Why Does It Matter?
Eighth grade math classes are a crucial foundation to success in high school and college.
Eighth grade is an important transition year to prepare students for high school. As students are moving from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, and then high school to post-secondary school, they need to be ready to build on what they have previously learned to take on the next level of their education. Without those foundations, students quickly fall behind.
Eighth grade students typically take algebra, which is the foundation for higher level math classes. Without a solid understanding of algebra, a student is neither prepared nor able to be successful in subsequent math classes. Further, a student’s ability to successfully complete math coursework predicts the time spent on remedial coursework in post-secondary education. One study estimated that Bachelor’s level students who had to take a remedial course were 74% more likely to drop out. Remedial coursework can be a barrier to finishing post-secondary degrees.
There are also many environmental factors that impact a student’s ability to be successful in school. If they are coming to school hungry or worried about the safety of themselves or family members, their ability to concentrate is compromised making it difficult to learn. Additionally, students who are constantly moving due to unstable housing—and thus transferring from school to school—may struggle. These stress factors can significantly impact a child’s ability to be successful in school.