Taking Algebra 1 in 8th grade has helped many California students, but has set others up for failure, concludes an analysis released last week by EdSource.
The report is a follow-up to “Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades,” which the Mountain View, Calif.-based research organization published last year.
For the new study, the researchers examined the same longitudinal data set of 303 California schools that they used in their earlier one. They found that the proportion of 8th graders scoring “proficient” or higher on state algebra tests has increased, both overall and among African-American, Latino, and disadvantaged students.
But among students who took Algebra I, large numbers, especially Latino, black, and disadvantaged children, scored below basic or far below basic on the state tests.
A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2011 edition of Education Week as Algebra in 8th Grade