Key points:

Students need algebra, but many get “stuck” as they learn

Offering tutoring, particularly high-dosage tutoring outside of school hours, could help

See related article: 5 ways virtual tutoring reinforces our after-school program

Since the pandemic, students have struggled markedly in math, particularly algebra. According to NAEP Mathematics Assessment data, eighth-graders’ algebra scores were eight points lower in 2022 than in 2019. According to the Nation’s Report Card, the average eighth-grade mathematics score was lower than all previous assessment years—going back to 2003.

As a gateway content area, algebra prepares students to tackle advanced study in calculus, physics, and other subjects—yet it often is a sticking point for many middle and high school students. Without a solid understanding of algebra, many students find that they get stuck in their math studies.

To help, here are five tips to help students who are struggling with algebra right now:

1. Encourage open and honest communication. Much of the commentary about learning loss leaves students out of the conversation. Students feel the effects of interrupted learning, and that they are committed to overcoming those challenges.Students’ openness about their struggles aids in their academic growth. When they feel comfortable asking questions or saying they don’t understand something, they demonstrate a mindset that they are genuinely motivated to learn.