Some 39 percent of students take algebra or a more advanced mathematics course in 8th grade, a new federal brief says.
Released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics, the brief draws on federal data tracking a large cohort of students from the time students entered 1st grade in 1999 through the 2006-07 school year, when they were in 8th grade. Predictably, the study showed that a majority of the students who scored high on math tests in 5th grade went on to take algebra or a higher math course in 8th grade. But there were disparities: While 62 percent of all the high-achieving 5th graders later took algebra, only 35 percent of high-scoring African-American 5th graders did so.
A version of this article appeared in the October 13, 2010 edition of Education Week as Algebra