*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Empirical evidence of the success of universal algebra policies is mixed. Some studies show negative results for many students (see, for example, Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2013; Nomi, 2010). Responding to a desire to improve equity in and access to Algebra I in 8th grade, but cognizant of the concerns around pushing underprepared students into the course, the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) developed a targeted enrollment policy designed to increase the number of students taking Algebra I in the 8th grade. WCPSS contracted with SAS to construct a predictive model indicating the probability that a student will score proficient or better on the end of algebra course exam. Students with a predicted probability of 0.70 or higher are advanced in the mathematics sequence in grades 6 through 8 (taking Algebra I in the 8th grade). Students with lower than a 0.70 probability are assigned to the regular math sequence.
Using longitudinal student-level administrative data from WCPSS, we utilize discrete time survival analysis with an accelerated cohort design to investigate whether and when students who are not eligible to be advanced in the mathematics sequence enroll in Algebra I and courses beyond Algebra I. We further investigate whether there are differences in timing of Algebra I enrollment (and courses beyond Algebra I) that are correlated with student demographic characteristics such as race, socio-economic status, and disability status. The WCPSS policy aims to restrict enrollment to those students who are most likely to succeed. Little empirical work has examined the trajectories of those students not accelerated by such policies. We anticipate that students who are assigned to the regular math sequence are less likely to enroll in both Algebra I and more advanced classes, and to do so later in their high school trajectories.