The Rise and Fall of 8th Grade Algebra

Chad Aldeman:

Algebra is a gateway toward more advanced mathematics courses, and passing the course in 8th grade is a strong predictor of future college success. All students can be math solvers, but students need opportunities to prove it.

Unfortunately, schools have been limiting opportunities for students to take Algebra in 8th grade, and it shows up in a remarkable graph of the national data.

In 1986, for example, 16% of American 13-year-olds were taking Algebra. After two decades of steady gains, that figure hit an all-time high of 34% in 2012.

But then it started to fall. By the 2022-23 school year, the percentage of 13-year-olds enrolled in Algebra had fallen back to 24%.