The ability of middle grades schools to get more students "high school ready" is an essential step toward the larger goal of getting more students in high school to graduate "college and work ready"—and mathematics is key.
In light of California‘s longstanding policy focus on Algebra I in grade 8 and the challenges this raises for local decision-making, this analysis provides an empirical exploration of grade 8 Algebra I placement, based on longitudinal data linking the mathematics () that students in the sample took in grade 7 (in 2008) and grade 8 (in 2009).
Further, this analysis sheds light on how middle grades schools in California are using state-adopted standards and curriculum programs, as well as standards-based assessments, as a basis for their efforts to improve student achievement in the subject. It also identifies practices and policies that appear to differentiate higher school achievement in grade 8 mathematics within this standards-based context.
This analysis is a follow-up to the landmark 2010 Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades research, a large-scale study of middle grades (6-8) practices and policies in 303 California schools and their relationship with student outcomes on the ( ) in English language arts and mathematics.
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EdSource is grateful to the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc., for their support of this follow-up analysis.