Early math education is crucial for success in STEM.

Student learning math with NBA Math Hoops

The Problem

Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps persist in math education across the United States.

According to the 2022 National Assessment for Educational Progress - also known as the Nation's Report Card - students in 4th-8th grade have seen the largest decline in math proficiency since 1990. Achievement gaps are stark. Only 38% of Black 8th graders achieved math proficiency, compared to 74% of their White counterparts. Black students in the poorest cities performed even lower with only 20% of students scoring proficient.

Students in low-income communities face systemic inequality and a lack of high-quality educational opportunity. There is a distinct need for effective and engaging educational resources that work to address the STEM achievement gap and develop students’ passion for learning.

Percentage of 8th grade students deemed not proficient* in mathematics:

Chart showing percentage of 8th grade students deemed not proficient in mathematics

We must address disparate outcomes in mathematics for these underserved students.

Curiosity and enjoyment are integral to increased and continued engagement with STEM activities.

Students, particularly underserved students, need learning methods and processes which facilitate a sense of belonging and engagement with math.

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The Solution

NBA Math Hoops logo

Building algebra readiness through the NBA/WNBA.

Learn Fresh aims to narrow these gaps in the critical middle school years and improve academic success for students of color, girls, and those living in low-income communities. NBA Math Hoops presents a highly diverse community of athletes in a data-rich learning environment, while integrating their real-life performance statistics of professional athletes to provide an exciting, culturally-relevant “hook” that engages students of all genders and ethnicities. NBA Math Hoops is implemented in partnership with nearly 30 professional sports and entertainment organizations to create authentic and immersive learning experiences for students. The NBA Math Hoops experience develops students’ algebra readiness prior to entering high school, while strengthening important skills including self-regulation and executive function.

Students putting NBA Math Hoops board game together


of NBA Math Hoops educators report their students now find math to be more accessible, relevant, and engaging


gains in math fluency of basic operations among students participating in the NBA Math Hoops program


gains in higher order math skills related to statistics and data analysis among participating students


of students reported growth in in key attributes like leadership, grit, and resilience

Learn more about NBA Math Hoops.