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WWYD- Math Placement?


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#1 Paige

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:34 PM

My DDs(13) are going to 8th grade at school this year. They are, IMO, ready for Algebra, but they bombed the math placement test. This is no surprise- they are terrible test takers, inexperienced test takers, and both have serious anxiety (1 officially diagnosed, the other probably could be if I took her in). They tested with no accommodations and it was a preAlgebra test. The test did include things they didn't know, but I think it was probably just a difference in curriculum. Every "preAlgebra" course has to pick what to include so the test spent a lot of time on functions and graphing slopes with < and > and we never talked about either of those. On the other hand, we spent a lot of time working with radicals and exponents, and the test didn't ask about that. I think how to work with functions (the girls could do the math but didn't know the terminology so didn't know what was expected) and how to color a < or > graph of a line could be covered in 5min in an Algebra class.

 

At home, they do well with their homework and working out problems on their own in peace and quiet, but I quit giving them tests because they'd fail. What I did instead was give them end of chapter "review sheets" which were like a test but we didn't call it a test and they did fine with those. 

 

Last year we kept them home because I knew they'd fail the math test and refused to have them placed lower. We didn't even bother testing because I knew without accommodations that they'd forget their names and it would be a waste of time. This year we have to put them in school. And...one of the girls literally didn't even put her own name down correctly on the test! Anxiety really messes with her. She wrote my name down instead of her own so I got a report about my child, Paige. LOL! That should have been the school's clue- they didn't have a Paige testing! 

 

So, would you:

 

1. Pitch a fit and be "that" parent who insists on a higher placement? It would be a fight and I'm not sure I'd win. They offered to let the girls begin in the lower level and be bumped up if they show they are excelling, but I think that would put them at a far greater disadvantage than starting high and going backwards if they can't hack it. I also think they don't mean it.

 

2. Say screw it all and let them take the easy class because they are terrible test takers and, maybe, an easy class would help their test taking skills improve because of reduced anxiety. IMO, they'd be at a disadvantage from this point on in HS and their options for higher math would be limited.

 

3. Allow them to be placed in the class but after school Algebra 1 with the intent of trying to test out of it next year. The hope would be that a year in school (and continued therapy for anxiety) would improve their test taking skills, the practice of math in the regular class won't hurt, and maybe there'd be less of a fight with the school. The negative would be that it would require a lot of after school work and they may lose their enthusiasm, and they still may not test well. However, as students with an IEP, they should receive testing accommodations next year which they didn't get this year. I also know from DS's experience that their Algebra test covers different things than my Dolciani text, but we may be able to mitigate that somewhat, and even with that DS passed, so the girls should too if they do well. 

 

 

We have to decide within a day or so- school starts Tues!

 



#2 Mabelen

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:57 PM

Do your either of your daughters have a preference? Would they be bored if the school math was too easy? Would they prefer it because it would lessen their anxiety?
Option 3 would probably be a good compromise if the girls have no clear direction right now.

#3 justasque

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:13 PM

If anxiety is an issue, and they've not been to school before, it wouldn't be the end of the world if they repeated Pre-Algebra.  There are lots of "school skills" to learn, and the extra year of honing math skills will make them that much more prepared for whatever math they do next year.  Option 3 might be a good plan - but remember they will have lots of homework and so on.  I would plan any after=schooling to include the summer months if possible.  Is there an honors pre-Algebra class?  If they have to re-take it, they should be in the most rigorous class possible.

I would also inquire as to various math paths through high school, how much flexibility there is to jump from track to track, and how they will mesh with other classes.  If they need to be in with the Algebra kids to make the rest of their schedule work (in other words, if they will be taking honors/advanced classes for other subjects), or if there is no path to Geometry in 9th, that might influence your decision.


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#4 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

It sounds like a tough situation. Were their scores borderline for passing (say 65/100 where 70/100 is the passing line) or did they properly bomb the placement test (say 65/100 where 85/100 is the passing line)? A borderline score with a child with anxiety is more reason to ignore the passing line than a score significantly below the cutoff.

 

Not every Pre-Algebra course covers the same material, but this Algebra class pre-supposes the knowledge on that test. How quickly do your girls pick up new information? If they need repetition and practice, going for the higher level isn't wise.

 

Being placed higher and having to move down can be a significant blow to self esteem. That wouldn't be the preferred path in any way. 

 

Unless there are significant outside reasons for them to be in Algebra this year, a year in Pre-Algebra sounds like a good option, particularly if they have the option of moving up if the level seems wrong. Homeschooling typically involves significant scaffolding from the parent/teacher and allows kids to work at a higher level than where they would be placed at a school, so it's not surprising that the placement isn't directly aligned with where you were working during homeschooling.


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#5 Mandamom

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:21 PM

As a math teacher, parent and former homeschooler, I think you should put them in the class they test in and let them have the easier class this year. Since they have issues with anxiety providing them a place to be successful may be a good thing. In addition, they can work out the dynamics of the school without having to worry about the math part of it. And, because every teacher is different, the year to solidify skills will be good. There is nothing wrong with Algebra in 9th grade. You can get all the way through trig and calc by 12th grade. If you need more math than that, you might be able to double up later. 

 

I was trying to get my daughter pre-tested out of Geometry and they wouldn't do it because our district will only accept classes given by them, no matter what. So, she's taking geometry even though she took it at a private school in middle school and usually gets 98% in math. 

 

 


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#6 EKS

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:30 PM

Not every Pre-Algebra course covers the same material, but this Algebra class pre-supposes the knowledge on that test. 

 

This is what I was thinking as well.  Slopes and functions are typically covered in the first semester of Algebra I.  If this particular school pushes that down into prealgebra, that could mean that the algebra class is starting with simultaneous equations or something else that's normally covered in the middle of the year.


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#7 Paige

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:48 PM

Do your either of your daughters have a preference? Would they be bored if the school math was too easy? Would they prefer it because it would lessen their anxiety?
Option 3 would probably be a good compromise if the girls have no clear direction right now.

 

They are conflicted. They don't want to spend a year doing what they already know, but they also kind of like the idea of an easy class. It's frustrating because they have so much anxiety that they studied nonstop for the test- they are very hard workers. But, like always, I watched them do well on all the pretests and practice tests (independently), and then they bombed the real one. We'd actually already begun Algebra this summer before they started studying for the placement test and they were doing really well. They are good with numbers if they can work alone, with low pressure, and just write it out, but if you put them on the spot they may not be able to tell you which shape is a square and which is a circle. 

 

They were unprepared because they did not realize the test would be taken at a school they'd never been to and with other kids until right before we left the house. I thought they knew, and it really freaked them out. It's probably my fault for not fully explaining what was going to happen. I think they totally bombed, but I don't know. I'm guessing because one even put down the wrong name for herself that her mind just went blank and the other scored similarly. 

 

I'll ask the school about option 3 and if it's possible to catch up in summer school or by doubling up later. I am concerned about how they'll handle a full load of classes with multiple tests. The doctor for one of them said she couldn't handle school full time last year because of her anxiety. She took 2 classes a semester instead and only one class had tests. Every time there was a test she'd (actually both of them) spend hours obsessively studying beyond the time when she knew all the material. I don't know how they could do that for 4-5 classes at once. I guess you all are right, however. Working on getting the anxiety under control in all their classes is probably more important than one grade level of math and I think the easier class would be less triggering.


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#8 Paige

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:58 PM

This is what I was thinking as well.  Slopes and functions are typically covered in the first semester of Algebra I.  If this particular school pushes that down into prealgebra, that could mean that the algebra class is starting with simultaneous equations or something else that's normally covered in the middle of the year.

 

My DS tested out of their Algebra and he said it was really weird. I don't think it is a particularly challenging course based on what his peers in Alg 2 and Geometry know, but they focus on weird stuff that isn't normally in Algebra and skip over other stuff that usually is. He said his test was very heavy on statistics and probability of all things- wanting z-scores and t-scores and asking about sampling types, but the test didn't have him factoring or using the quadratic equation. He had done AOPS so he's solid in Algebra but he said more than anything the test was just odd. 

 

TBH, I wouldn't put them in this school except DH is adamant that they go. He thinks it will help their social anxiety and is insisting on giving it a chance. I've had my way of keeping them out for several years and their anxiety has only increased so I'm going to let him try it his way for now. 


Edited by Paige, 30 August 2017 - 09:59 PM.


#9 wapiti

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 10:09 PM

I would try for #1 (BTDT, kind of, multiple times) with the backup being #3.  It's an awkward "that mom" conversation, to be sure.  Mostly, the response depends on the perspective of the school.

 

ETA, I'd also look at differences in sequence between what you know they know and what the school teaches for prealgebra and algebra 1 (even, or especially, if you afterschool alg 1 and will need them to pass a high school placement test in one year).  I think it would be much easier to afterschool alg 1 on top of a school repeat of prealgebra in 8th than it would be to shoehorn in an additional year of high school math during high school to get to calc in 12th.  (Check the high school's math track)


Edited by wapiti, 31 August 2017 - 02:36 PM.


#10 Arcadia

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 10:31 PM

My DS tested out of their Algebra and he said it was really weird. I don't think it is a particularly challenging course based on what his peers in Alg 2 and Geometry know, but they focus on weird stuff that isn't normally in Algebra and skip over other stuff that usually is. He said his test was very heavy on statistics and probability of all things- wanting z-scores and t-scores and asking about sampling types, but the test didn't have him factoring or using the quadratic equation.

My older kid's public school end of course algebra 1 test has probability and statistics. Their pre-common core public school algebra 1 and algebra 2 textbooks were geared towards ACT and SAT.

As for math placement, I would be more worried about anxiety than math and would just catch up with light afterschooling followed by a summer intensive. I would be pushing test accommodations before pushing math placement as I am assuming that class tests would be unpleasant for your children too due to anxiety.
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#11 SKL

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 07:44 AM

Is Algebra in 8th the norm for the school or is it advanced?

 

If it is the norm, and your kids are at least normal in intelligence and achievement, I would probably insist on them starting in Algebra.  Perhaps it would help if you brought in some evidence of what they have done, and also any evidence that the test scores are likely inaccurate.

 

If Algebra is an advanced class, I might take the route of letting them prove themselves and then either get skipped or test out of Algebra.

 

It sounds to me like they have a lot of challenges regardless of the fact that some of their knowledge seems advanced.  It sounds like they do have some things to learn in pre-algebra.  So unless there is something I don't know, I don't think it would be a tragedy to review some things they do already know.  As a person who spent most of my school career reviewing what I already knew, and the parent of a kid who has always been years ahead of her classmates in many respects, I can say it isn't ideal, but it is probably going to be OK.


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#12 Bluegoat

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 08:17 AM

I'd let them do the easier class, and I don't think I'd after school it.  They may have plenty to get used to, and less time, being in a new school.

 

ETA- but I would agitate to get some help with the test issues.  Not necessarily accommodation, but looking to improve.


Edited by Bluegoat, 31 August 2017 - 08:19 AM.


#13 Paige

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:23 AM

Algebra is the middle level math; they were placed in the lowest. It's called "advanced Algebra" but I'm not stupid. Most kids take Algebra, the advanced kids take Geometry, and the rest take "8th grade math."

The school has seen their doctor's notes and has agreed that they need an IEP and testing accommodations and perhaps some other support in school but they will provide nothing if they aren't enrolled full time. This means they had to test into school w/ no accommodations but next year and throughout the year would be different. We had already established and agreed on a plan last year but when I found out they'd have to test into school before any of that went into effect I decided not to enroll them.

#14 wapiti

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:41 AM

Reading your OP again, this definitely sounds to me like the difference between a common-core-ish sequence and the traditional sequence.  The test anxiety is a separate matter and will have to be dealt with regardless.  I would meet in person with whichever math teacher or math department chair is friendlier and make your best case, promising to teach that 5 min of topics, bring samples of their work, etc.  (BTDT, taught the topics right before the middle school's placement test, no problems; still the middle school's default position was to place on the lower level until I pushed back during the first week of school - boring for them - and at that point, the school gave in easily, probably tired of standing firm against pushy parents.)  The worst they can do is say no, in which case I'd afterschool alg 1, though afterschooling in 8th gr would be a chore to avoid if possible.


Edited by wapiti, 31 August 2017 - 09:42 AM.


#15 SKL

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:52 AM

Given that it's the norm for 8th graders to take algebra, I would push back and insist on it.  It seems unethical to me to deny a kid the chance to enter the normal class, and this also smacks of discrimination.  I agree that if you push back like you mean it, there is a good chance they will back down on this issue.  I would insist because tracking a kid in a slower academic track has negative long-term effects on their self-image as well as their academic achievement.  

 

Plus, I agree that afterschooling would be a significant burden that you may or may not have capacity for.  What happens if you can't get it done due to homework or other requirements or just plain exhaustion?


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#16 Paige

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 10:30 AM

Reading your OP again, this definitely sounds to me like the difference between a common-core-ish sequence and the traditional sequence.  

 

That is definitely a big part of it. The school would also not provide us with a syllabus, study guide or any information about what would be on the placement test so that we could look for areas of curricula mismatch before the test. In addition to that, the high school counselor told me when DS tested that they receive a lot of complaints from parents of kids coming from other states that their tests do not match what is normally taught in other places for each year. They think it makes them more advanced, but IMO, it is just different and more often than not focused on less important skills. Who doesn't consider factoring and the quadratic formula important enough to include in an Algebra post-test? 

 

The kids asked for a definition of a function during the test and were told that they could not explain that, but they were given a sheet full of formulas that they had already memorized that I guess the county kids were not expected to come in knowing. They just didn't know the terminology- functions, once defined, are simple. As someone who went straight from 6th grade math to Algebra 1, however, I'm coming from a perspective/bias that Prealgebra is basically a waste of time for many kids, so it all seems ridiculous to me to keep a kid behind for nitpicky little reasons. Although I think Prealgebra is generally unnecessary, I taught it to these two kids because I know they need to feel really comfortable and low stress, but even they don't need 2 years of it. DS didn't do Prealgebra and I wouldn't bother with my youngest DD if she were still home. 

 

I've sent an e-mail to the very nice counselor at the HS they'll go to next year to see if option 3 is a viable choice. It's up to them and not the middle school so I won't bother asking the middle school about it or informing them about it if we decide to go that route. 


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#17 wapiti

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 10:47 AM

The problem (for you/us) with Common Core was that it pushed a few of the simpler alg 1 topics (like definition of a function) down into middle school.

 

On the high school angle, should it come to that, I wouldn't feel the need to disclose the afterschooling possibility, at least not yet.  I'd just ask what the process is for math placement testing as most high schools have such a process (and sometimes it's in APRIL rather than August!).  If you don't hear the "right" answer from the counselor, email a math teacher or the math dept chair at the high school to ask.  Also find out what text/program the high school uses for alg 1 - ETA, this is a better question for a math teacher as they are more likely to tell you - they want to be helpful, whereas the counselor may not even know.  Sometimes that's not the whole story - if by any chance you know someone with a child there in 9th this year, see if you can get your hands on a syllabus or final exam review, anything.  Sometimes you can find stuff with creative googling and/or poking around on the school website (e.g. clicking on teachers' names to see if you can hunt down a class web page).  If you can't get any info, I'd use, say, last year's exams from NYS Regents for placement test practice - they are available on line.

 

And yes, a lot of the differences to pick up on will be language-oriented, names for things, ways problems are worded, not exactly mathematical depth.

 

ETA, on emailing math teachers, I would try to figure out who teaches alg 1 and then start out such an email with something like:

 

"question from prospective parent

 

Hello Ms. Smith,

 

We are trying to make decisions about high school and it would help us greatly if we could know what math program(s) your school uses, especially for Algebra 1.  If you could shed some light on what the school uses we would be so grateful!!

 

Thank you very much!"


Edited by wapiti, 31 August 2017 - 10:59 AM.

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#18 Paige

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 11:09 AM

The HS counselor just responded (so much nicer than middle school) and said the girls would not receive credit for Algebra 1 but could opt to test out of it if they wish and study on their own. If they had taken it through the middle school, they'd receive credit, but that is irrelevant to us as we'd want them to take 4 years anyway. 

 

Oh, I asked DD why she put my name on her test- she said she didn't. She left the name blank purposefully because she didn't want them to know who she was! She thought it was none of their business. :eek: They must have found her via process of elimination and knew I had 2 kids but didn't know her first name.  

 

I'm relieved to know that option 3 is viable if the school won't relent. 


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#19 Arcadia

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 11:34 AM

Also find out what text/program the high school uses for alg 1 - ETA, this is a better question for a math teacher as they are more likely to tell you - they want to be helpful, whereas the counselor may not even know. Sometimes that's not the whole story - if by any chance you know someone with a child there in 9th this year, see if you can get your hands on a syllabus or final exam review, anything.

Sometimes the teachers won't know. My kids public school teachers didn't know until the week before school started. The district office curriculum purchasing dept does know. That school principal did know but he is a curriculum junkie so he knew because he was involved in curriculum shopping.

My oldest was the first batch to use Envision Math from Kindergarten. The district changed the curriculum in 2009 and bought all k-5 kids the new books. The common core came and all the Math and English textbooks were changed with some state funding allocated for changing to common core materials. That was in around 2012. California gives out textbook funds every five years (unless they change funding rules) and so this year would likely be new English and Math books again.

We have a black market for school exams papers. So placement tests tend to be generated a few days in advance since the schools are in tune to how tutoring centers prep for placement tests. Placement test prep is good business.

ETA:
Math drill tests was daily and class tests was almost weekly here. That's why I said focus on test accommodations first.

ETA:
Webpages and SARC are not updated frequently. So old information is there.

Edited by Arcadia, 31 August 2017 - 02:07 PM.


#20 Heigh Ho

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 11:49 AM

Call the high school math dept chairperson and make an appointment. Go in with your list of topics covered. Ask this person to look it over, and considering the other factors, recommend level and instructor. Schools have a lot of pressure to place students where they will succeed, and its not a big deal to make up a unit for a transfer student who has the ability and the motivation. Do not let the guidance counselor decide anything..they go with the lowest placement in order to guarantee a pass.

From what you have posted, I would pick honors 8th math. That would make everything up and set them up for honors algebra success. They can always take geo the same year as alg 1, that's the usual path for people transferring from middle class districts to title1/wealthy districts in my area. An alternate path is to skip precalc/college algebra and go to calc, but that is for strong students or those who did precalc over the summer.

Edited by Heigh Ho, 31 August 2017 - 12:01 PM.


#21 wapiti

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 11:57 AM

We have a black market for school exams papers. So placement tests tend to be generated a few days in advance since the schools are in tune to how tutoring centers prep for placement tests. Placement test prep is good business.

 

Fascinating.  Wish I had thought to get tutoring before a couple of placement tests - not that I couldn't do it myself, but if I had found someone who might know about the particular school's placement tests, and then, being not mom, could make them do more sufficient review, that would have been huge.


Edited by wapiti, 31 August 2017 - 11:57 AM.

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#22 justasque

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 12:08 PM

...

 

Oh, I asked DD why she put my name on her test- she said she didn't. She left the name blank purposefully because she didn't want them to know who she was! She thought it was none of their business. :eek: They must have found her via process of elimination and knew I had 2 kids but didn't know her first name.  

 

...

 

It's always surprising the stuff that hsed kids don't know about school culture and routines!  But on a serious note, given that one data point plus the anxiety issues, it sounds like there will be a STEEP learning curve for your DDs.  Try to think through all of the little things they might not know, to give them a basic heads up - things like how and when to use the bathroom (ask for pass, etc), how to use the cafeteria, common seating arrangements (assigned vs not) and how to choose a seat, what to carry to class and what to leave in the locker, when to visit the locker to switch up, details about the bus if they will be riding it, some potential questions about homeschooling from teachers and peers and how to answer them, and so on.  Make sure they have phones so they can text you between classes if they are in a pickle and need help (if that is allowed).  Go over the student handbook with them and interpret the whole thing with further info if needed.  If they have a friend who could help them acclimate - like sitting with them at lunch, advice on what not to wear, and so on - all the better.  If they can go the day before school starts and have the counselor show them their classrooms, in the order they will visit them throughout the day, helping them to make a strategy for locker usage etc., that might be super-helpful to minimize anxiety.

I was a little confused about the tracking - I gather 8th graders do Geometry (most advanced), Algebra 1 (middle kids), Pre-Algebra (lowest kids), or 8th grade math?  Did I get that right?    Another option would be to put them in 7th but in more advanced classes.  It would give them another year of secondary school, but they could be on a higher track.  My worry is always that a lower track will cover less material, in less depth, and leave them further behind the bulk of their peers at the end of the year.  In other words, Alg 1 at a lower track level is in no way equivalent to Alg 1 at a higher track level - sometimes they have very little in common.  Public school is all about grouping kids by age and ability, and if you are outside the normal framework, going in mid-stream late in the K-12 sequence, it makes it very hard to get the education you are capable of receiving.


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#23 Paige

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 12:11 PM

 I would pick honors 8th math. 

 

There is no honors 8th grade math. It's honors Algebra or Geometry, or basic 8th grade. I also should check and see if they could go on to other honors classes if they stay in 8th grade and don't test out of Algebra before HS. DS wanted to take Algebra 2 during the summer but was told that since the summer school Algebra 2 was not honors, he could not go on to honors PreCalc or Calc after that (since honors PreCalc is a prerequisite for honors or AP Calculus), and it would mess up the rest of his schedule. 

 

The girls want to after school Algebra and I'm comfortable with my old Dolciani, so we may go for that. I'll have a meeting with the school next week and touch base with their currently assigned math teacher and see what she thinks. 


Edited by Paige, 31 August 2017 - 12:12 PM.


#24 EKS

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 01:36 PM

If this is a public school, the curriculum materials it uses should be public knowledge.  If it is a charter, it may be different.

 

Our district has a page on its website listing all of the approved instructional materials by course/grade/subject.

 

Also I've found that you can frequently look on teachers' websites and find syllabi and textbooks.



#25 Arcadia

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 01:50 PM

Fascinating. Wish I had thought to get tutoring before a couple of placement tests - not that I couldn't do it myself, but if I had found someone who might know about the particular school's placement tests, and then, being not mom, could make them do more sufficient review, that would have been huge.


OT, a sad yet funny quote from a math test prep center.
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#26 Heigh Ho

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 03:38 PM

There is no honors 8th grade math. It's honors Algebra or Geometry, or basic 8th grade. I also should check and see if they could go on to other honors classes if they stay in 8th grade and don't test out of Algebra before HS. DS wanted to take Algebra 2 during the summer but was told that since the summer school Algebra 2 was not honors, he could not go on to honors PreCalc or Calc after that (since honors PreCalc is a prerequisite for honors or AP Calculus), and it would mess up the rest of his schedule.

The girls want to after school Algebra and I'm comfortable with my old Dolciani, so we may go for that. I'll have a meeting with the school next week and touch base with their currently assigned math teacher and see what she thinks.


Disregard if this is a jawm.

Dept chair at high school will have good idea of best fit in cohort for ability and prep and can override gc. 8th grade teacher does not have that view.

Dolciani is nice..at what point do you plan to let them learn how to learn in a classroom? Around here, folks don't - they put their dc in highest level and pay the tutor. Alg 2 is where they fail hard as its too fast.
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#27 Paige

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 03:55 PM

Disregard if this is a jawm.

Dept chair at high school will have good idea of best fit in cohort for ability and prep and can override gc. 8th grade teacher does not have that view.

Dolciani is nice..at what point do you plan to let them learn how to learn in a classroom? Around here, folks don't - they put their dc in highest level and pay the tutor. Alg 2 is where they fail hard as its too fast.

 

Uh...I'm enrolling them in PS. All their classes will be in a classroom except Alg 1 if we do that at home. :confused1:  They had 2 classes in a classroom last year too: 1 academic and 1 elective a semester. I guess they learned in those classes- they got As. 

 

I want them to be in an appropriate class and have no doubt they could succeed in the Alg 1 classroom now. Their only problem is with tests (and people, and anxiety)- not classwork. They would succeed in the 8th grade math class too, but they would basically be taking a year off to just review if we don't do anything at home. 



#28 Heigh Ho

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 06:44 PM

Uh...I'm enrolling them in PS. All their classes will be in a classroom except Alg 1 if we do that at home. :confused1: They had 2 classes in a classroom last year too: 1 academic and 1 elective a semester. I guess they learned in those classes- they got As.

I want them to be in an appropriate class and have no doubt they could succeed in the Alg 1 classroom now. Their only problem is with tests (and people, and anxiety)- not classwork. They would succeed in the 8th grade math class too, but they would basically be taking a year off to just review if we don't do anything at home.


Pardon me, I should have typed when do you plan to let them learn MATH in the classroom.

If you don't have the topic list that they are supposed to have mastered before 8th math class, you don't know if they will succeed in gap filling and learning new material. I bring this up because I know several parents who pulled strings for placement, ignored the teacher and used a tutor for 8th alg, and it was a long term fail because the hardworking dc couldn't overcome the gaps despite passing grades. Its one thing to lose a semester at college starting in pre-calc, its quite another to flunk out of 4 yr nursing school due to math gaps since (in this area) no other 4 yr nursing program will take them.as a transfer. Far better to gain the firm foundation and enter college ready for calc. And don't assume the 8th math is for strugglers...here its for students who are gap filling. Strugglers are in double period math classes plus a supervised study hall with a math tutor. Meet with the math dept chair at the high school...they have an excellent grasp of their program and won't give you a bum steer. I won't post again, but I can't jawm. Math foundation is too important.
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#29 MarkT

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:46 AM

I didn't read all the replies but if they are hard workers then I would suggest you do some "after-schooling" with more challenging material.

Rotting away your brain with just the easy class is not a good option.

 

In the end, they need to learn how to take tests or it will be a long miserable road ahead of them.



#30 Paige

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 12:02 PM

An update:

We have decided to after school Algebra. I think it will be for the best and it's the choice both of them preferred. Their first week in school was really stressful, so I think keeping the anxiety down is the priority for this year. DDs have both said that their math classes look like they will be super easy. Still, however, one DD has e-mailed her teacher twice already because she made a mistake on a problem and remembers that she did it wrong when she comes home; things like simple transcription errors or multiplying when the problem says to divide- nothing conceptual but things anyone may do here or there and would usually not think twice about. She thinks about it all night and worries about going to class the next day and facing the teacher after those little mistakes. She put one answer in the wrong spot- above or below the line, I think- and wrote "I'm so sorry" all over her paper a million times. Like I said above- the actual math isn't the problem; it's being asked to perform or do math with people around. 

 

Both of them have said that after looking through the book for the year that the material is nothing new and is all very easy. The school has been very proactive now that they are enrolled with setting up testing accommodations and other classroom accommodations to help their anxiety. They could see right away what I had been talking about and wanted to step in immediately. I have been impressed with the school's efforts to help them. I think having an easy class and testing success this year will build their confidence, they'll have accommodations if needed when they try to test out of Algebra next year, and I think they will do much better with a year's experience. After seeing them in the first week, however, I think new material in school right now would make them worse. All of their classes will be fairly easy and they can spend their energy working on their mental and emotional health. 


Edited by Paige, 10 September 2017 - 12:03 PM.

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