Math Proficiency (see data for this topic)
- Websites with Related Information
- American Institutes for Research: Mathematics Education
- California Collaborative for Educational Excellence
- California Collaborative on District Reform
- California Dept. of Education: Mathematics
- California Education GPS, Alliance for Continuous Improvement
- Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, WestEd
- Education Commission of the States
- Education Trust–West
- Getting Down to Facts II, Stanford University & Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
- Institute of Education Sciences: What Works Clearinghouse
- Just Equations, Opportunity Institute
- Public Policy Institute of California: K-12 Education
- Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis
- Key Reports and Research
- Achievement in California’s Public Schools: What Do Test Scores Tell Us?, 2019, Public Policy Institute of California, Warren, P., & Lafortune, J.
- Changing the Equation: Ensuring the Common Core Math Standards Enable All Students to Excel in California Schools, 2015, Education Trust–West, Banks, A., et al.
- College Readiness in the Era of Common Core, 2018, Getting Down to Facts II, Stanford University & Policy Analysis for California Education, Kurlaender, M., et al.
- Guide to Getting Down to Facts II: Highlights from 36 Studies on California’s PreK-12 Education System, 2018, EdSource, Stanford University, & Policy Analysis for California Education
- Health and Academics, 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- How Family, School, and Community Engagement Can Improve Student Achievement and Influence School Reform, 2017, Nellie Mae Education Foundation & American Institutes for Research, Wood, L., & Bauman, E.
- K-12 Public Education Brief: The Essentials of California’s K-12 System Upgrades, 2018, Alliance for Continuous Improvement & Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation
- Making Math Count More for Young Latino Children, 2017, Child Trends, Murphey, D., et al.
- Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, California Department of Education
- Solving California’s Mathematics Problem: Equity, Capacity, and System Improvement, 2018, American Institutes for Research, Knudson, J.
- Student Achievement Analysis: Results of the 2017-18 Smarter Balanced Assessments, 2018, Education Trust–West
- The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015: What It Means for Equity and Accountability in California, 2015, Education Trust–West
- The Mathematics of Opportunity: Rethinking the Role of Math in Educational Equity, 2018, Just Equations, Burdman, P.
- Understanding the Common Core State Standards in California: A Quick Guide, 2017, EdSource, Harrington, T.
- Unlocking Learning II: Math as a Lever for English Learner Equity, 2018, Education Trust-West, Ruffalo, R.
- County/Regional Reports
- 2018-19 California County Scorecard of Children's Well-Being, Children Now
- 2019 Santa Clara County Children's Data Book, Santa Clara County Office of Education & Kids in Common
- Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County, Orange County Children's Partnership
- Collaborating for Equity: A Scan of the Los Angeles Educational Ecosystem, 2016, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, Potochnik, T., & Romans, A. N.
- Important Facts About Kern’s Children, Kern County Network for Children
- New Measures, Similar Results: Oakland Public Schools and the New State Dashboard, 2018, Oakland Achieves Partnership
- Orange County Community Indicators Report, Orange County Community Indicators Project
- Pursuing Equity and Excellence in Mathematics: Course Sequencing and Placement in San Francisco, 2019, American Institutes for Research, Knudson, J.
- San Mateo County All Together Better, San Mateo County Health
- Santa Monica Youth Wellbeing Report Card, Santa Monica Cradle to Career
- More Data Sources For Math Proficiency
- 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Results, California Dept. of Education
- California School Dashboard, California Dept. of Education
- Child Trends Databank: Mathematics Proficiency
- DataQuest, California Dept. of Education
- Education Data Partnership (Ed-Data), California Dept. of Education, et al.
- Local Control Funding Formula Reports, California Dept. of Education
- National Center for Education Statistics: Data Tools, U.S. Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Learn More About This Topic
- Why This Topic Is Important
Basic math skills are essential to navigate through life, and competence in mathematics is associated with workplace readiness and the potential for higher future earnings (1, 2). Math proficiency also is a predictor of college attendance (2). Nationwide, increasing emphasis is being placed on children's achievement in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering, recognizing the importance of these fields in the country's future and ability to innovate (2). According to a 2014 report, the U.S. ranked 11th internationally in grade 4 math assessments (2). In California, student math scores consistently rank among the lowest in the nation, even though U.S. and California scores generally have improved since the 1990s (3). Further, large inequities persist in math achievement by student socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and English Learner status, statewide and nationally (3, 4).For more information on math proficiency, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
1. Child Trends Databank. (2015). Mathematics proficiency. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=mathematics-proficiency
2. Pane, N. E. (2014). Math scores add up for Hispanic students: States and school districts notable for recent gains by Hispanic students in mathematics. Child Trends Hispanic Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=math-scores-add-up-for-hispanic-students-states-and-school-districts-notable-for-recent-gains-by-hispanic-students-in-mathematics
3. National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). The nation’s report card. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.nationsreportcard.gov
4. Education Trust–West. (2016). Results of the 2015-16 Smarter Balanced Assessments in California. Retrieved from: https://west.edtrust.org/resource/results-2015-16-smarter-balanced-assessments-california
- Policy Implications
Significant education policy changes have taken place in California and the U.S. in recent years, such as the state's Local Control Funding Formula, the Common Core State Standards, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (1, 2). Policymakers now face challenges in effectively implementing these large-scale changes, which have the potential to reduce long-standing achievement gaps in math proficiency by race/ethnicity, income level, disability status, and English Learner status (2).
Policy options that could improve math proficiency include:
For more policy ideas related to math proficiency, see the Research & Links section on kidsdata.org or visit the Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse, Education Trust–West, and EdSource. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under High School Graduation, College Eligibility, and Family Income and Poverty.
- Ensuring that all children have access to high-quality preschool or kindergarten readiness programs, which lay the foundation for later achievement (3, 4)
- Continuing to support K-12 schools in creating positive school climates and developing comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based systems to address students’ physical, emotional, behavioral, and other needs (4, 5)
- In accordance with California law, supporting effective strategies to increase family involvement in school, which is linked to improvements in student behavior, academic achievement, and engagement in school, as well as improvements in school climate (6, 7)
- As California works to meet Every Student Succeeds Act requirements, ensuring that the state's new accountability system is meaningful, effective, streamlined, and supports all students, particularly low-income students, children of color, students with disabilities, and English Learners (1, 2)
- Supporting efforts to provide school districts and county offices of education with affordable technical assistance as they implement California's Local Control Funding Formula, and ensuring implementation effectively focuses resources on high-need students (2, 3)
- Ensuring that all students have access to high-quality Common Core-aligned curricula and other classroom supports, including math coaches and specialists, and eliminating the practice of assigning students to math courses according to perceived abilities (2, 7, 8)
- Ensuring that teachers hold high expectations for all students and have access to ongoing professional development and coaching opportunities, including time to collaborate in professional learning communities (7, 8)
- Supporting efforts to incentivize college graduates to enter the teaching profession, work at high-need schools, and teach hard-to-staff subjects such as math and science; also, ensuring equitable distribution of high-quality teachers so that all students and schools have equal access to effective teaching (2, 7)
- Continuing to improve the state's education data system, so that it provides meaningful reports to local educators and leaders to inform decision making (3)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Education Trust–West. (2015). The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015: What it means for equity and accountability in California. Retrieved from: http://west.edtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/11/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-Implications-for-CA-FINAL-PDF.pdf
2. Education Trust–West. (2014). The Education Trust–West 2014 Policy Agenda: Tectonic shifts in California's education landscape. Retrieved from: https://west.edtrust.org/resource/the-education-trust-west-2014-policy-agenda
3. Hill, L., et al. (2016). California's future: K-12 education. Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved from: http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=899
4. My Brother’s Keeper Task Force. (2014). My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report to the President. Retrieved from: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/053014_mbk_report.pdf
5. Basch, C. E., et al. (2015). Health barriers to learning and the education opportunity gap. Education Commission of the States. Retrieved from: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/20/69/12069.pdf
6. Thigpen, D., & Freedberg, L. (2014). The power of parents: Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools. EdSource & New America Media. Retrieved from: http://edsource.org/2014/the-power-of-parents-what-the-research-shows/61862
7. Banks, A., et al. (2015). Changing the equation: Ensuring the Common Core math standards enable all students to excel in California schools. Education Trust–West. Retrieved from: https://west.edtrust.org/resource/report-changing-the-equation-ensuring-the-common-core-math-standards-enable-all-students-to-excel-in-california-schools
8. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (n.d.). Principles to actions: Executive summary. Retrieved from: http://www.nctm.org/PtA
- How Children Are Faring
In 2016, 37% of public school students who took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test met or exceeded their grade-level standard in mathematics. At the county level, figures ranged from 19% (Lake) to 59% (Marin). Disparities in math proficiency by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status are wide. For example, in 2016, 24% of socioeconomically disadvantaged students in California scored at or above their grade-level standard, compared with 58% of non-disadvantaged students, while Asian American students demonstrated proficiency at a rate four times higher than their African American/black peers (72% compared with 18%).
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