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Chapter 4: Academic Preparation and Achievement

Indicator 20: Eighth-Grade Algebra

Of students that scored in the top half of a 5th-grade mathematics assessment, a lower percentage of males than females went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in 8th grade (51 vs. 66 percent).

Overall, 33 percent of 8th-grade students were enrolled in algebra and 6 percent were enrolled in an advanced course other than algebra in grade 8 in the spring of 2007. Of the students who scored in the top half of the ECLS-K 5th-grade mathematics assessment in the spring of 2004, some 58 percent went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in 2007.

In the spring of 5th grade, a higher percentage of males than females scored in the top half of the mathematics assessment (54 vs. 46 percent). This pattern was also found for White students (65 vs. 57 percent) and Asian students (75 vs. 50 percent). In contrast, a lower percentage of males than females who scored in the top half of the 5th-grade mathematics assessment went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in grade 8 (51 vs. 66 percent). This pattern also was found for White students (54 vs. 68 percent) but was not significant for other racial/ethnic groups.

The percentages of students scoring in the top half of the 5th-grade mathematics assessment differed across racial/ethnic groups. Lower percentages of Black (24 percent) and Hispanic students (36 percent) than Asian (60 percent) and White students (61 percent) scored in the top half of the assessment in grade 5. In addition, a higher percentage of Hispanic than Black students scored in the top half of the mathematics assessment (36 vs. 24 percent).

Enrollment rates at grade 8 in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra by students who scored in the top half of the 5th-grade mathematics assessment also differed across racial/ethnic groups. For example, among students who scored in the top half of the 5th-grade assessment, the percentage of Black students enrolled in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra by 8th grade (26 percent) was lower than the percentages of Asian (86 percent), White (60 percent), and Hispanic (58 percent) students enrolled. In addition, the percentage of Asian students (86 percent) who scored in the top half in grade 5 and went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in grade 8 was higher than the percentages for all other racial/ethnic groups. These overall race/ethnicity patterns were similarly observed for males by race/ethnicity. However, no measurable differences were observed among females when studied by racial/ethnic group, except in the case of Black females. The percentage of Black females who scored in the top half in grade 5 and went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in grade 8 was lower than the percentages for females of all other racial/ethnic groups.

Technical Notes

Data on mathematics achievement in grades 5 and 8 were based on student assessments, and data on students’ mathematics coursetaking in grade 8 were based on responses from students’ mathematics teachers. Estimates represent all U.S. students who attended 1st grade in the spring of 2000 and were then enrolled in a U.S. 8th grade in the 2006 07 school year. The cohort represents approximately 80 percent of all 8th-grade students in the 2006 07 school year. Algebra or an advanced course other than algebra includes algebra I, integrated or sequential mathematics, algebra II, and geometry.

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Figure 20-1 Percentage of spring 2000 first-graders who scored in the top half of the fifth-grade mathematics assessment, by race/ethnicity and sex: Spring 2004

Figure 20-2 Percentage of spring 2000 first-graders who scored in the top half of the fifth-grade mathematics assessment and went on to enroll in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in the eighth grade, by race/ethnicity and sex: Spring 2007

Table E-20-1 Percentage of spring 2000 first-graders who scored in the top half of the fifth-grade ECLS-K mathematics assessment and of those who scored in the top half, the percentage enrolled in algebra or an advanced course other than algebra in the eighth grade, by sex and race/ethnicity: Spring 2004 and spring 2007


  
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