The Facts

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
National Center for Education Statistics (2006). Data Explorer. Retrieved March 10, 2006 from