The Current Situation
in Mathematics Education
The California Standards Test (CST) in
Mathematics for 2005 reports that 50% of fourth graders are at or below
the basic level (CDE, 2006). Further, eighth graders taking the General
Math Content CST, which covers sixth and seventh grade content, are
showing a 73% rate of being at or below the basic level (CDE, 2006).
The national picture isn’t much better. According to the 2005
results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 65% of
fourth graders cannot do math at their level and 71% of eighth graders
are not proficient in mathematics at their grade level (NCES, 2006).
There is a disturbing comparison to
be made here. The percentage of students at or above proficient of
eighth graders is consistently lower that the percentage of students
at or above proficient of fourth graders. That means that students
lose proficiency from fourth to eighth grade. There are likely many
factors contributing to this decline. One of these factors may be that
the teachers of these students are not proficient themselves in the
math content they are required to teach, or in the math pedagogy needed
to deliver adequate math instruction.
California Department of Education. (2006).
California Standardized Testing and Reporting. Retrieved on
May 23, 2006 from http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2005/Viewreport.asp.
National Center for Education Statistics (2006). Data Explorer. Retrieved March
10, 2006 from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/nde/
