible in years gone by.

Schools also have a responsibility however.  The practice of social promotion encourages pushing ill prepared students to the next grade no matter what their performance.  Without the threat of sanction, or of being ’held back’, many kids feel there is no reason for them at all to care about the subject of math – or to make a serious attempt to master it.

Until the practice of social promotion is ended, many high schools kid will continue to have the mathematical skills of 5th graders from decades past.