ALGEBRA rEADINESS INITIATIVE Frequently Asked Questions
The Algebra Readiness Initiative (ARI) provides mathematics intervention resources and services to students in grades six through nine who are at risk of failing the Algebra I end-of-course test, as demonstrated by their individual performance on any diagnostic test that has been approved by the Department of Education. The ARI consists of two major components:
- a diagnostic assessment designed to guide instructional decisions for students that may need intervention services and
- targeted intervention services for students.
The school division determines which students should be targeted for diagnostic testing and then subsequently for intervention services. The identified group may include:
- students in grades 6-9 at risk of failing the Algebra I end-of-course test;
- students not successful in previous intervention programs;
- students who performed below average in their previous year's mathematics program;
- students identified by teachers through formal and informal assessment; and/or
- students who did not pass their previous mathematics standards of learning assessment.
School divisions can use locally-designed diagnostic assessments or locally selected (i.e., vendor created) diagnostic tests. Locally-designed or selected diagnostic tests must meet the following criteria:
- Assess the students' knowledge and skills of the Mathematics Standards of Learning for grades three through eight, and Algebra I.
- Support the following five mathematics process goals for students found in the Standards of Learning:
- Becoming Mathematical Problem Solvers;
- Communicating Mathematically;
- Reasoning Mathematically;
- Making Mathematical Connections; and
- Making Mathematical Representations.
- Identify mathematics content strengths and challenges, and indicate the level of performance where intervention may be necessary to be successful in each of the following categories for grades three through eight and/or Algebra I:
- Grades three through eight:
- Number and Number Sense;
- Computation and Estimation;
- Measurement and Geometry;
- Probability and Statistics; and
- Patterns, Functions, and Algebra.
- Algebra I:
- Expressions and Operations;
- Equations and Inequalities; and
School divisions also have the option of using student results from Virginia Mathematics Standards of Learning Assessments as a pre-assessment in conjunction with classroom formative assessments to identify areas of individual student focus for remediation. The end-of-year grade level or Algebra I Mathematics Standards of Learning Assessment results can then serve as the post-assessment.
The school division determines and designs the local intervention service model.
The requirements are:
- The intervention services should provide 2½ hours of instruction per week in addition to regular classroom instruction.
- The intervention service should be provided on a student/teacher ratio of 10 to 1.
- A pre- and post-assessment must be administered to students that participate in the intervention program.
- Local school division determines and designs the local intervention model.
- Students targeted to participate in the intervention program will include those who did not pass the appropriate diagnostic test.
- The intervention services can be provided by classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, or part-time tutors who have the appropriate mathematical understanding and pedagogical knowledge to implement an effective remediation program.
Local school divisions receive incentive funding from the state to provide intervention services based upon the estimated number of students requiring intervention and the composite index of local ability to pay. The estimated number of students requiring intervention was determined by multiplying the projected number of seventh- and eighth-grade students in each school division’s fall membership by the percent that qualify for the federal Free Lunch Program.
School divisions receive incentive payments to provide mathematics intervention services to students in the targeted grades, including teachers and paraprofessionals for tutoring, student transportation to and from intervention services, and other costs associated with providing intervention services.
The 2011 General Assembly added language to the Code of Virginia that allows school divisions to use ARI funding to employ mathematics teacher specialists to provide the required mathematics intervention services. School divisions using the ARI funding in this manner shall only employ instructional personnel licensed by the Board of Education.
Funding carryover is not guaranteed and, if granted, is typically announced by Superintendent’s Memo.
As part of the components of Standards of Quality Compliance Certification and Other Required Reporting, each school division designates an Algebra Readiness Initiative (ARI) contact during the SSWS compliance process. This contact is responsible for collecting and annually reporting data by August 1st regarding the local ARI program and students being served.
To receive SOL Algebra Readiness Initiative Payments, the school division certifies that it will:
- Offer an intervention program to such students;
- Utilize diagnostic methods to assess students at the beginning and at the end of that school year;
- Submit a report to the Virginia Department of Education by August 1 outlining the methods used for diagnosing individual student mathematics content strengths and challenges, remediation efforts used, the number of students who received ARI services, and the number of students demonstrating improvement during the 2017-2018 school year; and
- Match these funds based on the composite index of local ability-to-pay.