Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Eric S. Glover

Committee Members

Jack Rhoton, James H. Lampley, Terrence A. Tollefson


An understanding of Algebra I and the role that this foundational course plays as an entry to the college preparatory pathway in secondary education and its influence on mathematical achievement is an integral component for the education of American youth in the global world of science and technology. Achievements in high school curricula are cumulative; each course completed determines which paths will be open to the student and which postsecondary education options will be available. In today's world, these options are necessary for the competitive world market. Algebra I is the prerequisite course for subsequent high school math pathways. Students exposed to higher level math and science pathways in high school score higher on college entrance exams such as the American College Test (ACT), and they are more likely to be successful in college due to greater competence in math (Conley, 2006).

This research examined the effect of early Algebra I exposure in the 8th grade on students in 2 city school systems in Northeast Tennessee. More specifically, this study explored the correlation between Algebra I completion in the 8th grade and subsequent student achievement. The number of math classes attempted by high school seniors and ACT achievement scores, suggested that early exposure to algebra yields more math class participation and higher levels of mathematic achievement.

This study found that students who successfully completed Algebra I in the 8th grade were able to earn more higher level high school math course credits than students who did not successfully complete Algebra I in grade 8. Successful completion of Algebra I in middle school allowed students to enroll in more varied and higher level math courses throughout their high school career.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.