All Maryland students enter high school on track to meet the college and career readiness standard by the end of 10th grade, and are engaged socially, emotionally, and academically to succeed in progressively challenging and advanced level coursework aligned to college and career pathways.

boy at desk in classroomScientists have long known that the human brain develops more rapidly in the first five years of life. But recent advances in brain imaging have revealed that a second spurt occurs in early adolescence, a phase generally defined as spanning ages 11 to 14. A growing body of research indicates that the middle grades are the “make it or break it” years when many students begin to disengage from school, increasing the likelihood of dropping out of high school.

A Maryland student’s learning experiences in the middle grades is a selection of classes they go through in a day. If they experience inconsistent expectations across those classes, they and the school will struggle to achieve high outcomes.

A strong research base for effective instructional practices in the middle grades does exist. Providing research-based instruction that enhances learning in the middle grades is critical for Maryland students’ success in high school and beyond.

Math Percent Proficiency: Grade 8 Students

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Note: Assessments for 2021 (school year 2020-2021) were shortened tests and were administered in Fall 2021. The category ‘All Math Assessments’ includes Math 8, Algebra I, and Geometry

In Maryland grade 8 students taking the grade 8 math test have been trending down over time. Students taking a high school math test in middle school, although consistent before the pandemic, also declined in 2021.

Did you know?

Research shows that students at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as sixth grade. In fact, sixth graders who display just one of the following off-track indicators have only a 15% – 25% chance of graduating on time: