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Algebra I and College Preparatory Diploma Outcomes among Virginia Students Who Completed Algebra I in Grades 7–9

Region:
Appalachia
Description:

In Virginia, 52 percent of students graduated from high school with a college preparatory diploma in 2019. However, 31 percent of economically disadvantaged students and 15 percent of English learner students graduated with a college preparatory diploma. Recognizing the importance of mathematics in preparing students for college and careers, Virginia leaders are seeking to improve mathematics instructional programs and associated policy. As one part of their effort, this study was designed to learn more about Algebra I and graduation outcomes among students with similar mathematics proficiency in grade 5 who completed Algebra I in grade 7, 8, or 9 in Virginia. Using data from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, the study followed a population of 61,200 students who were in Virginia public schools in grade 5 in 2009/10 and who graduated in 2016/17. Results describe students’ prior mathematics performance, Algebra I performance, and college preparatory diploma attainment based on the grade level in which they completed Algebra I. The analyses used descriptive statistics and cross-tabulations of the overall study population as well as students identified as economically disadvantaged and English learner students. Fewer than half the students who completed Algebra I in grade 9 earned a college preparatory diploma, even when they earned advanced scores on the grade 5 mathematics assessments. Economically disadvantaged students who scored at the advanced level on the grade 5 mathematics assessment and completed Algebra I in grade 7 had an Algebra I pass rate that was 10 percentage points lower than that of the overall study population, and a rate of earning a college preparatory diploma 18 percentage points lower than that of the overall study population. Similar gaps in performance existed when economically disadvantaged students completed Algebra I in grade 8 or 9.

Publication Type:
Descriptive Study
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Publication Date:
October 2020
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