Chances are you use math a lot more than you think you do. Shopping, cooking, driving, and managing time and money all require a basic knowledge of numbers and math.

And critical thinking? Being able to think critically is essential to everyday living and it’s one of the most sought after skills by employers. And, believe it or not, it’s a skill that is strengthened by learning math.

Math best prepares and develops a child’s mind to accept, analyze and execute complex ideas. Success in math in 8^{th} grade is a key milestone for students.

Math skills learned in elementary and middle school prepare them for more rigorous high school math and for success after school. Kids with strong math skills typically earn more money and are more likely to graduate from high school and college.

Today, only a small fraction of Arizona’s eighth graders have the math skills they need to be considered on track, and the gap is even more significant among minority and at-risk populations.

However, there is promising news. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which measures reading and math proficiency among a sample of Arizona students, are administered every other year and results focus on trends in data over time, as opposed to a snapshot from any one year. Compared to 2000 scores, Arizona students have improved in 8th grade math. A particular point of good news is that Arizona has essentially closed the difference with the rest of the country in 8th grade math, with only one point separating our students from the national average.

### BREAKING DOWN THE EIGHTH GRADE MATH DATA

**PERCENTAGE OF EIGHTH GRADE TESTERS PROFICIENT IN MATH**

**PERCENTAGE OF EIGHTH GRADE STUDENTS TESTED BY TYPE OF MATH TEST**