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BJU and Dolciani Pre-Algebra


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#1 jer2911mom

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 02:00 PM

Hi,

 

We are using BJU Pre-Algebra (current edition) this year, and while the conceptual teaching is very good and the word problems are very challenging, it is taking a long time to complete the lessons, and we are burning out.  We are spending 2-3 hours on math each day by the time we teach the lesson (typically very long, covering too many concepts in one lesson), do the work, and correct the lesson.  Sometimes there is a quiz, too.  We started out not doing those, but felt the need to add them in because the tests often cover problem types not seen in any of the daily work, and sometimes those problem types are covered on the quiz.  We are finding the tests unnecessarily complex and sometimes tricky, requiring too many new concepts to be assimilated into solving one problem.  My dd will do fine on the chapter review but get frustrated with the tests because she is encountering problem types that she has never seen or worked before.  I understand using slightly different problems on tests, but some of these are nothing like what she's done in her daily work, and I feel like no amount of studying would have prepared her for these.

 

Can anyone compare BJU Pre-Algebra to Dolciani?  They seem similar in that BJU has A, B, and C problems, with the C problems being the most challenging.  BJU also offers minimum, standard, and extended problem sets for the daily work.

 

Is Dolciani any shorter to complete?  Does it have tests in the student book?  Are there answers in the back for the tests?  I don't see a solutions manual available anywhere right now.  I don't want to swap out longer BJU lessons for longer checking time due to lack of solutions and answers.

 

Thanks,

Kathy



#2 Zoo Keeper

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 03:05 PM

Sadly, the solutions manual for Dolciani Pre A is very, very, pricey. Gotta love all the price gouging.  :glare:

 

  The Teacher's Edition has the answers to all the problems in the lessons and reviews, but not the worked out solutions. Student book has the answers (not solutions) to the odds for the lessons and reviews. There are tests in the student text, but no answers given in the student book (test answers in the TE). I was able to work backwards from the answer in the TE most of the time, but some of those C problems were tricky.  :)  

 

 

 

I don't think that switching will solve the issue--I would chose a less challenging track (as outlined in the BJU TE), and edit the tests as needed.  Or just include some the C  type problems as extra credit.  Or do them together during class time. You don't have to do every problem in the book (or on the test) in order to cover the material adequately for YOUR student.  Most teachers in most schools edit the course material to suit the class they have--so can you. 

 

 


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#3 jer2911mom

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 06:28 PM

Thank you!  That's helpful to know the test answers are in the TE!  I do like having the full solutions in BJU, though.

 

We have been doing the extended track in BJU, but you are right, I probably need to cut back on that.  It requires all of the C problems, but odds or even on the others.  There is also a cumulative review each day that I forgot to mention.  They have them do odds or evens on that, too.  I'll try cutting back to odds or evens on the C problems.  There are also Dominion in Math problems that are mostly engineering applications so far, which I like, but since they are challenging and time-consuming, we have had to start working just one of those together.

BJU has told me the same thing, that the tests are meant to be edited by the teacher.  I found out their distance learning tests are different than their non-DL paper tests, because the DL teachers make their own tests.  From what I gather from the FB group, those seem to be more reasonable.  I think I will have to start editing our non-DL ones, which makes it less open and go for me, unfortunately, but I need to do what's best.  Some people use the chapter reviews as tests, but I feel like it's good for her to have the review before the test since it's a mastery-based program.  Another option would be to purchase DL and go that route, but I like teaching my dd so we can move on through things that she understands well and slow down where she needs more explanation.  I'll probably start making some of the test problems extra credit.  My dd has still managed to make in the 90s on them for the most part, so she's hanging in there on those; it's just that they frustrate her so because she is a diligent student and when there is something she hasn't seen before at all, it really throws her off and hurts her math confidence.  Sometimes she can still figure it out, but even doing the C problems and some of the Dominion through Math problems doesn't prepare her adequately for these tests.  I can't imagine what it's like for a child not even trying to do that track.  The test is the same no matter what level you are doing.  I do like that overall the program requires a lot of critical thinking, and puzzling through hard problems.  I think that has been good for her.  It's more that we just need to keep it manageable time-wise.  Thank you for the suggestion to scale back.  I think that is the confirmation I needed that we need to do that!


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#4 Zoo Keeper

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:39 PM

(waving my Magic Scepter of Math)  You have my blessing to slash and burn edit the tests as needed. ;)

 

Yes, the DLO tests are quite different from the pre-made test booklets.  I was given a set of DL materials to go with Algebra 1, and I was very surprised by how *easy* the tests were. 

 

And just in case you needed another option to chew on...you could use the previous edition of BJU Pre-A, and do the whole course as written (tests and all). It is still a good, solid course, even though it does not have the Dominion problems, or the harder C problems. 


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#5 jer2911mom

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:34 AM

LOL!  My dd would love for us to slash and burn the tests! :)  One other option is that there is a second chapter review in the Student Activities Manual that I could possibly use as a test.  I think when I compared it with the textbook chapter review for Ch. 1, there was a difference, but I can't remember which one was harder or more complete.

 

Wow, that's crazy that the DL tests are easy.  My dd would not like hearing that, lol!  These tests really push her to the limit.  I really don't understand why they are designed like this.

 

It's funny, I actually had a copy of the previous edition BJU Pre-A on hand from a friend at the beginning of the year and decided to go with this current edition.  I may have missed the boat there!   I ended up giving it back to her, and she passed it on to someone else.  The Dominion problems are a nice challenge, but completely unnecessary at this level.  My dd doesn't have the context for most of them to even make sense to her, and they usually require skills she hasn't learned yet.  Even some of the harder C problems are that way.  I've started noticing, too, that the harder C problems usually cover what is going to be taught in the next lesson.  My dd is not crazy about this "discovery" approach.  So I think cutting the C problems in half will help.  I just need to let that go, which for some reason is hard for me!  I think part of it is that I think she is capable of honors work, which the C problems are.  But the amount of time math is taking is just really getting ridiculous, and is completely sucking away any interest or enjoyment of math from her.  So I need to find a way to keep it manageable.  I hope the other levels aren't this bad!  I need to research that more, because I do really like the teaching overall.  I think they just try to accomplish way too much in this pre-algebra year.  I also have to be careful that we don't miss the foundation while trying to do the more challenging work.  There's just so much packed in each lesson!