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lakerks

Algebra I vs. College Algebra - what's the difference?

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This is why I ask:

 

There's another thread about the difficulty in enrolling in public school midway through high school and having the credits earned at home count towards the diploma issued by the public school.

 

In VA, the CLEP College Algebra test is an acceptable substitute for the VA Algebra I SOL test. (A score of 30 rates as proficient, and a 40 rates as advanced.)

 

But I thought "College Algebra" was something a person took after having taken lots of math in high school (through Calculus). If that's true, how would a student do on that CLEP test after completing only Algebra I in 9th grade?

 

Will any of you math people please enlighten me?

 

p.s. In case you're interested in the other substitute test options for more info:

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/substitute_tests/substitute_tests_verified_credit.pdf

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College Algebra is Algebra 3.

 

It is the first semester of a Pr-Calculus course.

 

 

Algebra for College Students on the other hand is a review of Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 with a tiny bit of Stats thrown in.

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But I thought "College Algebra" was something a person took after having taken lots of math in high school (through Calculus).

 

No. College Algebra is considered a remedial course and ranks below trigonometry and calculus. It covers the material of a basic algebra course.

 

You may be confusing this with Linear Algebra, which is an advanced course often taken after calculus.

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College Algebra is Algebra 3.

 

It is the first semester of a Pr-Calculus course.

 

Jann, can you clarify this for me:

I looked at the list of topics for the CLEP test

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/ex_ca.html

Which of these topics would you not have covered in algebra 2? (We are currently doing algebra 2 using Intermediate Algebra by AoPS, and it covers a lot more than what the CLEP exam tests... so I am confused)

Thanks!

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And I've taught the course before.. The names given to these courses are so confusing!

 

College Algebra follows Algebra 2. It is the first semester of a Pre-Calc course-- the other semester being Trig. The Pre-Calc text we used last year was also called 'College Algebra with Trigonometry' -- same texts different cover names to tailor it to different colleges. Page to page identical content-- SAME solutions manual too (it had both names on it!).

 

This course is OFTEN confused with "Algebra for College Students" or "Essentials of College Algebra" which are remedial courses (my oldest dd took "Algebra for College Students" in college!).

 

My 18yo dd is repeating Pre-Calc in college ( Texas A&M Corpus Christi)-- Calc is not a pre-req for her degree (she wants to be a dentist)-- but 2 semesters of Physics are required so she is taking College Algebra again this semester and Trig again next semester so the Trig will be fresh when she takes Physics next year. I'm trying to convince her to take Calc 1 in Fall 2012 to help with Physics 2...

Statistics is the ONLY math requirement for Pre-Dental majors at Texas universities.

 

Here is the link to the text dd's College Algebra class is using. It just happens to be a Lial text! (she used Lial for her high school Algebras and also for her Pre-Calc) She is using the most recent edition but most of the lessons are word for word the same as in the Pre-Calc text we used (3E hard back).

 

With Algebra in general, you cannot simply compare topics in TOCs.. the level of the text will determine the DEPTH of material... HUGE difference in Matrices/systems of equations taught in Algebra 1 and those taught in College Algebra (Algebra 3)!

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And I've taught the course before!

 

It follows Algebra 2. It is the first semester of a Pre-Calc course-- the other semester being Trig. The Pre-Calc text we used last year was also called 'College Algebra with Trigonometry' -- same texts different cover names to tailor it to different colleges. Page to page identical content-- SAME solutions manual too (it had both names on it!).

 

 

Thanks, Jann!

 

This course is OFTEN confused with "Algebra for College Students" or "Essentials of College Algebra" which are remedial courses (my oldest dd took "Algebra for College Students" in college!).

 

OK, I guess my thinking is clouded by teaching at a science and engineering school where College Algebra is considered a remedial course- it does not count towards the credits required for your degree, the requirements begin with calculus.

 

 

With Algebra in general, you cannot simply compare topics in TOCs.. the level of the text will determine the DEPTH of material... HUGE difference in Matrices/systems of equations taught in Algebra 1 and those taught in College Algebra (Algebra 3)!

 

Sure. Since you have the expertise, could you give me a heads up how AoPS intermediate Algebra compares with College Algebra? I know that the corresponding online courses is called algebra 3...

 

Thanks.

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I've been wondering if they've generally slowed down the math sequence since I was in school.

 

In my high school, if you took Alg I in 9th, you were still on track for Calculus your senior year. The sequence was Alg I/ Geometry/ AlgII/Trig / Calculus. There was only one level of calculus, so for more advanced kids who took Geometry in 9th, there was an additional 10th grade math class, Trig/Analytic Geometry. But no more Algebra. And no course titled "Pre-calculus".

 

I'm wondering if we covered all "three" levels of Algebra in regular Alg I/ Alg II. It seems that many school Algebra I courses these days don't actually cover all of the Algebra I texts, so much of that gets pushed into Algebra II (which wasn't even a full-year course when I took it), then what was Alg II is now called Alg III which gets combined with Trig to make "Pre-calculus". And if this might be an ironic result of trying to get more kids ready for calculus by making more kids who are unready for Algebra take it earlier, but then can't handle it and have to take the material more slowly...

 

What do you math experts think?

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In our area, College Algebra is remedial or Algebra 1 review. Algebra 3 is the term applied for advanced algebra taken for calculus.

 

Faith

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There has been a dramatic increase in the type/variety/number of college degrees that require Calculus.

 

Analytic Geometry has now been incorporated into other courses (it is rarely offered at the college level any more--back in the dark ages it was a co-requisite for Calc 1 at my university).

 

Introduction to basic Trig functions has been moved from Algebra 2 into Geometry. This allows more time in Algebra 2 for other function work.

 

The College Algebra part of Pre-Calc is now used to solidify basic Algebra and provides students with opportunities to develop higher reasoning skills (using their knowledge of Algebra). Same goes for the full semester Trig course-- it goes deeper than the Trig found at the back of some Algebra 2 texts-- and gives the students a broader platform of practice (increased reasoning skills).

 

Studies show that students who take Pre-Calc (College Algebra and Trig) have a better understanding (success/pass rate) in Calculus. Again, in the dark ages, students went from Algebra 2 into Calculus-- but a VERY VERY small percentage of students actually took Calculus!

 

IMHO there is NO need to rush the Algebra sequence. Even with my profoundly gifted students-- they do much better in college maths if they slow down and even RETAKE their Algebras (going deeper and using a different approach). Many students who are rushed get by with makings Bs and are moved along-- when, if given the chance to slow down, become A students with a much higher degree of understanding!

 

I cringe when I see that some school districts push Algebra 1 on 7th graders routinely (meaning not just the gifted ones). Most parents are not aware that students enrolled in "Pre-AP" classes are classified as special education students (gifted in this case) and this gives the school district MORE MONEY! It is not necessarily about giving American children a competitive edge--- it is about getting more $$$ per student into the school budget! :rant:

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They aren't saying on that chart that it is exactly equivalent, they are saying that it waives that test. They also have Calculus listed as a way to meet the Algebra I requirement, and those definitely aren't equivalent. :001_smile:

 

At my university, College Algebra is Algebra III. It is a prereq for Calc I, along with Plane Trig (unless you test into Calc.) There is also a remedial Algebra course, which is a 000 level course for no program credit, and an Intermediate (like Alg II,) which is a 100 level.

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I am using this as Algebra I for dc and based on what I read here, it seems more like the remedial college Algebra course being described rather than the Alg III (Pre-Calc/Trig) course. Am I right?

 

If so, then how do you qualify Lial's Intermediate Algebra? Would it be like Algebra II?

 

Back in my day the math sequence looked like this for the advanced student (regular started in 9th so no Calc reached).

 

8th - Alg I

9th - Geometry

10th - Alg I

11th - Trig (semester) and Math Analysis (semester) - I guess this is called Pre-Calc these days

12th Calculus

 

This was Virginia...

 

Thanks,

Pamela F.

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Beginning/Intermediate Algebra at college are basically Algebra I/II at the high school. Introductory Algebra is essentially the same as Beginning Algebra, with some very minor coverage differences. College Algebra and Precalc together cover a precalc class.

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Here in FL, for a BA degree you need 2 maths. The usual choices are Statistics, Math for Liberal Arts, or College Algebra (or above.) There is Intermediate Algebra which is an elective college credit class, but will not fulfill the required math. The ACT score required is a 19 for Stats or Interm. Alg.; 21 for College Alg.

 

The truly remedial classes (no college credit) are Basic Math, Intro to Algebra, Developmental Math I & II. I think they're phasing out the basic & intro classes & just going to the develop. sequence.

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Thanks everyone for the input.

 

Pamela - the math sequence you listed is like what I did as a student, only we called the 11th grade year "Trig/Alg III" (a semester of each), and I grew up in VA.

 

So do you math-oriented people think it would be a good idea for ds to take a CLEP test for math? And if so, when? (He just finished Saxon Alg 1 in case that makes a difference in your answer. He understood it and could work the problems, but it was very time consuming for him to do so.)

 

We've had zero experience with CLEP, AP, outside courses at the CC, etc, so I'm eager to learn from those of you who've been there.

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OP asked about the scope of the CLEP math exam.

 

I think from this list it would cover algebra 1 and geometry.

 

 

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/ex_cm.html

 

 

 

College Mathematics

 

 

Description of the Examination

 

10%Sets

 

  • Union and intersection
  • Subsets, disjoint sets, equivalent sets
  • Venn diagrams
  • Cartesian product

10%Logic

 

  • Truth tables
  • Conjunctions, disjunctions, implications, and negations
  • Conditional statements
  • Necessary and sufficient conditions
  • Converse, inverse, and contrapositive
  • Hypotheses, conclusions, and counterexamples

20%Real Number System

 

  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Odd and even numbers
  • Factors and divisibility
  • Rational and irrational numbers
  • Absolute value and order
  • Open and closed intervals

20%Functions and Their Graphs

 

  • Properties and graphs of functions
  • Domain and range
  • Composition of functions and inverse functions
  • Simple transformations of functions: translations, reflections, symmetry

25%Probability and Statistics

 

  • Counting problems, including permutations and combinations
  • Computation of probabilities of simple and compound events
  • Simple conditional probability
  • Mean, median, mode, and range
  • Concept of standard deviation
  • Data interpretation and representation: tables, bar graphs, line graphs, circle graphs, pie charts, scatterplots, histograms

15%Additional Topics from Algebra and Geometry

 

  • Complex numbers
  • Logarithms and exponents
  • Applications from algebra and geometry
  • Perimeter and area of plane figures
  • Properties of triangles, circles, and rectangles
  • The Pythagorean theorem
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Algebraic equations, systems of linear equations, and inequalities
  • Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, Remainder Theorem, Factor Theorem

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IMHO there is NO need to rush the Algebra sequence. Even with my profoundly gifted students-- they do much better in college maths if they slow down and even RETAKE their Algebras (going deeper and using a different approach). Many students who are rushed get by with makings Bs and are moved along-- when, if given the chance to slow down, become A students with a much higher degree of understanding!

 

 

My dd is taking Pre Calculus (it's a required course for Biology majors at UNT) this fall...she already did Pre Calculus here at home this past year using the Lial's Pre Calculus textbook (recommended by Jann...thanks...). She did great with the Lial's book. We decided (together, of course) that she would probably benefit greatly from retaking the Pre Calculus course in college for that deeper understanding and instructor guidance. She only has to take Calculus as her other math and a couple of Physics for non-majors courses...the rest are all Biology and Chemistry. She could have attempted to test out of Pre Calculus, but decided to solidify her skills while maybe having a bit of break on at least class...she is a starter on the UNT soccer team and will be traveling regularly...that means missing some classes on Fridays for about 3 months if the games are out of town.

 

My mantra has become---take math nice and easy...Jann has helped me realize this...thanks Jann...

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