Connecting the educational world to your classroom

Higher Math in Lower Grades


Pushing students to their full potential is important, but when it comes to math, is too much too early a bad thing?

Forty years ago, algebra was a common freshman-level math course. Now, the course is offered – and sometimes even required — in eighth grade, a push that allows students to take a tract of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calc/Trigonometry and Calculus before graduating high school. Some feel the math push was due, in part, to the United States lagging behind many other countries in the areas of math and science.

Now, some researchers have questioned if algebra is too complex of a subject for the general eighth-grade student population.

Harvard policy professor Tom Loveless, authored a study on the trend and concluded that, “There is no apparent benefit from compelling all eighth-graders to take an advanced math class.”
In fact, Loveless’s study showed that the average math achievement level in the U.S. dropped as the number of students taking eighth-grade algebra classes has increased.

Does your school offer or require students to take Algebra in eighth grade?