Eighth-Grade Math

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The share of 8th graders proficient in math dropped slightly and has remained below 40% for decades.

Unfavorable movement since the last available data

Benchmark: The percentage of Maine students scoring proficient and above on NAEP will reach 50% by 2030.

Overview Fig. A

Overview

Eighth-grade math scores reflect foundational skills and indicate whether students are on track for college and career readiness. Math is a cornerstone of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines, career fields and job skills that are growing and pay well. Math addresses knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and accurately gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions.

Eighth-grade math proficiency is defined as solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter, application to real-world problems, and appropriate analytical skills. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests representative samples of fourth and eighth graders every other year to allow national and state comparisons.

The proportion of Maine eighth graders meeting the NAEP math proficiency benchmark increased from 34% in 2007 to 40% in 2013 but has since fallen back to 34% in 2019. Maine eighth-grade math proficiency was one percentage point above the national average of 33% but trailed the New England rate of 38% by four points.

Fig. A

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Percentage of 8th Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Math

National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); New England average is unweighted.