A comparative analysis of the transition from grade 8 mathematics to grade 9 algebra for students with and without specific learning disabilities
Because mathematics achievement in Grades 8 and 9 serves as a gateway into STEM programs, a quantitative causal-comparative research design was employed to examine the difference for the Grade 8 mathematics and Grade 9 Algebra I scores between students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and nondisabled students. The Grade 8 mathematics STAAR scores and Grade 9 Algebra I STAAR end of course (EOC) scores were compared for differences between students with SLDs and nondisabled students. The difference in scores of students who transitioned from Grade 8 mathematics in 2012-2013 to Grade 9 Algebra I in 2013-2014 were compared between students with SLDs and nondisabled students. The sample was a random 10,000 matched pair cases of students who took the 2013 Grade 8 mathematics STAAR and the 2014 Grade 9 Algebra EOC. The diagnosis of SLD was dichotomous. For Grade 8 STAAR Mathematics, four null hypotheses were rejected. Students with SLDs had higher average scores on patterns, relationships, and algebraic relationships as well as on probability and statistics. Nondisabled students had higher average scores for numbers, operations, and quantitative reasoning as well as for geometry and spatial reasoning with trivial effect sizes. For the STAAR Algebra EOC exam, all five null hypotheses were rejected.