A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

FY 1999 Annual Plan - Volume 1. Objective Performance Plans and Data Quality - February 27, 1998

Objective 2.3. Every eighth-grader masters challenging mathematics, including the foundations of algebra and geometry.

Context: Mathematics is a basic skill--the gateway to learning many more advanced skills, and a prerequisite for success in a wide variety of careers. Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which compared mathematics and science achievement of students from the U.S. and other countries, show that the U.S. is the only country that scored above the international average at the fourth grade and below the international average at the eighth grade. Mathematics, like reading, has a key academic turning point; for mathematics this occurs around the eighth grade. Ninth-graders are often put on different tracks that they follow through high school and beyond; mathematics often determines what that track will be.

Key strategies for FY 1999


Programs supporting this objective

State Grants
  • Title I
  • IDEA Part B
Standards for mathematics
  • Goals 2000: Educate America Act
Teacher training
  • Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants
  • Higher Education Act (HEA), Title V
Technical Assistance and dissemination
  • Fund for the Improvement of Education
  • Eisenhower Federal Activities
  • Eisenhower Regional Consortia
  • Comprehensive Regional Assistance Centers
  • National Education Research Institutes
  • Regional Education Laboratories
  • Eisenhower Professional Development Federal Activities
  • IDEA: Research and Dissemination
  • Statistics and Assessment

Selected performance indicators and charts

Performance indicators for objective 2.3 focus on expected outcomes for students in mathematics and on progress in implementing key strategies to achieve these results. The Department is monitoring progress on this objective in terms of the national trends in teacher preparation and ongoing professional development, student course taking, and schools' access to and use of information on best practices for mathematics instruction. The Department is also focusing on increasing public understanding and support for mastering challenging mathematics by the end of the eighth grade.

Increasing percentages of eighth-graders reach the basic level or higher levels of proficiency in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); on international assessments, at least 60% will score at the international average by 2002. (Goal 2, indicator 8)

Indicator background and context. U.S. students have shown progress in their mathematics achievement on NAEP over the years, yet many still fail to achieve to the high standards needed for future success. In 1996, 61 percent of students scored at or above the basic level on NAEP compared to 51 percent in 1990. In 1996, 45 percent of U.S. eighth-graders scored at the international average on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). TIMSS showed that although U.S. fourth-graders perform above the international average in math, our eighth-graders, and twelfth graders scored below the international average.

Data source. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1990, 1992, 1996 Mathematics Assessment. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), 1995 8th-grade Assessment.


Each year, more teachers in grades 5-8 will complete intensive professional development to enable them to teach challenging mathematics. (Goal 2, indicator 11)

Indicator background and context.Only 28 percent of U.S. teachers participated in an in-depth professional development program in mathematics.

Data source. Schools and Staffing Surveys, 1993-94.

Verification/validation of performance measures: Indicator data will draw from rigorously designed surveys (e.g., the National Assessment of Educational Progress, replication of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study at the eighth grade, and ongoing administration of the Schools and Staffing Surveys. Independently conducted program evaluations at school and district levels will assess staff access to, knowledge of, and use of best practices information.


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