First-grade math foundation key to later success
In U.S. Department of Education research, the level of math and science that a student completes in high school is the clearest predictor of a student’s success in college. 2010 ACT results indicate that all college-bound high school seniors had their lowest scores in math and science. A recent University of Missouri study notes, “beginning first-graders that understand numbers, the quantities those numbers represent, and low-level arithmetic will have better success in learning mathematics through the end of fifth-grade, and other studies suggest throughout the rest of their lives.”
Lead researcher, professor David Geary, also notes, “This study reinforces the idea that math knowledge is incremental, and without a good foundation, a student won’t do well because the math gets more complex.” The paper, “Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: A Five Year Longitudinal Study,” will be published in the journal Developmental Psychology.
Parents should be particularly concerned with the 2009 NAEP Results (National Assessment of Education Progress), which indicate that most U.S. 4th– and 8th-graders are not proficient in math.
4th-grade performance by racial group:
- 50 percent of White students are below proficiency
- 79 percent of Hispanic students are below proficiency
- 85 percent of Black students are below proficiency
8th-grade performance by racial group:
- 57 percent of White students are below proficiency
- 83 percent of Hispanic students are below proficiency
- 88 percent of Black students are below proficiency