Flunking 8th-grade algebra

California eighth graders are supposed to take algebra, according to standards adopted in 2003.  That’s boosted the number of eighth-grade algebra students by 80 percent, concludes a study by EdSource, working with Stanford and American Institutes for Research.  Expectations are high. But performance is just what you’d expect.

Low-scoring students placed in algebra have “almost no chance for success.” Nearly a third of students with “below basic” and “far below basic” scores were placed in eighth-grade algebra.

Not surprisingly, students who were proficient in seventh-grade math tended to be proficient in eighth-grade algebra. “Basic” students in seventh-grade math who were placed in eighth-grade algebra tended to score “basic” on the exam.

Not rocket science.

Low-scoring students should spend eighth grade learing the math skills that will give them a shot at passing algebra in ninth grade, researchers concluded.

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