California’s educational standards and assessments, as well as its accountability policies related to mathematics achievement, are designed to advance the expectation that all 8th-graders will take algebra. Then, like all California students in grades 2 through 11, they are assessed through state testing to determine the extent of student learning of the algebra standards, as part of the school- and district-wide accountability requirements. The State’s accountability rules penalize schools and districts for having 8th- and 9th-grade students take the California Standards Test (CST) for General Mathematics, which assesses California mathematics standards in grades 6 and 7. As a result of this policy, the percentage of 8th graders taking the CSTs for Algebra I has steadily risen, from 32% in 2003 to 59% in 2011. But is this an effective policy for increasing student achievement?