Middle school is a critical time. It sets the tone for your student’s foundation in high school. When it comes to math, high school is the time when your student will be required to start thinking critically about numbers. Are you concerned about your student’s progress in middle school math? You aren’t alone. Eighth graders who score significantly below grade level have just a 1 in 30 chance of catching up in math during high school. Even more, two out of three eighth graders score below grade level in math, and 82 percent of high school dropouts blamed their inability to pass Algebra I as a primary reason for leaving school. Okay, I know these statistics sound overwhelming and scary, but please know that you can help prepare your student for the rigors of high school math while they are still in middle school! Build Mastery and Confidence in Middle School One of the reasons middle school students often struggle is because they have gaps in their learning. These gaps can lower your student’s confidence and prevent them from focusing on where they really need to build mastery. Providing your student with a strong math foundation and the support they need in middle school can help to fill in their learning gaps. This will motivate them to move onto the next lesson, quiz, and eventually the next course, with confidence. One way to do this is by ensuring your student is engaging with math curriculum that requires them to observe, inquire, create, connect, and confirm their learning along the way. A continuous blend of direct instruction and “doing” confirms students stay engaged, apply their learning, and continuously receive feedback. When they use engaging curriculum, your student will have the opportunity to learn the content in multiple ways. This could include learning through text, video, and interactive activities that help your student learn through discovery, confirmation, and practice. What does this have to do with real life? Using real-world examples that students can relate to will draw them in. Your student is probably willing to work hard when they can connect learning activities to topics they care about, such as friends, family, school activities, movies, music, or social issues they’re invested in. When your student believes that they can be successful, they have more motivation to become invested in their learning and take ownership of how they learn. This helps your student develop lifelong skills and become confident, independent problem solvers both in and out of the classroom. Keep Students on Track Is your student achieving at grade level but needs to review specific concepts or skills? Helping them review troublesome concepts and learning gaps in middle school, before they become chronic, can get your student on track for success in high school math. As your middle school student gets older, their math struggles have the potential to multiply. Eighth graders use all the math concepts and skills they’ve learned in sixth and seventh grade to begin learning algebra. And in high school, your student will continue to use all of their middle school math skills as they move onto Algebra II, Geometry and maybe even Calculus. Understanding where your student is struggling the most and addressing these concerns right away can support their long-term progress in math, in high school, and in life. You can encourage them to speak with their teacher about the concepts they are missing, hire a tutor, or look for additional resources to support your student outside of the traditional classroom to fill in those learning gaps. How Apex Learning Virtual School Can Help Apex Learning Virtual School can help middle school students reach and exceed grade-level mastery, no matter where they start. Our curriculum is built for middle school attention spans, interests, and needs. Our new summer math readiness program for middle school students helps them close any learning gaps they may have before they move on to higher stakes, credit-bearing high school courses. More information coming soon! Join our mailing list to stay informed.