Eighth Grade Math
Middle school is a critical time for students, especially when it comes to mathematics. Math becomes more challenging during the middle grade years. Students who finish eighth grade math with skills above the minimum standards are far more likely to be successful in high school, and to graduate prepared for high-skilled careers and college. Unfortunately, less than half of all students demonstrate strong math skills by the end of eighth grade. We are working to change that with three strategies across a select number of pilot school districts and classrooms.
Increase student motivation and confidence. A positive attitude increases student achievement, especially in math. We are writing a series of articles that students will read in the weeks leading up to their spring assessments. These articles will promote a growth mindset, and will encourage students to think about their brains like a muscle that gets stronger with herd work. Classroom posters and teacher practices will reinforce the articles.
Help parents support their children at home. Some parents might have a hard time talking with their middle school students, especially about math. Our strategy is to engage parents through mailings and digital communication, giving them the tools and tips to start positive conversations about math and math achievement. These conversation starters will align with the messages students hear in the classroom about growth mindsets, effort and making good choices.
Develop high-quality, low-stakes assessments. Short practice assessments can give students repeated opportunities for success without the threat of failure. These assessments will give students a chance to become comfortable with the format and challenge of Ohio’s new state tests. The goal of this strategy is to help students become confident and comfortable with meeting end-of-year expectations. The success of this strategy will be measured by comparing math score outcomes of students in these pilot classrooms with those of students in other classrooms.