The way we teach math and how we measure that success is changing
Since 2010, a number of states across the nation, including California, have adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics. The Common Core standards are not curriculum - curriculum is what teachers actually follow, or do, in the classroom, and what students do at home - Standards simply articulate what we want students to learn.
The slogan of Common Core Math is "fewer, higher, deeper" — a smaller number of more rigorous standards with a focus on both understanding and application. In math, the standards are designed to be coherent and connected in a consistent sequence, with concepts that build on each other from grade to grade.
The data below is for the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance after completion of 8th grade. Though Common Core Algebra 1 is now a course which is taken after the Common Core Math 8, the test does include algebra content. According to William G. McCallum, a mathematics education professor at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, and one of the lead writers of the common standards "there's big confusion between the Algebra 1 course with a capital A and algebra, the mathematical subject. If you follow common core, there's now tons of algebra content in the 8th grade."