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Algebra I in 8th grade


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Is this the standard scope & sequence, or slightly advanced?

 

Pretty standard. I have my guys cover algebra over two years, 7th & 8th grade, using Lial's Introductory Algebra with Key to Algebra workbooks added in for reinforcement. Students are often rushed through algebra; it's worth taking more time with it so they gain a solid foundation.

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Okay, I have another question. How do you know when they're ready for pre-algebra and algebra?

 

The curriculum's placement test should determine which level is suitable. If your child is close, then you could work on the skills needed to place them at the level.

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Okay, I have another question. How do you know when they're ready for pre-algebra and algebra?

 

Prealgebra is fractions, decimals, percent, negative numbers. A student is ready for that of he has mastered arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with positive integers.

 

When the student has mastered arithmetic with positive and negative integers and fractions, including decimals and percent, he has the prerequisites to start algebra.

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When I was in school...20 yrs ago...students taking Algebra 1 in 8th grade were able to take Calculus as a senior. The sequence was:

Algebra 1

Geometry

Algebra 2/Trig.

Math Analysis

Calculus

 

And when I was in school, about 40 years ago, no one took Algebra before 9th grade, that I recall. I don't think we even had Calculus.

 

Times have changed....

 

That said, my son is doing Algebra 1 this year, as officially an 8th grader, though he is in several high school classes. He wants to get through calculus or even higher.

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I think Algebra 1 readiness depends upon the curriculum. Different curriculum have different scope and sequences for pre-algebra and algebra 1

 

Yes, this does depend some on your current curriculum's scope and sequence. However you can always deviate from that if you think your child is ready and has mastered the fundamentals of arithmetic which regentrude mentioned.

 

For example I see that you are using CLE which can drag out Pre-Algebra for two years. They even call it 7th and 8th grade Math. However I know a number of parents have either accelerated this by combining both into one year or skip either CLE 700 or 800. Then move into Algebra *before* 9th grade. Our two daughters are using CLE and we will most likely do something similar once they finish 600.

Edited by dereksurfs
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In California, according to the State testing website (STAR):

8.1% of 7th graders take Algebra 1

58.9% of 8th graders take Alg. 1

 

I looked at various counties and found that certain counties such as Santa Clara county where Silicon Valley is located has 13% of 7th graders taking algebra while other counties have 4% of 7th graders taking Alg. 1. In my local ps district Alg. is NOT offered to any 7th graders. This is one of the reasons I hope to homeschool when my kids are in middle school.

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In Florida - standard track in Algebra 1 in 8th. Whether all kids should be expected to do this is different issue - but it has become normal.

As for how to prep - really good pre-algebra in 7th.... sorry - I know - really obvious :)

Here's a rather complete explanation of what should be covered in pre-algebra:

 

http://www.aplusalgebra.com/california-prealgebra-standards.htm

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Yes, this does depend some on your current curriculum's scope and sequence. However you can always deviate from that if you think your child is ready and has mastered the fundamentals of arithmetic whichh regentrude mentioned.

 

For example I see that you are using CLE which can drag out Pre-Algebra for two years. They even call it 7th and 8th grade Math. However I know a number of parents have either accelerated this by combining both into one year or skip either CLE 700 or 800. Then move into Algebra *before* 9th grade. Our two daughters are using CLE and we will most likely do something similar once they finish 600.

 

Thanks. I was looking ahead and thinking we'd go from 700 to Algebra I, but I wasn't sure. I hate to leave CLE at all!

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My husband is a math professor, and after 12+ years as a professor and additional years prior as a post doc, I can tell you that he, and the overwhelming majority of his colleagues in the math department are far more impressed with kids who take their time in math and learn math through trigonometry very solidly than they are with kids who have 1-2 years of calc and other fancy-pants credentials in high school, get to college, and more often than not have not nearly the clue they think they do, because they weren't really ready to wrap their heads around the material yet, had poor advanced courses, or rushed too fast through the earlier coursework without becoming truly, completely proficient in it before moving on.

 

The number of kids (even kids who score 4's and 5's on the AP test) who need remedial placement in "college algebra" or other courses or to retake calc, but struggle even there because the foundational courses they should have mastered in high school are simply not there is staggering.

 

If in doubt, don't rush. Being truly solid is far better in the long run than an impressive, but ultimately shallow transcript. I know parents are anxious to impress admissions committees, but ask yourself-- at what cost?

 

When in doubt, let mastery, and not what others are doing be your guide.

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My husband is a math professor, and after 12+ years as a professor and additional years prior as a post doc, I can tell you that he, and the overwhelming majority of his colleagues in the math department are far more impressed with kids who take their time in math and learn math through trigonometry very solidly than they are with kids who have 1-2 years of calc and other fancy-pants credentials in high school, get to college, and more often than not have not nearly the clue they think they do, because they weren't really ready to wrap their heads around the material yet, had poor advanced courses, or rushed too fast through the earlier coursework without becoming truly, completely proficient in it before moving on.

 

The number of kids (even kids who score 4's and 5's on the AP test) who need remedial placement in "college algebra" or other courses or to retake calc, but struggle even there because the foundational courses they should have mastered in high school are simply not there is staggering.

 

If in doubt, don't rush. Being truly solid is far better in the long run than an impressive, but ultimately shallow transcript. I know parents are anxious to impress admissions committees, but ask yourself-- at what cost?

 

When in doubt, let mastery, and not what others are doing be your guide.

 

Jen, I so needed this. My son began Algebra I in the second semester of 8th grade. Now at the beginning of 9th, he is over half-way through Dolciani. I had originally planned on finishing it around December. Even though he is doing well, I've been feeling lately like I shouldn't rush, but take all of 9th to really solidify everything. I wasn't sure if I would be hurting or helping by doing that. Your post makes me feel much better about it. Thanks :)

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If in doubt, don't rush. Being truly solid is far better in the long run than an impressive, but ultimately shallow transcript. I know parents are anxious to impress admissions committees, but ask yourself-- at what cost?

 

Most students won't be taking the math major track, or even the engineering major track. So for them, it really IS more important to build up an impressive high school transcript so that they can actually have a chance at being accepted (no easy feat when the top colleges are rejecting 90+% of applicants).

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My husband is a math professor, and after 12+ years as a professor and additional years prior as a post doc, I can tell you that he, and the overwhelming majority of his colleagues in the math department are far more impressed with kids who take their time in math and learn math through trigonometry very solidly than they are with kids who have 1-2 years of calc and other fancy-pants credentials in high school, get to college, and more often than not have not nearly the clue they think they do, because they weren't really ready to wrap their heads around the material yet, had poor advanced courses, or rushed too fast through the earlier coursework without becoming truly, completely proficient in it before moving on.

 

The number of kids (even kids who score 4's and 5's on the AP test) who need remedial placement in "college algebra" or other courses or to retake calc, but struggle even there because the foundational courses they should have mastered in high school are simply not there is staggering.

 

If in doubt, don't rush. Being truly solid is far better in the long run than an impressive, but ultimately shallow transcript. I know parents are anxious to impress admissions committees, but ask yourself-- at what cost?

 

When in doubt, let mastery, and not what others are doing be your guide.

 

I needed to hear this also. My dd is scheduled to finish Alg 1 by Christmas in 7th grade. I think we need to do another Alg. 1 program to ensure that she really gets it. Besides Alg. 1 is probably the extent of my math skills and I'll need to farm it out after this.

 

Around here (Central Ohio), it is not yet the norm to take Alg. in 8th, although it is getting more and more common. Our local high school only goes through Cal. A/B. More advanced high school kids have to go to the university after that.

 

Laura

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Most students won't be taking the math major track, or even the engineering major track. So for them, it really IS more important to build up an impressive high school transcript so that they can actually have a chance at being accepted (no easy feat when the top colleges are rejecting 90+% of applicants).

 

:iagree:

 

It's not the math professors who are on the admissions committee. And the admissions committee at a selective college will be unimpressed by Algebra I in the 9th grade. The student would have to be very special in other ways to still be admitted. This was true even when I applied to colleges in the 90s.

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Most students won't be taking the math major track, or even the engineering major track. So for them, it really IS more important to build up an impressive high school transcript so that they can actually have a chance at being accepted (no easy feat when the top colleges are rejecting 90+% of applicants).

 

I think this is an unfortunate way to look at things, and I am always a bit baffled by the (what I feel is) hyper-emphasis at TWTM on getting into a top! selective! exclusive! university.

 

I went to a state school. My dh went to a private religious (but not overly selective) school. We are both doing fine. Even my sister, who has a PhD from an Ivy, went to the same state school I did. She got her Master's there, too. It didn't preclude her from any opportunities. Getting into college really isn't that hard unless you are only interested in a selective college.

 

My dd18 goes to a specialized college prep school. They don't teach algebra to most students until (everyone can faint now) 10th grade. They feel that the public school district doesn't adequately prepare students for algebra, so they spend all of 9th grade doing so. More than 90% of their students are admitted to 4-year universities, so they must be doing something right (and their target population is not academically advanced kids; it's kids who need extra help to become college-ready). Most of the kids graduate with algebra II being their highest-level math class.

 

I think students should take algebra when they are mentally mature enough for it, not when someone who doesn't know them determines it would look best on a transcript.

 

But then again, I don't care whether my kids go to exclusive universities.

 

Tara

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I think this is an unfortunate way to look at things, and I am always a bit baffled by the (what I feel is) hyper-emphasis at TWTM on getting into a top! selective! exclusive! university.

 

I went to a state school. My dh went to a private religious (but not overly selective) school. We are both doing fine. Even my sister, who has a PhD from an Ivy, went to the same state school I did. She got her Master's there, too. It didn't preclude her from any opportunities. Getting into college really isn't that hard unless you are only interested in a selective college.

 

My dd18 goes to a specialized college prep school. They don't teach algebra to most students until (everyone can faint now) 10th grade. They feel that the public school district doesn't adequately prepare students for algebra, so they spend all of 9th grade doing so. More than 90% of their students are admitted to 4-year universities, so they must be doing something right (and their target population is not academically advanced kids; it's kids who need extra help to become college-ready). Most of the kids graduate with algebra II being their highest-level math class.

 

I think students should take algebra when they are mentally mature enough for it, not when someone who doesn't know them determines it would look best on a transcript.

 

But then again, I don't care whether my kids go to exclusive universities.

 

Tara

 

Very interesting. Thanks for this post!

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And when I was in school, about 40 years ago, no one took Algebra before 9th grade, that I recall. I don't think we even had Calculus.

 

Times have changed....

 

That said, my son is doing Algebra 1 this year, as officially an 8th grader, though he is in several high school classes. He wants to get through calculus or even higher.

 

My dd is doing Algebra in 8th this year. I took it in 9th. It wasn't ALLOWED in 8th then. I still think Indiana considers 8th only for the "advanced" kids.

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It's not the math professors who are on the admissions committee. And the admissions committee at a selective college will be unimpressed by Algebra I in the 9th grade. The student would have to be very special in other ways to still be admitted. This was true even when I applied to colleges in the 90s.

 

My state still has Algebra I as the norm for 9th. When I was in school in the 90s, I took Algebra I in 9th and AP Calc in 12th (with geometry and Alg II/Trig inbetween). I had no problem getting accepted, and I was the ONLY freshman in my Calc 3 and Diff. Eq. classes.

 

Granted, I wasn't applying to "top selective colleges". I have friends that got into MIT with Algebra I in 9th, so I still don't think it's that big a deal, especially if you're in a state where Algebra I in 9th is still the norm. In those states where Algebra I in 8th is the norm, how many of those kids repeat it in 9th? :tongue_smilie:

 

Personally, my kids aren't likely to go to a "top selective college". A good state school is fine for them. In my time in the workplace as an engineer, most of my colleagues were from good state schools, not selective colleges. They were successful and were paid well. And once they have experience under their belt, the college they went to matters less and less. So I guess it depends on your profession (maybe it matters more if you're going into law or something). But I think the kid that is likely going to Harvard or MIT is probably not the type of kid that will have a problem with Algebra I in 8th grade anyway.

 

To the OP... I've heard of people using CLE 700 as "prealgebra", skipping 800, and going straight to algebra. So if your child is ready for algebra in 8th, you should be fine getting there with CLE at your current pace. But if she needs another year before Algebra, I wouldn't fret either. Afterall, pushing through something she's not ready for would be much worse than waiting and possibly not getting into whatever nebulous college isn't accepting Algebra I in 9th grade. ;) There are a LOT of choices out there for college.

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I think this is an unfortunate way to look at things, and I am always a bit baffled by the (what I feel is) hyper-emphasis at TWTM on getting into a top! selective! exclusive! university.

 

I went to a state school. My dh went to a private religious (but not overly selective) school. We are both doing fine. Even my sister, who has a PhD from an Ivy, went to the same state school I did. She got her Master's there, too. It didn't preclude her from any opportunities. Getting into college really isn't that hard unless you are only interested in a selective college.

 

Over half of the 2011 and 2012 graduates of 4 year colleges are still unemployed, and many more are underemployed. Do you think the chances of getting a good job after graduation are better as a graduate of a highly selective college or as a graduate of some no-name college?

 

My DH's employer only recruits at a handful of colleges, so unless the individual has family connections that he/she can rely on to bypass the normal recruiting channels, he/she would be S.O.L. as a graduate of any other college.

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Over half of the 2011 and 2012 graduates of 4 year colleges are still unemployed, and many more are underemployed. Do you think the chances of getting a good job after graduation are better as a graduate of a highly selective college or as a graduate of some no-name college?

 

Not necessarily - the major is the most important thing. My friend's daughter went to Columbia and spent years on underpaid temp jobs that had little relation to her sociology major. OTOH, a large portion of the students at the STEM state U where I teach have firm job offers already long before they graduate and often can pick.

 

In some fields, it may matter that the student went to an Ivy - in other fields, it does not. Our comp sci's are hired during their junior year; their younger classmates inform me that they can't think of a single graduate who did not get a job in his field upon graduation.

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I don't think most people would disagree that a student who is doing well in 6th grade math should go ahead and take pre-algebra with the goal of algebra in 8th. The kind of student who needs to stop and think about more pre-algebra before taking algebra is the kind of student who still struggles with arithmetic (especially fractions) and word problems. The kind of student who's working hard for a C in 7th grade pre-algebra.

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In the school district I live in, most kids start the Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus sequence in 9th grade. Advanced kids will start it in 8th grade. Very advanced kids will start it in 7th grade.

 

My oldest went to ps for 6th and 7th grades. She was in Algebra I in 7th grade. There was only one other kid in her school who was taking Algebra I as a 7th grader and they were both in a class full of 8th graders. If she had stayed in ps for 8th grade, they were going to bus her over to the high school just for math class so she could take Geometry.

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a graduate of some no-name college?

 

 

 

Oh, yeah, silly me. Why would someone waste four perfectly good years of their life getting a worthless education at some worthless school that just has the state's name slapped onto it? Wow. A no-name college? Really?

 

I think that it depends entirely on what you major in. Take students who studied philosophy at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale or social work at No-Name College and I'll tell you who my money is on to have a job after school. Yeah, social workers don't make much money, but not a lotta money and a job is a way better deal (imo) than a fancy degree and no job.

 

I don't want this to turn into some class war thing, but it really rubs me the wrong way when people look down their noses at regular universities. The economy is in the cr@pper. Everyone knows that. I honestly don't believe that, for most professions, it matters whether you went to a blue-blood college or not.

 

Tara

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In the late 80s, we were the first class with the option of algebra in 8th. It was the "new thing" :D. We had to complete the pre-algebra book over the first few weeks, testing out of much of it, then do algebra for the remainder of the year. That way, we could get to the (new!) calculus class they opened.

 

Around here, it is college-prep to do algebra in 8th and regular (not college bound) track to do it in 9th. It is remedial to do it over two years (Alg IA and Alg IB.) This is true of the smaller and bigger schools, public and private.

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Oh, yeah, silly me. Why would someone waste four perfectly good years of their life getting a worthless education at some worthless school that just has the state's name slapped onto it? Wow. A no-name college? Really?

 

I think that it depends entirely on what you major in. Take students who studied philosophy at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale or social work at No-Name College and I'll tell you who my money is on to have a job after school. Yeah, social workers don't make much money, but not a lotta money and a job is a way better deal (imo) than a fancy degree and no job.

 

I don't want this to turn into some class war thing, but it really rubs me the wrong way when people look down their noses at regular universities. The economy is in the cr@pper. Everyone knows that. I honestly don't believe that, for most professions, it matters whether you went to a blue-blood college or not.

 

Tara

 

:iagree: That's ridiculous.

 

Oh, and in regards to the OP, my 8th grader's school has 3 options for math: Prealgebra, Math 8 (Algebra 1 at a slower pace), and Algebra 1. Algebra 1 is an honors course. My son is taking Math 8 and has the option to test out of Algebra 1 at the end of the summer. FWIW, he has used TT as a homeschooler (did TT7 and TT Prealg before enrolling in the PS).

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In New York, the majority of students take the algebra regents (Integrated Algebra) in 9th grade. There are some students who sit the exam in 8th. Geometry is in 10th and Algebra 2 is in 11th. I believe calculus is offered in 12th grade for those who want it.

 

I am sure there are plenty of NY state kids who get into top colleges with that progression.

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I just looked at four area high schools (not including the ones in our district, which doesn't publish its course of studies) in four different districts. They all consider algebra in 9th grade to be the standard college-prep sequence. Two of the schools have an honors track that puts algebra in 8th grade. So I guess around here, algebra in 9th grade is still considered normal.

 

Tara

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Is this the standard scope & sequence, or slightly advanced?

 

I think it can be difficult to say standard/advanced/remedial without some commonly accepted reference. And I'm not sure that really exists.

 

In my state a standard diploma requires 3 math credits at or above Algebra 1. The advanced diploma requires 4 math credits at or above Algebra 1.

 

Many of the college bound students who graduate from the high schools surrounding us complete calculus or pre-calculus. This is not just students who are applying to the most selective colleges, but also those applying to many of the popular and competitive entry state schools.

 

So by that measure, algebra 1 in 8th grade would put a student on target or slightly ahead. If I remember correctly, the standard goal is algebra by 8th grade, with 7th for honors students (however, there are many who will miss that mark). However, there are parts of the state, where a low percentage of students get advanced diplomas and the standard diploma requirements are met with the lowest acceptable courses. A student coming out of an area like that who is already doing algebra I in 8th grade would stand out.

 

As to how various combos would be viewed by colleges, I don't think a course credit in isolation is all they are considering. A student with an A and a student with a C would be viewed differently. A student with an A in pre-calculus and a 700 in math on the SAT may well have a leg up over a student with a B in calculus and a 600 in math on the SAT. Colleges look for trends, too. Did the student get A's in algebra I and then slide down to C's for the more advanced classes? Or did he have a C in early courses and then take pre-calc at community college over the summer (earning an A) and then get solid grades in calculus?

 

If/when a student is ready for algebra, I think they should go for it and learn it well. That probably means an hour or more per day. And every day. And maybe looking at other books or only explanations for concepts that are sticking points.

 

Just my $0.02.

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In my state a standard diploma requires 3 math credits at or above Algebra 1. The advanced diploma requires 4 math credits at or above Algebra 1.

 

 

Where I live an honors diploma requires "at least four units of mathematics which shall include algebra I, algebra II, geometry and another higher level course ..."

 

So a student beginning algebra I in 9th grade could still graduate with an honors diploma.

 

Back in the stone age, when I was in high school, algebra was not offered in 8th grade in our district. I did the regular (college-track) algebra I/geometry/algebra II/trig sequence. I graduated at mid-year, so I didn't get to pre-calc. Trig and pre-calc were each semester classes. The school I graduated from is an "excellent with distinction" school from an No Child Left Untested perspective.

 

So it looks like things haven't changed in our state, and I would have qualified for an honors diploma if I hadn't graduated early. I do know that individual districts are free to create more stringent requirements for an honors diploma, if they so choose.

 

Tara

Edited by TaraTheLiberator
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Oh, yeah, silly me. Why would someone waste four perfectly good years of their life getting a worthless education at some worthless school that just has the state's name slapped onto it? Wow. A no-name college? Really?

 

You're putting words in my mouth. There are plenty of excellent public colleges- UC Berkeley, UVA, UT-Austin, U of M-Ann Arbor, UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, William & Mary, etc. About 1/3 of the students at my DH's Ivy grad school were graduates of these "public Ivies" and they were just as smart as the graduates of the elite private colleges.

 

However, to get into a good public university is very difficult these days. UC Berkeley and UCLA each accept fewer than 1 in 5 applicants. One of the officers in our 4H club was valedictorian of her high school, had excellent SAT's, was a varsity athlete, had 10 AP credits, and STILL got rejected from UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego. It's crazy how competitive things are these days!

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However, to get into a good public university is very difficult these days.

 

Maybe you are confusing "good" with "prestigious." The university I went to certainly is very good even if it's not prestigious. And all of the college-age kids I know are not having trouble getting into schools that provide a good education.

 

Tara

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This is the high school plan for IB students at one of the high schools in our district. (IB is International Baccalaureate, an honors college prep track. The IB high schools offer IB courses instead of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.)

 

Algebra I (and the first year of a foreign language) are expected in 8th grade in order to do IB.

 

This is the Course Catalog for another local high school. This one is an AP campus. The algebra listings are on page 27. It lists Algebra I for grades 8-11. Algebra I Honors is listed for grades 7-9.

 

One thing that I found helpful was to lay out our hopes and expectations for all of high school when I was planning 8th grade. I found it useful to think in terms of a continuum rather than specific classes. So if I wanted them to be in calculus as seniors (not uncommon in our area) I worked backward to see what they would need to accomplish in earlier years. I did this for all of our subjects (though some entries just said history or English without being detailed). I also tried to keep in mind that if they needed to have certain test scores in hand for college applications, those tests had to be taken no later than fall of senior year. (In other words, AP exams taken senior year might be helpful for getting college credit, but wouldn't be available during application time.)

 

There's a strong arguement against rushing a student through math that they aren't comprehending. That's one reason we circled around and studied polynomials with a different book, just to cement it before moving on. Put us a little behind my ideal, but I hope provided a firmer foundation that will let us maintain a good pace as the material gets harder.

 

NB: I do need to add the caveat that our area is known for lots of college educated professionals. I think our county is in the top ten most years for residents with advanced degrees. As parents, they have high expectations for what their kids will accomplish. In other places where we have lived, the expectations and assumptions were different. I like high standards, but I think you also have to keep half an eye on what is typical in your area.

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Okay, I have another question. How do you know when they're ready for pre-algebra and algebra?

 

I'm going to stay out of the contraversial stuff on this thread & address this question. Someone else posted a link to this Pre-Algebra mastery checklist & I bookmarked it. You can certainly use it to see if your kid is covering pre-algebra topics effectively & see if they are ready for algebra. (There is an algebra mastery checklist as well.)

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On the topic of college admission, we are talking about different types of students and various tiers of selectivity of schools. I have two different questions/food for thought:

 

1. Are "average" math students who take algebra 1 in 9th grade (regionally or whatever) likely to even apply to the colleges(/majors) for which admissions is competitive/selective enough for math sequence to matter for admissions?

 

2. Regarding "advanced" math students and admission to selective and highly selective schools drawing applicants nationally, does it make a marginally significant admissions difference to have taken alg 1 in 7th vs 8th, resulting in AP Calc BC junior year vs. senior year of high school and potentially another course beyond that? Having the AP score before admissions time is one obvious benefit, but I'd like to know whether that is currently the case for most of the accepted applicants at highly selective schools. Moreso for MIT than for Harvard?

 

Eta, so I'm trying to hunt down the answer to question #2 at college confidential, and I came across this thread, which doesn't address the question exactly, but provides more food for thought (yikes)

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are expected in 8th grade in order to do IB.

 

The algebra listings are on page 27. It lists Algebra I for grades 8-11. Algebra I Honors is listed for grades 7-9.

 

That is true but an IB student graduate with 10+ hours of college credit. It is not at all necessary to come from an IB program to get into even prestigious colleges. Too many kids don't have access. What is necessary is to have completed the most rigorous coursework available.

 

For homeschool students this becomes complicated, because anything is possible. That doesn't mean that earliest is best.

 

In my school district, Algebra in 8th is still considered advanced and an honors diploma can be earned with Algebra-PreCalc in high school.

 

In the district where my SIL teaches high school maths Algebra is standard in 8th. There are so many kids that fail they offer both Algebra and Algebra 2 slowed down and spaced over two years for all the kids that get messed up by starting Algebra too early. Many of the 7th graders make it through Alg 1, but then aren't developmentally ready for Algebra 2 in 9th. It is a vicious cycle.

 

All this to say, it can be difficult to know when your child is ready for algebra. Being able to do all the elementary computation skills is necessary, but it says nothing of the logic skills that are also necessary. Completing an Algebra readiness test typically only tests to make sure that the elementary math skills are in place. As the parent/teacher, you really have to be the one to determine if logic skills are there. My oldest waited until 9th for Algebra. He wasn't ready. Dd is taking Algebra in 8th. Don't be afraid to do what is best for your student.

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In my day, early 80s, Alg 1 in 9th, geo and Alg 2 in 10th, trg in 11th, and calc in 12th. Most of my friends went to Ivy schools after following that path. Many became doctors. One is a top engineer involved in the early stages of all the handheld devises everyone just loves now. He was developing them for the well-known folks by the late 80s. The old track works.

 

For me, it's about mastery. Ds will be ready when he is ready. We will work as fast as his maturity allows but no faster.

 

Me, I went to 4 schools in 4 years and never lost a credit. No easy task and, I trhink, shows a real ability to negotiate with different administrations! We all have our own skill set.

 

Nope, I'm not a doctor but I am one of the best in my field of work. Well, at least I think so.

 

 

Jim

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1. Are "average" math students who take algebra 1 in 9th grade (regionally or whatever) likely to even apply to the colleges(/majors) for which admissions is competitive/selective enough for math sequence to matter for admissions?

 

2. Regarding "advanced" math students and admission to selective and highly selective schools drawing applicants nationally, does it make a marginally significant admissions difference to have taken alg 1 in 7th vs 8th, resulting in AP Calc BC junior year vs. senior year of high school and potentially another course beyond that? Having the AP score before admissions time is one obvious benefit, but I'd like to know whether that is currently the case for most of the accepted applicants at highly selective schools. Moreso for MIT than for Harvard?

 

I am from Asia. Hubby and I graduated from a university in engineering that is in the top 20 world rankings for engineering every year. He has a PhD in EEE (semiconductor) which is why we are here.

 

In our system, we get to choose the pre-med track or stem track in high school. Our math and science are integrated. Hubby is on pre-med track and took what would be the equivalent of Algebra in 9th grade up to Calculus AB. I was on the stem track and took Algebra in 9th grade up to Calculus BC.

 

For engineering and medicine/dentistry faculty, it does matter a lot to my local universities both back home and in California. But I feel it is a very localized thing where you have a big pool of locals who take pre-algebra in 6th grade and with parents who are stem majors.

 

As to admission, my boys are still young and we are not sure how California does admissions to comment. In Asia, we apply only after we have our Cambridge 'A' Levels (high school) exams. So the university admission office has our full results in hand when considering admission. For engineering admission, compulsory subjects were screen for first, than the grades. AP subjects were not needed for admission and were only required for scholarship application.

 

I do understand Crimsonwife point of view, since I am living in Silicon Valley. The pressure does get to people with the competition to get into Stanford or UCB for stem majors. We have already considered sending our kids to overseas universities so we are less stressed over university admissions.

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I'm going to stay out of the contraversial stuff on this thread & address this question. Someone else posted a link to this Pre-Algebra mastery checklist & I bookmarked it. You can certainly use it to see if your kid is covering pre-algebra topics effectively & see if they are ready for algebra. (There is an algebra mastery checklist as well.)

 

Oh, I like those checklists. Very helpful for comparing different curriculum and depth of study. Do you know if they have something for geometry or algebra 2?

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That is true but an IB student graduate with 10+ hours of college credit. It is not at all necessary to come from an IB program to get into even prestigious colleges. Too many kids don't have access. What is necessary is to have completed the most rigorous coursework available.

 

For homeschool students this becomes complicated, because anything is possible. That doesn't mean that earliest is best.

 

In my school district, Algebra in 8th is still considered advanced and an honors diploma can be earned with Algebra-PreCalc in high school.

 

In the district where my SIL teaches high school maths Algebra is standard in 8th. There are so many kids that fail they offer both Algebra and Algebra 2 slowed down and spaced over two years for all the kids that get messed up by starting Algebra too early. Many of the 7th graders make it through Alg 1, but then aren't developmentally ready for Algebra 2 in 9th. It is a vicious cycle.

 

All this to say, it can be difficult to know when your child is ready for algebra. Being able to do all the elementary computation skills is necessary, but it says nothing of the logic skills that are also necessary. Completing an Algebra readiness test typically only tests to make sure that the elementary math skills are in place. As the parent/teacher, you really have to be the one to determine if logic skills are there. My oldest waited until 9th for Algebra. He wasn't ready. Dd is taking Algebra in 8th. Don't be afraid to do what is best for your student.

 

I definitely agree with your last. On the topic of what is enough, I do think that we sometimes (as homeschoolers) put on blindfolds as to how much can be and is being accomplished in local public schools. It doesn't do my kid any good if I say he's doing advanced work compared to an economically challenged area with low performing schools if he lives in a highly educated, high income area with schools that have a myriad of opportunities.

 

There are many colleges that do put limits on the students they accept from certain geographic areas. UVA, for example, could fill its incoming class just from Northern Virginia and the Virginia Beach/Chesapeake area. But they are unlikely to desire that geographic sameness. Which means the kids from a given district or zip code are in de facto competition with each other.

 

It is true that there are many failing schools and school districts. But there are also students in public schools who are smart, being well educated and are well supported by their parents.

 

I also don't think you can make categorical statements. Too much hinges on demographics, personal situation (economic adversity, English language learner, single parent household, athletic ability) and the specifics of the college being considered.

 

ETA: I think there are limitations to comparing with our own school days because so much has changed, both in course content and in competition for college. I have a wonderful geometry book from the 1940's that has geometry and trig problems I think would scare many modern students. [but for the record, my progression was 8th Algebra I, 9th Algebra II, 10th Geometry, 11th Pre-Calc. I stopped there and then did calc in college - and really wished I'd had that year of high school calc. But that's my own albatross. This was a standard progression for the students in my honors courses in a non-AP school back when dinos roamed the earth.]

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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Pretty standard. I have my guys cover algebra over two years, 7th & 8th grade, using Lial's Introductory Algebra with Key to Algebra workbooks added in for reinforcement. Students are often rushed through algebra; it's worth taking more time with it so they gain a solid foundation.

 

Ohh that's a good idea, instead of doing Pre Alg in 7th. Hmmm, now you have me thinking.

 

We're doing pre alg right now, and on track for Alg in 8th, but I like this idea better.

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I just looked at four area high schools (not including the ones in our district, which doesn't publish its course of studies) in four different districts. They all consider algebra in 9th grade to be the standard college-prep sequence. Two of the schools have an honors track that puts algebra in 8th grade. So I guess around here, algebra in 9th grade is still considered normal.

 

Tara

 

This is what I've found, but, with my guy in 7th, pre alg/alg is 'what's next'. If I don't do it-what would I do? I'm asking honestly. This problem is why Colleen's spreading alg out over 7/8 sounds like a good deal. Slow isn't a bad thing!

 

Man, after reading the whole thread, I'm even more confused. My son in 7th is hating pre alg, because it's just review to him.

Edited by justamouse
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I have read this thread with great interest. I'm sure Amber didn't realize her innocent little question would stir such a hornet's nest. :D But if one is honest about it, it really does beg the question of why we care to introduce Algebra so early in the first place? TaraTheLiberator, makes some compelling points about really getting the foundational skills down solid vs. rushing through a bunch of courses to appease college boards somewhere. However when considering the other side of the coin some do take college entrance board criteria more seriously, especially if their child is working toward getting into a more difficult school, not necessarily Ivy League.

 

I see valid points from both sides of this argument and appreciate the input. I'll add in my perspective of things. As a senior software engineer who is on a hiring team for a fortune 500 Co. I find we don't put as much weight on 'Ivy League' pedigrees. However for other fields this may be more important. Once out of school and looking for a job, experience even while in school through internships and part-time work is much more important than where the degree came from, as long as its accredited of course. Now I do know of *some* companies who like to hire Stanford grads in the Bay area for example, especially if the founders are from there themselves. But overall I don't see this as a limiting factor for professional development in the IT industry if someone is truly good at what they do.

Edited by dereksurfs
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This is what I've found, but, with my guy in 7th, pre alg/alg is 'what's next'. If I don't do it-what would I do? I'm asking honestly. This problem is why Colleen's spreading alg out over 7/8 sounds like a good deal. Slow isn't a bad thing!

 

Man, after reading the whole thread, I'm even more confused. My son in 7th is hating pre alg, because it's just review to him.

 

Yeah, I'm in the boat with my son. He is doing Pre-Algebra in 6th grade because he finished and mastered primary mathematics. And I know there are parents here of even younger students who just seem to get things earlier in life than the state standards. If they are ready to move on and are grasping abstract mathematical concepts then why hold them back? That said I also agree with some points TaraTheLiberator made about mastery before advancement. It really is a fine balance in providing that 'just right challenge' which is different for each child. In my son's case I will let him take his time with Algebra in 7th and 8th grade to really let the concepts solidify. I think Algebra is the most important subject to truly master since all other secondary math builds upon it as the foundation.

 

However for my younger girls, who knows. They may or may not be ready for secondary math as early as he is. And I think that's ok too. ;)

Edited by dereksurfs
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