8th Grade Math
By the end of 8th grade, each student is on track to meet benchmarks for success in math.
In 2015, 39% of students in Saint Paul and Minneapolis public schools were measured to be proficient in math by 8th grade.
Math proficiency rates consistently decline during later elementary years, but level off or slightly increase during middle school years. As a result, we are meeting the math education needs of only about 39% of Minneapolis-Saint Paul 8th grade students, as measured by the math section of the MCAII. Of all the students who did not meet the proficiency benchmarks in 8th grade math, the vast majority fall into the lowest achievement category, known as the “red zone”. Meeting their math needs requires a holistic approach. Data practitioners encourage us to address this as early as possible, especially with early mindset.
After a year exploring potential STEM related actions with individual district administrators, content experts and practitioners, we convened the top University of Minnesota mathematics researchers to help us determine what single action would have the most impact. In response to Generation Next’s request, University of Minnesota faculty from the College of Education and Human Development propose to provide interdisciplinary work with public schools and researchers during the 2016-17 academic school year to improve math proficiency outcomes. We created a multi-pronged math intervention using the collective knowledge of the University of Minnesota – “GopherMath” – in one school.
This collaboration localizes the University’s latest research in educational psychology, curriculum and instruction for actionable family support and classroom instruction. In family support, researchers target mindset development as a lever toward improving math skills. The expertise for promise neighborhood partners will develop appropriate tools for math development at home. In classroom instruction, researchers target understanding rational numbers (e.g. fractions, decimals) as another lever toward improving math skills. The Rational Number Project (RNP) is a long-standing research-based curriculum development project that focuses on understanding children’s thinking in the rational number domain. Anne Sullivan Elementary School already uses RNP curriculum and has agreed to partner with the GopherMath pilot during the 2016-17 school year.
Through summer and fall, Generation Next and partners seek to secure funds for full project implementation. In the coming months, the partnership will determine how Anne Sullivan Elementary School students and promise neighborhood families align with the peer reviewed research and will target interventions accordingly. By January 2017, data will exist on changes in math skills development for scalability considerations.