Jump to content

Menu

When do other countries teach Algebra 1?


Recommended Posts

I had a conversation with a friend earlier. She is far alg1 for all in 8th grade. Her thoughts are that since other countries teach alg1 successfully in 8th grade, the US can as well. Does anyone have a handy link of when Alg1 is first taught in other countries or know when it is taught in their home country or places they have lived? The major issue in this country is the poor elementary school math instruction that many students receive. However, even in the homeschool community, I thought that folks feel there is a level of maturity required for alg1, that even many kids that have had individual instruction are not ready for alg1 in 8th grade due to maturity issues.

 

Capt Uhura

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the norm now is alg1 in 7th for the accelerated track and alg1 in 8th for all others. I know my cousin had it in 8th grade down south.

 

My Aunt is teaching at a Community College. She is teaching remedial math to kids who supposedly passed Alg1 at their high schools. These kids can't add or subtract fractions, division is problematic, and pre-alg skills are weak to nonexistent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the norm now is alg1 in 7th for the accelerated track and alg1 in 8th for all others. I know my cousin had it in 8th grade down south.

 

My Aunt is teaching at a Community College. She is teaching remedial math to kids who supposedly passed Alg1 at their high schools. These kids can't add or subtract fractions, division is problematic, and pre-alg skills are weak to nonexistent.

 

I don't think the correlation is between the age when alg was taken first and poor performance later on. It may be a reflection on the educational system, but I don't think it is on age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the correlation is between the age when alg was taken first and poor performance later on. It may be a reflection on the educational system, but I don't think it is on age.

:iagree: I didn't mean to imply a correlation between age and later performance in alg1, just that our math instruction is so weak at the elementary level compared to other countries, that I don't know that it's w/in most kids grasp to take Alg1 in 8th grade. I know in my district, the middle school spends the time repairing the damage of Everyday Math at the elementary level.

 

And if all kids are taking alg1 in 7th/8th, what does that leave them taking in high school? Geometry/trig, algII (unless algII is in 8th), pre-calc, calculus, business math? I've not fully thought about high school math so everyone please correct if I'm wrong. But kids that I know of around here, I just don't see them excelling in that math sequence.

 

I'm not wedded to my ideas, just looking for information. At the RS website, Dr. Cotter says that if a child does Rightstart B-E, he is ready for alg1 mid-way through grade 5 w/ Videotext Alg1. I think the beginning chapters are pre-alg1 concepts however so I'm not sure if it's the same as going to Foerster's, etc.

 

It just seems to me that they are trying to fix the math issue from the top down when it would be better to start from the bottom up....w/ the Kers.

 

 

Oh, I just remembered. On the 2Million Minutes DVDs, there are pdfs with the full course of study of each of the 6 students profiled. I'll take a look at that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capt I took Alg in 8th and did well all the way through. I had a crummy 1st 4 years of el school and attended 4 districts over my 12 years...some good, some not so good. However, I ran into issues in graduate school...the kid from Ireland and the kid from China already knew the math we were expected to use, but we weren't really taught the math...just expected to absorb it. They were far ahead of us Americans.

 

Our district now offers Calc AB and BC and AP stats. The tracks are all online...I could send you a link via email. Brownie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are all students expected to take Calc AB etc?

 

I'm not talking about kids who are science/math bound. I'm talking about your avg-below avg urban kid in a poor environment. Do ALL kids in other countries take alg1 in 8th grade and go on through Calculus in high school?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The track for my graduating high school senior: preAlg in 7th (though he already knew all that math from afterschooling), Alg1 in 8th (ditto about knowing algebra), Geometry in 9th, Alg2/Trig in 10th, AP Calc AB in 11th and AP Stats in 12th. He finds upper-level math to be an enjoyable challenge.

 

The track so far for my sophomore dd at a different high school: preAlg in 7th (knew the math already), Alg1 in 8th (different teacher who didn't prepare her as well as ds's teacher did), Geometry in 9th, Alg2/Trig in 10th, PreCalc in 11th. I assume she'll take Calc in 12th. She does not like math at all but suffers through with good grades.

 

Dh and I are what is termed "mathy" so it follows that our kids should be more math-inclined that others.

 

Dd11 is far more accelerated than her brother. If he had been homeschooled in middle school, he would have entered high school testing out of geometry.

 

There is no single typical math track at both my kids' high schools. The students are placed according to their needs/abilities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took pre-algebra in 9th, algebra in 10th, both algebra 2 and geometry in 10th, and Trig/Pre-Calc- in 11th. Pre-Algebra was not taken by ANYBODY in our district until at least 8th so anyone who wanted to take calculus had to double up ALgebra 2 and Geometry in 10th. Only a handful of kids did that.

 

Our friend who brought this up failed to note that FInland also starts school at age 7 so their grade 8 would be the equivlanet of our grade 9, wouldn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Germany, there is no "algebra 1" - math is not compartmentalized in one year packages. Some parts of algebra 1 are taught in 6th grade (terms), linear equations in 7th, quadratics in 9th. Likewise, geometry is spread out - congruency theorems in triangles are in 6th, other stuff later.

This builds in a more continuous review.

Calculus is taught in 11th and 12th grades for the 50% of students who want to attend the university and are in a college preparatory high school. for the other 50%, school ends with 10th grade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My FIL took Alg1 in 6th grade back in England and he thinks he went up to Differential Equations in high school. DE wasn't even offered in my high school. That wasn't available until college.

 

I should also add that my friend's area is a university town I do believe so lots of engineers, scientists, PH.D.s.....a very different demographic than a more mixed, poor urban center.

 

Anyhow, my main thoughts were that I hear HSers looking for a gap year in math b/c DC isn't mature enough for Alg1 in 7th/8th grade. My friend stated in her blog entry that in Finland, there is an extra teacher in the classroom to help the students who are struggling w/ Alg1. I just wonder if they students wouldn't be struggling as much if they had another year or two in problem solving. It seems that there isn't much new material in grades 6,7,8 so if the elementary foundation is solid, there is no reason students couldn't move into a rigorous alg1 program in 7th/8th grade? That it really has nothing to do w/ maturity but rather the math foundation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Germany, there is no "algebra 1" - math is not compartmentalized in one year packages. Some parts of algebra 1 are taught in 6th grade (terms), linear equations in 7th, quadratics in 9th. Likewise, geometry is spread out - congruency theorems in triangles are in 6th, other stuff later.

This builds in a more continuous review.

Calculus is taught in 11th and 12th grades for the 50% of students who want to attend the university and are in a college preparatory high school. for the other 50%, school ends with 10th grade.

 

I just checked the courses for the Indian and Chinese students in 2MM. It only lists Math every year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked hubby (from Germany) and he doesn't know what I'm talking about. He said they just called everything math. He said is that with equations and stuff? I said yeah, I guess so. He said 5th grade. He said they never called any math class (except geometry) anything but math class.

 

I guess that isn't terribly helpful. ;)

:lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Germany, there is no "algebra 1" - math is not compartmentalized in one year packages. Some parts of algebra 1 are taught in 6th grade (terms), linear equations in 7th, quadratics in 9th. Likewise, geometry is spread out - congruency theorems in triangles are in 6th, other stuff later.

This builds in a more continuous review.

 

 

I asked hubby (from Germany) and he doesn't know what I'm talking about. He said they just called everything math. He said is that with equations and stuff? I said yeah, I guess so. He said 5th grade. He said they never called any math class (except geometry) anything but math class.

 

 

I went to school in France and :iagree:.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Our friend who brought this up failed to note that FInland also starts school at age 7 so their grade 8 would be the equivlanet of our grade 9, wouldn't it?

 

HHmm that's an interesting point.

 

I spoke w/ a teacher in a nearby district. She said what ends up happening is that the students are ill-prepared for Alg1. So the first half the year is pre-alg1, the 2nd half if Alg1. Then when they take Alg2, they have to cover all the missing content from Alg1. So while they graduate w/ completion of Alg2 on their transcript, it's not Alg2-worth of content.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to school in Austria. Agreeing with everyone--it is just called MATH. Even Geometry was just part of Math. Also, we did cover Algebra and Geometry by 8th grade. I do, however, think that the reason for this is that not all kids go on to a college prep highschool. For instance, I went to a business highschool. You still get a diploma but have different courses. We did not have math anymore. We had statistics, business math, accounting etc. instead.

 

FWIW, I do think that most kids can do Algebra in 8th grade; many even sooner. However, since all kids here go to a similar highschool I don't think it makes sense for all kids to do Algebra early. Some kids do not need higher Math, and (as CaptUrtha) said, what are they going to do in highschool. These kids should take Algebra early. However, there are many kids who will not (or can not) cover higher math. Imho, there is no need to rush these kids into it only to have to do more math later on. In short, as always, it depends on the kids and their (and your) goals and abilities.

 

Susie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems that there isn't much new material in grades 6,7,8 so if the elementary foundation is solid, there is no reason students couldn't move into a rigorous alg1 program in 7th/8th grade? That it really has nothing to do w/ maturity but rather the math foundation?

This is exactly what Wickelgren argues in Math Coach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband's family from the PI attended private catholic schools, so this may differ from public high schools there. They took the equivelent of Algebra I and II spread out through middle school. Geometry and Calculus were high school classes that were required. And then other math classes--accounting , statisics, ect--were optional classes also available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do ALL kids in other countries take alg1 in 8th grade and go on through Calculus in high school?

 

In the UK children can drop maths once they've reached GCSE level (age 16), calculus isn't introduce at all until after that. Brighter students in private schools can take IGCSE, which includes some basic differentiation. And its just 'maths' here too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wapiti - Do you have a link?

 

I only have a link to the Amazon preview, but it may include some of the relevant pages because they're right at the beginning: http://www.amazon.com/Math-Coach-Parents-Helping-Children/dp/B000BPG22O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304786391&sr=8-1#reader_B000BPG22O

 

and an old post in which I quote the book: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2231573#post2231573

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From looking at the Indian NCERT material, it appears that there is both simple algebra and geometry in year 7 and 8 math, which may be grade 6 & 7 when "translated" to American levels.

 

Their year 9 book has a more mathy look to it (more "adult" looking). It begins with a study of the number system, then move on to polynomials, coordinate geometry, linear equations with 2 variables, Euclidian geometry, lines & angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, area of triangles & quadrilaterals, circles, etcetc, then finish with statistics and probability, with appendices on proofs and mathematical modeling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It must be really hard to transfer public schools since there do not appear to be any standards from location to location. My youngest sister is just finishing 8th grade (public school.) In her school district the honors students take Algebra I in 7th and all others in 8th. Generally, only kids with IEPs would be taking Algebra I in high school. (And I guess those that transfer in from other school districts where Algebra I isn't taken in Jr. High. :confused:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys certainly aren't helping in my comparison! :lol:

 

The point is that the IS no comparison because many other countries split the material and teach whichever portions are age appropriate at the respective age.

To me, it makes a lot more sense to gradually introduce algebra concepts, the easier ones in earlier grades, and the harder ones later, than to wait with the easy stuff till the student is mature enough for the hard material, lump everything together in one year, and be forced to spend 3 years on "prealgebra".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point is that the IS no comparison because many other countries split the material and teach whichever portions are age appropriate at the respective age.

To me, it makes a lot more sense to gradually introduce algebra concepts, the easier ones in earlier grades, and the harder ones later, than to wait with the easy stuff till the student is mature enough for the hard material, lump everything together in one year, and be forced to spend 3 years on "prealgebra".

 

I actually think I like that system better! My friend said that other countries taught alg1 in 8th so I was looking for data on that but it appears that is not entirely accurate.

 

So this developmental/maturity readiness that I read about for algebra is false....and it's really a poor foundational skills.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this developmental/maturity readiness that I read about for algebra is false....and it's really a poor foundational skills.

 

Not entirely....there ARE more abstract concepts for which students are ready at a later age- but there also is a lot of easy stuff. Solving linear equations with one unknown is not all that difficult - but setting up complex ratio word problems is.

I notice this with DS who is taking algebra in 6th; there are a few things for which he is not ready, while he he breezing through a lot of the material.

One factor is also the maturity regarding careful writing down of all steps etc - this has nothing to do with abstract concepts, it is a work habit that some students do not develop until later

 

(The MAJOR factor, IMO, however, is usually the prealgebra foundation - for many students, it is not the abstract level, but poor arithmetic skills, especially with fractions, that doom them to failure. I have plenty of college students who have taken calculus and whose algebra skills are insufficient.. you'd think they should be mature enough, LOL.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked hubby (from Germany) and he doesn't know what I'm talking about. He said they just called everything math. He said is that with equations and stuff? I said yeah, I guess so. He said 5th grade. He said they never called any math class (except geometry) anything but math class.

 

 

Switzerland is the same.

 

From looking at the Indian NCERT material, it appears that there is both simple algebra and geometry in year 7 and 8 math, which may be grade 6 & 7 when "translated" to American levels.

 

Why? I would think it would more likely be 8 and 9 since lots of other countries start school at 7 instead of 6.

 

At any rate, the 7th grade in Switzerland is doing exponents right now, which I would call pre-algebra and the 10th grade is doing logs. Geometry is once a week for both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not entirely....there ARE more abstract concepts for which students are ready at a later age- but there also is a lot of easy stuff. Solving linear equations with one unknown is not all that difficult - but setting up complex ratio word problems is.

I notice this with DS who is taking algebra in 6th; there are a few things for which he is not ready, while he he breezing through a lot of the material.

One factor is also the maturity regarding careful writing down of all steps etc - this has nothing to do with abstract concepts, it is a work habit that some students do not develop until later

 

(The MAJOR factor, IMO, however, is usually the prealgebra foundation - for many students, it is not the abstract level, but poor arithmetic skills, especially with fractions, that doom them to failure. I have plenty of college students who have taken calculus and whose algebra skills are insufficient.. you'd think they should be mature enough, LOL.)

 

Yes! THat's what I was thinking but not articulately clearly....in a rush as usual. By giving concepts through late elementary and middle school, you can keep interest high but not spending years in pre-algebra, while also introducing topics as the students are ready for them. I completely agree about the readiness to write down steps. I'm fighting that battle right now w/ my DS.

 

Just the other day he worked a problem which I assumed he had wrong since he had no work, he did it all in his head. I wrote it out step by step to show him and I got the same answer as he did. He said, "yes, that's what I did but I just do it in my head." :001_huh: BUT BUT I do feel he'd be quicker if he wrote it down b/c he wouldn't lose calculations in his head and then have to start over or wouldn't lose it b/c of the slightest background noise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math is integrated in Italy too, called only "math". The treatment of each individual area is generally more loose than following the American model of studying one area per year (in schools which do not emphasize sciences), but things are intertwined.

 

However Italy generally fleshes out things totally differently in all areas, so it is hard to make any real comparisons. I think we did a mix of algebra and geometry in 8th/9th grade and further pretty much continued with it, then at some point it turned into trigonometry, and we finished with something about integrals (?! supposedly they no longer do it in classical schools, or they never did it in the first place and my school was an anomaly? no idea, I guess we will see when DD hits that age and we see her requirements), but I have no idea how we got there in the first place. I generally payed little attention to that class and we only had it twice or three times a week in a rather "condensed" form in lycee. By the end of pre-last year I totally zoned out of the class. My husband had integrated math too, but a lot more detailed and they went further I think.

 

Personally, I think average kids are ready for Algebra I in 8th grade, but then again, I have been known to overestimate kids since my own have "spoiled" me and probably upped my expectations too. I see nothing cognitively impossible for kids that age in Algebra I - or in most of Geometry, for that matter - provided they have a solid pre-algebra base.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(The MAJOR factor, IMO, however, is usually the prealgebra foundation - for many students, it is not the abstract level, but poor arithmetic skills, especially with fractions, that doom them to failure. I have plenty of college students who have taken calculus and whose algebra skills are insufficient.. you'd think they should be mature enough, LOL.)

 

It just seems to me that they are trying to fix the math issue from the top down when it would be better to start from the bottom up....w/ the Kers.

I wonder the same thing. I wonder if a better elementary arithmetic education that introduces the pre-algebra concepts earlier and in context would be the best solution. Then the student would be ready for algebra earlier than 9th grade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This isn't exactly answering the question, but just some insight. My mom is a retired math teacher of more than 30 years. She said that when NCLB came into play, they saw that students who took Alg. 1 in middle school, took higher math in high school and tended to be more likely to go on to college. Therefore the higher ups decided that everyone should take alg. 1 in middle school so they'd go to college! :001_huh: The problem was, the kids who tended to take alg. 1 in 7th or 8th grade were the advanced students--this was me. If I had been smarter about it, I would have finished high school with two semester of college calculus--I hated math though! My brother and sister on the hand were more average students and didn't take alg 1 until later in high school, when they were mathematically ready to do so. My mom has stated often how this "everyone must take alg 1 in middle school" has really messed a lot of kids up. It was uncommon for her some of her alg students to not know their multiplication tables or how to divide, they just kept getting pushed through the system. I think they're starting to come around though. Since it's obvious that not everyone can do calculus, the high school she was at is bringing back their consumer math classes to help those kids who need the credits but aren't ready for higher level math.

 

As for Europe, I know when I taught 5th grade at an international school, my Turkish kids were YEARS ahead of the Americans--we used American texts and it was far too easy for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Taiwan, we don't call algebra, geometry, it is just math. and 6/7 grade i supposed are pre-algebra..it is very similar to how singapore PM, NEM set up. not all kids take calculus. Only those intend to go science/engineering/medical will take calculus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both DH and I grew up in Asia (although in different countries). We both had something like Singapore NEM type of math starting from 7th grade for everyone. If you wanted to go on to study science or engineering in college, you would have to complete calculus in high school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most states (44 out of 50) in the US have signed onto the Common Core Curriculum this year including my state. Instead of having Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry etc. in the public schools, it will be Math 7, Math 8, Secondary Math 1, Secondary Math 2, and Secondary Math 3. They will be integrated with Algebra, Geometry, and Data/Probability spread throughout all the courses. Students will finish this series in 11th grade with the option to take Pre-Calculus in 12th grade. There will be an honors sequence which will cover the Pre-calculus topics allowing the honors students to take Calculus in 12th grade. It lines up pretty closely to the Singapore NEM curriculum I think. I know that our local school district will be starting the transition next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most states (44 out of 50) in the US have signed onto the Common Core Curriculum this year including my state. Instead of having Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry etc. in the public schools, it will be Math 7, Math 8, Secondary Math 1, Secondary Math 2, and Secondary Math 3. They will be integrated with Algebra, Geometry, and Data/Probability spread throughout all the courses. Students will finish this series in 11th grade with the option to take Pre-Calculus in 12th grade. There will be an honors sequence which will cover the Pre-calculus topics allowing the honors students to take Calculus in 12th grade. It lines up pretty closely to the Singapore NEM curriculum I think. I know that our local school district will be starting the transition next year.

 

how will I find if my state has the same thing? This will make much more sense to me since I grow up this way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most states (44 out of 50) in the US have signed onto the Common Core Curriculum this year including my state. Instead of having Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry etc. in the public schools, it will be Math 7, Math 8, Secondary Math 1, Secondary Math 2, and Secondary Math 3. They will be integrated with Algebra, Geometry, and Data/Probability spread throughout all the courses. Students will finish this series in 11th grade with the option to take Pre-Calculus in 12th grade. There will be an honors sequence which will cover the Pre-calculus topics allowing the honors students to take Calculus in 12th grade. It lines up pretty closely to the Singapore NEM curriculum I think. I know that our local school district will be starting the transition next year.

Do you have more information on this or a link to the scope and sequence? It sounds very interesting, I did not hear about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I checked our PS's math schedule. There are 5 tracks. The highest requires skipping 5th grade math in order to take Alg in 7th grade and calc in 11th. My limited knowledge of this group would indicate it is about 10% of kids (however over 80% of our graduates go to a 4 year college I think).

 

Everyone else gets a form of Alg1 in 8th with the lowest track

splitting algebra 1 over 2 years (8th and 9th grade).

 

Brownie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About 20yrs ago, I took Alg1 in 7th, Geometry in 8th, Alg.2 in 9th, PreCal in 10th, and Stats and something else (electives) in 11th. I graduated early and didn't go to 12th (did go on to college math just fine). The regular track for my cohort would have been to do Alg1, Geom., Alg2, PreCal, Cal, and Calc 2 as a senior. Most kids were one year behind us and so most kids, 20yrs ago, were taking Alg in 8th and graduating 12th with Calculus. Only kids who were significantly behind didn't do Algebra before high school.

 

I like the idea of a more integrated math instead of dividing things into such specific classes but I wonder how it will affect the homeschool curricula in the US and how people will need to do transcripts that colleges will understand and won't seem weird.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting! So it seems from this small sample size that Alg1 in 8th is already pretty standard. I feel like I've been living under a rock!

 

So perhaps the issue that HSers have is not one of maturity, but access to higher math classes. If, as a HSer, you do alg1 in 8th, geo/trig in 9th, alg2 in 10th, pre-calc in 11th, and calc in 12th....and doubling up somewhere to do a stats/probability course, many HSers would be faced w/ going to CC for these advanced courses? And if you start the sequence in 7th grade, you'd run out of math courses that are easily self-taught. Don't you need 4 high school credits in math for college entrance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually think I like that system better! My friend said that other countries taught alg1 in 8th so I was looking for data on that but it appears that is not entirely accurate.

 

So this developmental/maturity readiness that I read about for algebra is false....and it's really a poor foundational skills.

 

I'm sort of confused as to what you are actually looking for :confused: but I did want to pt out that there are lots of math programs that do teach pre-alg skills throughout elementary grades. This is precisely what is done in Horizons. I'm sure that H is not unique and that plenty of other programs do the same thing. I think the biggest issue here is that American schools no longer focus purely on academics. They are a grand social experiment w/o grades, competition, etc.

 

As far as the maturing/development issue, from what I have witnessed in my own family (my only source of real info), age and readiness for alg have been completely unrelated. I watch for readiness skills, particularly in the primary grades, but I have never had a child that wasn't ready for alg after Horizons 6. My kids have been between 9-12 when they have taken their first alg course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sort of confused as to what you are actually looking for :confused: (You and I both! :lol:) but I did want to pt out that there are lots of math programs that do teach pre-alg skills throughout elementary grades. This is precisely what is done in Horizons. I'm sure that H is not unique and that plenty of other programs do the same thing. I think the biggest issue here is that American schools no longer focus purely on academics. They are a grand social experiment w/o grades, competition, etc.

 

As far as the maturing/development issue, from what I have witnessed in my own family (my only source of real info), age and readiness for alg have been completely unrelated. I watch for readiness skills, particularly in the primary grades, but I have never had a child that wasn't ready for alg after Horizons 6. My kids have been between 9-12 when they have taken their first alg course.

 

This is what I was getting at. I'm in the process of reassessing my belief that alg1 for ALL (not talking about the higher-end kids) is not a good thing. That there is a certain level of maturity required that many kids don't reach until high school. This is not from any experience I have, just from some limited reading.

 

I watch for readiness skills as well for math, similar to how I watch for those skills for teaching reading. But since PS is based on age, that's what we have to go on. My DS will be doing AoPS intro to Alg1 as a 7th grader. He'll be more than ready but I think there are some things in MM6A/6B we should cover as well as do some Problem Solving books (Zaccaro etc) and finish up Rightstart Geometric Approach.

 

Anyhow, I've read of several math teachers complaining that Alg1 has been dumbed down significantly so that everyone can take it in 8th grade....it made me question whether alg1 for all in 8th grade was a good idea. But I'm concluding that it's not a developmental window (generally speaking) but rather a poor foundation in elementary school.

 

I just didn't realize that so many schools already had alg1 in 8th grade as a standard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From looking at the Indian NCERT material, it appears that there is both simple algebra and geometry in year 7 and 8 math, which may be grade 6 & 7 when "translated" to American levels.

 

Why? I would think it would more likely be 8 and 9 since lots of other countries start school at 7 instead of 6.

 

I based my statement on what I've been told, especially on these boards, including by people who are from India / whose husbands are / who live there. Per wikipedia, "In India elementary schools provide education from Class 1 to Class 7. The children in these classes are generally aged between 5 to 12 years," and "CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) classifies Middle School as Class 5 to Class 8 (typically ages 10–13)."

 

From the level of Y1 math in the textbooks I've seen, it is not really the level for 8 year olds. It's quite simple. Feel free to look for yourself and decide, because it doesn't really matter for American homeschoolers how the Indian government uses the books in Inida.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the 1980's in California, I took Pre-Algebra in 7th grade and Algebra 1 in 8th, which was the honors track. Most students took Pre-Algebra in 8th and some in 9th grade.

 

In the 1980's in Poland, my partner reports it was all just math.

 

About 10 years ago, also in California, I taught middle school math in a low-income underperforming school. It was untracked, so all of the kids were in the same class. The new NCLB testing extravaganza in California had just started and we were told that we had to teach the kids the pre-algebra syllabus. It was actually a good challenge for about a third of the kids and just out of reach for a third of them and absurd for the rest of them. A few of the kids were working at about a first grade level.

 

Here in our more affluent "educationally progressive" district, all kids are placed in an untracked 6th grade math with "Connected Math". Then in 7th grade, there are three tracks called Transition Math 1, 1.5 and 2. It's a two-year pre-algebra program. The top tier moves out some of its kids into Algebra in 8th grade, otherwise, all kids start Algebra in 9th grade (either as a one or two year sequence). Keeping in mind that all of the kids came from using TERC Investigations in elementary, it does make sense to prolong the pre-algebra... since they presumably have some deficits in math fluency.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I went to prep school in the '80s, everyone took Algebra in 8th grade. Honors classes were more theoretical. However, SSAT's were a significant factor in admissions. My dad tells me that in the 50's at the Philip's Academy at Andover (sibling school of Exeter) calculus on the level of AP was not even offered. But then again, he majored in Math to study computer science because there was no separate department then. Even when my brother was in college in the 90's computer science was still associated with the Math department at the engineering school he attended.

 

Math, like science, has moved forward. There is more total math content known and therefore teachable than their used to be. This affects what is taught in school all the way down. I studied in high school biology things about DNA that my mom's cousin worked on for her PhD research.

 

However, it isn't just added knowledge. Most math programs no longer teach (or at least require mastery of) methods for finding approximations of square and cubic roots. Most biology programs teach much less taxonomy than my mother had to learn. There is an effort to streamline teaching to that which is foundational or theoretically important for higher level study of the subject.

 

In the case of math, I think treating arithmetic as if it isn't foundational and necessary to the understanding of algebra is the major failing of much the curriculum presently used in public schools.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...