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Algebra I in 8th grade -- normal or advanced? Should we automatically do this?

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What are the reasons for doing Algebra 1 in 8th grade? Is this what is expected nowadays? If you have a child who probably isn't going into a math or science field (still making As in math, but seemingly more gifted in other areas), should Algebra 1 still be completed in 8th grade? Do they need to take Algebra 1 in 8th to do well on the PSAT?

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I don't know what is "normal" (my kids took algebra 1 in 6th and 7th grade).

I would have a student take algebra 1 in 8th grade if, and only if, the student had mastered pre-algebra and was proficient in arithmetic both with integers and fractions. If that is the case, I see no reason to not let the student do algebra. OTOH, if this is NOT the case, advancing the student to algebra will not be successful.

So, YOUR student's time table depends on YOUR student's mastery of math.

 

I see one drawback of holding a student back who would be ready: spending another year on pre-algebra skills that have already been mastered can be very boring and may turn the student off math. That is something i see happening in public school a lot.

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What are the reasons for doing Algebra 1 in 8th grade? Is this what is expected nowadays? If you have a child who probably isn't going into a math or science field (still making As in math, but seemingly more gifted in other areas), should Algebra 1 still be completed in 8th grade? Do they need to take Algebra 1 in 8th to do well on the PSAT?

 

In my area, Algebra 1 is typically begun in 9th grade; however, the schools offer various advanced and remedial math tracks as well.

 

I'm not sure about what level should be completed to do well on the PSAT, though.

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I rather have students begin Algebra 1 in 9th grade-- and make an A instead of beginning it in 7th or 8th and make a B.

 

While a B is an acceptable grade-- it still means that 10-20% of the material was not mastered. What may seem like minor mistakes can quickly snowball as the speed picks up in the higher math levels.

 

If Algebra 1 is worked in 9th grade and the student 'suddenly' discovers a passion for something Math and Science related, Geometry is easily worked concurrent to Algebra 2 (as long as time is set aside for 2 SEPARATE courses)...

 

It is NOT the end of the world if a pre-med student does not take Calc in high school-- they just take it in college the semester before they need to take the calc-based physics.

 

It is AMAZING how the maturity of 'one more year' can make a world of difference in how easily the concepts are learned and applied.

 

The majority of 7th graders are NOT ready for Algebra 1-- even if they know their basic facts... and if they 'survive' Algebra 1-- very few 8th graders can handle a rigorous Geometry class (their logic is just not that developed)-- and VERY FEW 9th graders can handle the abstract equations in Algebra 2... and even fewer 10th graders can handle the rigor of Pre-Calc... sure their are always exceptions....

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Around here in the public schools Alg 1 is typically done (and many times expected) at least in 8th grade.

If student is ready for Alg 1 in 8th, I would have him take it. Even if he doesn't plan to go into Science/Math field, he can get done with math much sooner in high school, i.e, Algebra 1 - 8th, Geometry (or Alg 2) in 9th, Algebra 2 (or Geometry) in 10th. This is what he needs to have completed to do well in PSAT. Maybe that's all the math he'll do. He will still complete three years of math. It leaves more room 11th and 12th to pursue other areas.

 

But if not ready, as mentioned, don't do it in 8th.

 

Sylvia

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The college-bound students in the public schools around here generally take Algebra I in 9th grade. That was the same sequence that we took 40 years ago when I was in school.

 

In some districts around here, the most advanced students will take Algebra I in 7th grade.

 

The reasons to do Algebra I in 8th grade are to allow the student to get to either Calc in high school. However, you can do geometry and another math concurrently, but that takes up an elective spot that would otherwise be open.

 

Reasons not to do it: some students who would totally "get" it if started later, will flounder if started earlier. How to figure out what kind of student you have is the big question. My first ds was the flounder type. Next ds did fine. I'm doing Algebra I now with my 7th and 8th grader, but am watching like a hawk for an accumulation of "little" mistakes, in which case, we will just slow way down. I didn't do that with ds #1 because he had always been great in math, but he had a bad case of that middle school lost-brain syndrome. I should have eased up and I pushed forward, not knowing any better. He never did *terribly* (got at least high 80%'s on all tests) but he didn't totally *get* it either. It cost him later.

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A lot of schools around here don't have the resources to teach Alg I in 8th grade, so the kids in those schools don't even have the option. They all seem to make it into college just fine.

 

Do it if your child is ready. Wait if they're not. It's really not a big deal, even for kids going into math heavy fields. Colleges are perfectly happy to teach the kids calculus when they get there. They don't need to do it in high school. (Doing AlgI in 8th grade, if you follow the general sequence, gets the kids into calculus in 12th grade. Otherwise, they finish with precalc and do calc in college.)

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I think that having a solid foundation in ALL the pre-algebra topics is more important than when they take algebra. So if they need more work on fractions, decimals, percentages, etc. then do that in 8th. If not, do algebra. If you find they're not ready, you can always do more pre-algebra work.

 

It's possible to complete calculus in high school with Saxon since the geometry is incorporated into the other texts.

 

9th - Algebra I

10th - Algebra II

11th - Advanced Math

12th - Calculus

 

Many people suggest taking two years to complete Advanced Math, but it has the same number of lessons as the others and can be completed in one year as well.

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Others have mentioned (and I agree fully) to choose by whether or not the student is ready.

 

However, for your question regarding "normal..."

 

In our local ps:

 

Talented math kids take Alg 1 in 7th (only one class of these)

Normal math kids take Alg 1 in 8th

Less math talented kids take Alg 1 in 9th

 

I chose to do similarly with my boys. The two oldest took Alg 1 in 7th and did superbly throughout their math years.

 

Youngest slowed down to do Alg 1 in 8th and is now working very well in Geometry in 9th (he likes Geometry better than Alg). If it hadn't worked out well for him I was fully prepared to slow him down even more.

 

There should be no stigma about when it is taken. The choice should match the student.

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The local ps starts advanced students in Pre-Algebra at 7th, Algebra I in 8th. Dd is in Algebra I (8th) and I WISH she would not have started till 9th (transcripts would be easier for me).

 

I would not automatically do it. Ds is good at math, but we're not doing Pre-Algebra till 8th.

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Our local public schools offer Algebra I in 8th grade for advanced students. Very advanced students in 6th grade are offered a test to see if they can take Algebra I in 7th grade, and it is included on their high school transcript. My friend's son did that and is doing very well in pre-calc as a sophomore in high school now. But, he is an extremely advanced math student. Like the others said, I would not do it before 9th grade unless pre-algebra had been mastered. (In my own situation, we are repeating pre-algebra.)

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Both in my son's school and in the school I attended way back when, Algebra I in eighth grade was the typical advanced track. (Typical as opposed to a special accommodation.)

 

The on-grade-level-but-not-advanced track took Algebra I in ninth grade.

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I am working with the local public high school tryingto register DS for next year.

 

Here is what the college prep track is:

8th - algebra

 

If a B or better in Algebra (8th grade) then

9th- Honors Geometry

10th - Honors Algebra 2

11th - Honors Alegra 3/ Trig

12 - Honors Calculus and Statistics

 

if C in Algebra then

9th - Honors Algebra 1

10th - Honors Geometry

11th - Honors Algebra 2

12th - Honors Algebra 3/ Trig

 

Non-college prep track -

8th - Pre-algebra

9th - Algebra

10th - Geometry

11th - Algebra 2

 

Most non-college track students stop after 3 years of high school math

 

DS is taking Algebra 1 with me and we are hoping the school will place him in Honors Geometry. He does not want to retake Algebra 1.

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I'd do Algebra 1 in 8th grade hands-down. When my son began Algebra 1 and Physical Science in 9th grade I discovered that Algebra 1 would have been better suited to 8th grade and not 9th. Physical Science contains Algebra 1-level work, and Pre-Algebra didn't cut it; he couldn't do his science because he didn't have enough math. We had to switch my son out of Physical Science into Biology (no math in Biology) to give him a year to get up to speed in Algebra to be able to complete Physical Science.

 

BTW, we are using DIVE Science on CD because they are college preparatory. There is a chart with their recommendations for years to study which math and science course, www.diveintomath.com and click on Degree Plan.

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This is exactly how our public high school handles it. I'm doing Alg I next year with both my kids in 8th (with different curricula), and hoping that both get into Geometry, but if one ends up in Algebra again, at least she'll have company (but one can hope the realization that she might have to take it again will be incentive to not skip steps and check her work).

 

I am working with the local public high school tryingto register DS for next year.

 

Here is what the college prep track is:

8th - algebra

 

If a B or better in Algebra (8th grade) then

9th- Honors Geometry

10th - Honors Algebra 2

11th - Honors Alegra 3/ Trig

12 - Honors Calculus and Statistics

 

if C in Algebra then

9th - Honors Algebra 1

10th - Honors Geometry

11th - Honors Algebra 2

12th - Honors Algebra 3/ Trig

 

Non-college prep track -

8th - Pre-algebra

9th - Algebra

10th - Geometry

11th - Algebra 2

 

Most non-college track students stop after 3 years of high school math

 

DS is taking Algebra 1 with me and we are hoping the school will place him in Honors Geometry. He does not want to retake Algebra 1.

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From my research into every school in the area, Algebra I in 8th is normal for college prep track. The advanced kiddos take it in 7th. The regular track (not sure what it is called officially - non-college-prep) take it in 9th or 9th and 10th (over two years.)

 

I'd do Algebra I in 8th with the back-up plan of repeating it (always a good thing!) in 9th if needed.

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In our local ps Algebra I is offered at the 8th grade level. If "successful" they will take Geometry as a 9th grader. Our high schools do not offer pre-Algebra classes.

 

My 8th grade son is currently using TT pre-Algebra program, and I'm glad that we made this decision. Math skills have to be mastered; they should never be a race to finish. In this case we chose what was best for our child. If he decides to go with the higher math classes, at least we know he has the foundation.

 

Regarding the PSAT, it has both Algebra and Geometry questions on it, if memory serves me correctly. The 9th and 10th grade year are a sort of test drive, the junior year is the one that counts for National Merit Scholarships. If you did start Algebra I as a 9th grader, you would still be on track.

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What are the reasons for doing Algebra 1 in 8th grade? Is this what is expected nowadays? If you have a child who probably isn't going into a math or science field (still making As in math, but seemingly more gifted in other areas), should Algebra 1 still be completed in 8th grade? Do they need to take Algebra 1 in 8th to do well on the PSAT?

 

 

For college-track, this would be my goal.

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My two older girls are definitely mathy.

 

My oldest took Algebra I in ps in 7th grade, but although the title of the course was Algebra I, all she actually learned how to do in the class was punch problems into a graphing calculator. She couldn't do even the simplest problem without the calculator. I had her redo Algebra I at home the next year in 8th grade with Jacobs Algebra.

 

My middle dd did Algebra I in 7th and 8th grades. I planned for her to spend two years working through it because she was using two complete programs, Jacobs Algebra and Kinetic Books Algebra I. She actually ended up dropping Jacobs about halfway through.

 

I will probably start my youngest in Algebra I next year in 8th grade, but I will need to keep doing a prealgebra review. She is dyslexic and tends to forget things very quickly if she doesn't review them regularly. She is so sick and tired of fractions, decimals, and percents that she would NOT do well with year another year of just reviewing them. I expect that she will need a bit more than one year to finish Algebra I.

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