Achieve Calls Mathematics “Gateway” to College and Career

Wednesday, May 21, 2008Printer-friendly version


Sandy Boyd, Achieve, (202) 419-1542,

WASHINGTON – May 21, 2008 – In testimony today before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Achieve, Inc. Vice President Laura Slover emphasized the importance of higher level mathematics to success in postsecondary education and the workplace and highlighted progress being made in the states toward raising mathematics expectations. Slover testified as part of a hearing on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel Report.

From 2001 to 2004, Achieve undertook a major research endeavor, Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts, to identify the must-have skills and knowledge all students need in the core subjects of both mathematics and English. Chief among mathematics coursework is Algebra II, or an integrated course that covers the same content.

“Achieve and others have found that Algebra II is a gateway course for higher education and teaches quantitative reasoning skills important for the workplace,” stated Slover. “Achieve’s research shows that higher level mathematics courses such as Algebra II improve access to postsecondary education, are critical for college success, and are important to many careers – including those that don’t require a four-year college degree. Students that complete higher level mathematics coursework are not only better prepared for work, they earn higher salaries.”

Slover also pointed to Achieve’s work through the American Diploma Project (ADP) network to help states close the expectations gap and set mathematics benchmarks that prepare students for life beyond high school. Currently, 33 states educating nearly 80 percent of all U.S. public school students participate in the ADP network. Slover noted the significant progress being made in the states in the adoption of both rigorous standards and graduation requirements.

“[A]ll but six states are looking to improve the transition from high school into postsecondary and workplace settings through the adoption of college- and career-ready mathematics standards,” said Slover. “An interesting byproduct of aligning standards to college and career readiness is that a common core of mathematics expectations is emerging across state lines.”

This spring, states participating in the ADP Algebra II end-of-course exam, the largest-ever multistate assessment with 14 participating states, will administer the exam to more than 110,000 students. The exam promises the ability to deliver a rigorous Algebra II assessment with college- and career-ready content, an ability to ensure rigor and compare performance across the states and an ability to signal readiness for postsecondary, credit-bearing coursework.

To read the full testimony and watch a video of the testimony, click here.

For a copy of Achieve’s recently released report, The Building Blocks of Success: Higher-Level Math for All Students, click here.

To learn more about Achieve, visit

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Created by the nation's governors and business leaders, Achieve, Inc, is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary success. At the 2005 National Education Summit, Achieve launched the American Diploma Project (ADP) Network, a coalition that has grown to 33 states, educating nearly 80% of public school students in the United States. The ADP Network is committed to aligning high school expectations with the demands of college, career and life. For more information, please visit