Eighth Graders Proficient in Math
We need all children to receive a strong education so they can succeed in life. Basic math skills are essential for everyday decision making and competency in math is increasingly necessary for success in the workplace.[i]
Students who have a strong mastery of math fundamentals by eighth grade are better prepared to take advanced math and science courses in high school, which makes them more likely to graduate high school, attend and complete college, find a job, and earn more over time.[ii]
Since each state uses their own test to assess academic proficiency, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) enables comparisons between states and the nation as a whole. At last analysis (in 2013), the proficiency standard Kentucky used in its state assessment of eighth grade math was 26 points below the NAEP proficiency standard – meaning the national assessment is more rigorous than Kentucky’s.[iii]
Using NAEP data, between 2000 and 2015, Kentucky experienced an overall improvement on the percent of eighth graders who are proficient in math, though a downward trend began in 2011. Kentucky’s proficiency rate for eighth grade math has persistently been lower than the national rate.[iv]
[i] The National Commission on Mathematics and Science (2000). Before It’s Too Late: National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. Available at https://www.phystec.org/items/detail.cfm?ID=4059. Accessed October 2017.
[ii] Child Trends Databank (2015). Mathematics Proficiency. Available at https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/mathematics-proficiency/. Accessed October 2017.
[iii] Bandeira de Mello, V., Bohrnstedt, G., Blankenship, C., and Sherman, D. (2015). Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: Results From the 2013 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessments. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/publications/studies/pdf/2015046.pdf. Accessed October 2017.
[iv] Annie E. Casey Foundation (2015). KIDS COUNT Data Center. Available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/line/5119-eighth-grade-math-achievement-levels?loc=1&loct=1#2/19/true/573,36,867,38,18,16,14,11/asc/1188/11575. Accessed October 2017.