From this website, http://www.homeschoolwithsaxon.com/index.php , I came across this article about Saxon sequencing. Down towards the bottom it talks about the different editions.
WHICH SAXON MATH BOOK FOLLOWS MATH 76?
HOW CAN STUDENTS OVERCOME THEIR DIFFICULTY WITH ALGEBRA?
When John Saxon published his original series of math textbooks, they were designed to be taken in order from Math 54 to Math 65, followed by Math 76, then Math 87, then Algebra 1/2, then on to Algebra 1, then Algebra 2, followed by Advanced Mathematics (which, coupled with Algebra 2, gave the high school geometry and trigonometry credits) culminating with the calculus textbook for some students.
The books were not originally intended to be "grade" oriented textbooks, but were intended to be taken in sequential order based upon a student's knowledge and capabilities without regard to the student's grade level. But schools and homeschool educators quickly assigned Math 54 to the fourth grade level, Math 65 to the fifth grade level, Math 76 to the sixth grade, and Math 87 to the seventh grade level to be followed by the pre-algebra course titled Algebra 1/2. When the new third edition of Math 76 came out in the summer of 1997, it was much stronger academically than its predecessor, the older second edition textbook. It did not take long for confusion to develop around which textbooks were now the correct editions to be used and what the correct sequencing would be.
In the thousands of telephone calls I received over the years I served as Saxon Publishers' Homeschool Curriculum Director for Math 76 through calculus, the question that arose most often among classroom teachers as well as Homeschool educators was whether the student should go from the new stronger Math 76 book to Math 87 or to Algebra as both the Math 87 and the Algebra 1/2 textbooks appeared to contain basically the same material. Adding to the confusion, after John Saxon's death, was the fact that the new soft cover third edition of Math 87 had the title changed to read Math 8/7 'with pre-algebra.'
So what Saxon math book does a student who has completed Math 76 use? Well, that depends upon how well the student did in the Math 76 book. The key word is "successfully completed," not just "completed" Math 76. If a student completed the entirety of the Math 76 textbook and his last five tests in that book were eighty or better, he would have "successfully completed" Math 76 and he could move on to the Algebra 1/2 book. However, if the student's last five test grades were all less than seventy-five, that student has indicated that he will in all likelihood experience difficulty in the Algebra 1/2 materials and should therefore proceed first through the Math 87 textbook.
While both the Math 87 and the Algebra textbooks will get the student ready for the Algebra 1 course, the Math 87 book starts off a bit slower with more review, allowing the student to "catch up." The student who then moves successfully through the Math 87 textbook, receiving eighties or better on the last five tests, can then skip the Algebra 1/2 book and move directly to the Algebra 1 textbook.
However, if the student finishes the Math 87 book and the last five test grades reflect difficulty with the material, that student should then be moved into the Algebra 1/2 book to receive another - but different - look at "pre-algebra" before attempting the Algebra 1 course. Students fail algebra because they do not understand fractions, decimals and percents; they fail calculus because they do not understand the basics of algebra. Attempting to "fast track" a student who had weak Math 76 test scores - into Algebra 1/2 - then on to Algebra 1, will most certainly result in frustration if not failure in either Algebra 1/2, or Algebra 1.
So what have we been talking about? If the students have to take all three courses (Math 76, Math 87 and Algebra 1/2), how will they ever get through algebra 1? When I taught Saxon math in a public high school, we established three math tracks for the students. Fast, Average, and Slower math tracks to accommodate the difference in learning styles and backgrounds of the students.
Listed below are the recommended three math tracks. Please note there are no grade levels associated with these courses, but Math 76 was generally taught in the 6th grade at the middle school. The course titled "Introduction to Algebra 2" was the student's first attempt at the Algebra 2 course which resulted in low test scores, so the course was titled as an "Introduction to Algebra 2" on the student's transcript and the student repeated the entirety of the same book the following year. Over ninety-five percent of all these students received an "A" or "B" their second year through the Algebra 2 course. In the ten years we used the system, I only had one student who received a "D" in the course and he did so because he did little or no studying the second year and still passed the course with a 65 percent test average.
I will make you the same promise I made to the parents of my former students. If students can accomplish no more than "mastering" John Saxon's Algebra 2 course by the time they are seniors in high school, they will pass any collegiate freshman algebra course from MIT to Stanford (provided they go to class). Remember, they can still take calculus at the university if they have changed their mind and need the course in their new major field of study. And because they now have a strong algebra background, they will be successful!
FAST MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra - Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus - Calculus. NOTE: The Saxon Advanced Mathematics textbook was used over a two year period allowing the above underlined two full math credits after completing Saxon Algebra 2. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 5)
AVERAGE MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Math 87 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra - Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 4)
SLOWER MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Math 87 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Introduction to Algebra 2 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 4)
NOTE 1: YOU SHOULD USE THE FOLLOWING EDITIONS AS THEY ARE ACADEMICALLY
STRONGER THAN THE EARLIER EDITIONS ARE, AND MIXING THE OLDER EDITIONS
WITH THE NEWER EDITIONS WILL RESULT IN FRUSTRATION OR FAILURE FOR THE
Math 76: Either the hardback 3rd Ed or the new soft cover 4th Ed. (The Math content of both
editions is the same)
Math 87: Either the hardback 2nd Ed or the new soft cover 3rd Ed. (The Math content of both
editions is the same)
Algebra 1/2: Use only the 3rd Edition. (Book has the lesson reference numbers added)
Algebra 1: Use only the 3rd Edition. (Book has the lesson reference numbers added)
Algebra 2: Use either the 2nd or 3rd Editions. (Content is identical. Lesson reference numbers
added to the 3rd Ed)
Advanced Mathematics: Use only the 2nd Edition: (Lesson reference numbers are found in
the solutions manual, not in the textbook)
Calculus: Either the 1st or 2nd Edition will work. However, if the student uses my DVD tutorials,
they will need the 2nd Edition textbook.
NOTE 2: WHEN RECORDING COURSE TITLES ON TRANSCRIPTS, USE THE FOLLOWING TITLES:
Math 76: Record "Sixth Grade Math."
Math 87: Record "Pre-Algebra."(If student must also take Algebra 1/2, then use "Seventh Grade Math")
Algebra 1/2: Record "Pre-Algebra."
Algebra 1 & Algebra 2: Self explanatory.
Advanced Mathematics: Record "Geometry with Advanced Algebra" (1 credit) if they
only complete the first 60 - 70 lessons of that textbook.
Record "Trigonometry and Pre-calculus" (1 credit) if they have
completed the entirety of the Advanced mathematics textbook.
Under no circumstances should you record the title "Advanced Mathematics" on the student's transcript as the colleges and
universities will not know what math this course contains, and
they will ask you for a syllabus for the course.
Calculus: Self explanatory.
Each child is unique and what works for one will not always work for another. Whatever track you use, you must decide early to allow students sufficient time to overcome any hurdles they might encounter in their math journey before they take the ACT or SAT. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call me at (580) 234-0064 (CST) and leave your telephone number and a brief message and I will return your call.