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DD is going to take a College Algebra class at the CC this fall.

She took the placement test and did great.   She's taken Algebra I and Geometry, and I am trying to find some sort of review she could do over the summer to get ready.   Originally I had thought maybe Khan Algebra II, but it seems like it may be overkill.

I am just looking for something that would be a good review/prep for College Algebra if anyone has BTDT or has any ideas.  I know all College Algebra classes are not the same!

TIA!

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Yes, 'College Algebra' can mean different things....

It can mean a review of Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 with a bit of statistics thrown in--(usually called Algebra for College Students).

It can also mean the first semester of Pre-Calculus.  If the next class at your dd's CC is Trig then it is!   This would mean that your dd will be skipping a whole year of math (Algebra 2).  If she is a 'naturally gifted' math student then she may be fine.  If this is the case (first part of Pre-Calc sequence) then I would suggest she get the Intermediate Algebra text from the same author as what she will be using in the fall.  She can take the summer to test through that text and fill in any gaps (she will have some!).

If you (parent) are math savy, you can purchase the text she will be using as early as possible and then look through that.  If it is a Pre-Calc level there will be very little review--

The placement tests tend to be multiple choice-- if it was heavy on equations then it is possible your dd 'reverse engineered' the answers by plugging them back into the original problem.... this makes a high score-- but may lead to false placement as your dd could be missing critical concepts. 

I tell my students all the time " Algebra is the process" (mechanics) it is not the answer!

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There are free college math textbooks online through OpenStax.com  You can see a lot of the differences between the different names of the college algebra course. I have found that college algebra line up best with the last 1/3 of Algebra 2 and then the first 2/3 of a precalc.  

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The sequence at the CC is, College Algebra, Trig, Pre-Calc, Calculus.   The College Algebra and Trig are pre-req's for the Pre Calc.

Based on this, I am having a hard time believing that College Algebra is anything but Algebra 2.     Maybe I am missing something?

This spring the book used was Lial's College Algebra.    Is that the same as Algebra for College Students?

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55 minutes ago, Zebra said:

The sequence at the CC is, College Algebra, Trig, Pre-Calc, Calculus.   The College Algebra and Trig are pre-req's for the Pre Calc.

Based on this, I am having a hard time believing that College Algebra is anything but Algebra 2.     Maybe I am missing something?

This spring the book used was Lial's College Algebra.    Is that the same as Algebra for College Students?

 

No, not the same. Algebra for College Students, iirc, is the one that is more of a remedial text (so more akin to algebra 2) with College Algebra being more advanced. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. 

Are you sure that college algebra and trig are listed as pre-reqs for pre calc? That would be a very unusual way to do it. Names vary a lot for sure, but usually one semester of college algebra that is meant to be followed by one semester of college trig is pre calc, split into two semesters. Then there's often a college algebra stand-alone if you aren't proceeding in the calc sequence, what people generally call algebra 3; this is what my youngest dd took, because her other required maths are all statistics (and she isn't taking any more or any higher level than she has to, lol). 

Classes that come before pre calc don't seem like they would earn college credit, so that's a bit confusing as well.

I would have dd speak directly to the math department. Because, yeah, CCs and other schools do things in a variety of baffling ways and she doesn't seem to have enough information. Don't go strictly by a placement test. Both of my kids placed into calculus for DE, which, no, that would have been at least one disaster, lol. They test well and have solid math intuition, but that's not the same as doing the work day to day and really understanding it and having it be a foundation. I mean, they placed into calculus before taking algebra 2, so yeah, definitely don't think they were prepared! 

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The class pre-req for pre-calc (as opposed to the test score pre-req) is College Algebra AND Trigonometry.   Either a 4 credit combined College Algebra & Trig, or taking a full 3 credit Trig class after taking College Algebra.   

There is a "developmental" classes before College Algebra called Intro to Algebra that uses a book called Algebra for College students.   She tested out of that class, it's not for credit, and you cannot take developmental classes if you are under 18.   I would definitely think about her taking that class, but she can't.     

She needs to take math at the community college this year, I'm not interested in doing Algebra 2 at home.  

They haven't posted the books for the fall but I am going to try to order and look at the book they used in the spring.   It would be nice if there was some sort of universal College Algebra prep, but that would be too easy apparently.

 

 

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I got that wrong earlier, the college algebra text IS Algebra for College students by Lial.   The Intro to Algebra class book is also called Algebra for College Students but by Martin-Gay.

 

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OK-- The Algebra for College Students text by Lial is the one that reviews high school Algebra-- it is similar to the Intermediate Algebra text I use for my Algebra 2 classes...

For summer prep I would do a Getting Ready for Algebra 2 prep or perhaps do problems from Khan Academy's Algebra 2.  Topics I suggest she review would be linear equations (writing equations of lines) and factoring (GCF and quadratics).

The 'Algebra for College Students' texts (Lial or Gay) move through the basics of Algebra a bit faster than the Introductory Algebra and Intermediate Algebra (Alg 1 and Alg 2) texts by same authors do-- they also preview more Pre-Calc topics.

Basically this will be your daughter working through Algebra 2 in one semester.  I would list it as 'Algebra 2' on her transcript to avoid confusion.  Pre-Calc algebra (College Algebra or Algebra 3) is a clear level above this text.

 

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Is the Getting Ready for Algebra 2 a specific curriculum, or just a general suggestion?

Thanks everyone, for your input!

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23 hours ago, Jann in TX said:

OK-- The Algebra for College Students text by Lial is the one that reviews high school Algebra-- it is similar to the Intermediate Algebra text I use for my Algebra 2 classes...

For summer prep I would do a Getting Ready for Algebra 2 prep or perhaps do problems from Khan Academy's Algebra 2.  Topics I suggest she review would be linear equations (writing equations of lines) and factoring (GCF and quadratics).

The 'Algebra for College Students' texts (Lial or Gay) move through the basics of Algebra a bit faster than the Introductory Algebra and Intermediate Algebra (Alg 1 and Alg 2) texts by same authors do-- they also preview more Pre-Calc topics.

Basically this will be your daughter working through Algebra 2 in one semester.  I would list it as 'Algebra 2' on her transcript to avoid confusion.  Pre-Calc algebra (College Algebra or Algebra 3) is a clear level above this text.

 

 

Yeah, just do whatever Jann says, lol. Her excellent advice is the reason  I survived high school math with my sanity intact. 

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We had the exact same situation with my DS15 this past school year. He was scheduled to take his first CC/DE course, College Algebra, in the spring and I was terrified that he would struggle and get a bad grade (which would be on his college transcript permanently! College Algebra is pretty equivalent to an Alg 2 Honors highschool course.) So...to prepare him for the class I signed him up for Mr. D online Alg 2 and he worked on it through the fall semester and into mid-January (when his college class started). He didn't finish but got more than halfway through the course. He was completely prepared for College Algebra! He got a high A and felt very confident.

I'd recommend this prep strategy. I'm having my daughter do the same thing to prepare for Calc 2 next fall. She'll work on the Thinkwell's online calc program through the summer.

 

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21 hours ago, BrettW said:

College Algebra is pretty equivalent to an Alg 2 Honors highschool course

Just to clarify, this can vary quite a bit. We do have a local CC where this might be a pretty good description, but the same course at uni goes well beyond that in scope and depth. This kind of discrepancy leads to a lot of struggling when students transfer in 😕

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You may have decided what to do by now, but I thought I'd give my input anyway.

Ten years ago at the CC where I teach, we requires College Algebra and Trig OR Precal.  Since then, what we can cover in CA and what students come in knowing has dropped.  It is not unusual for students to need (think STEM majors) CA, Trig, AND Precal to get ready for Calculus.  This is one reason many universities do not teach College Algebra.  The university I adjunct at has students take a non-STEM math class (ideas in math) or Precal, unless students are ready to start in Calculus.  If they aren't ready for Precal, they get to go across town to the CC to take College Algebra or study online.  All of that to say, many College Algebra classes are little more than a good Algebra II course (not honors, just a good course).

Here are somethings students who are most successful in my classes can do on day 1. I'm including links to Khan topics.  Much of this is review of Algebra 1.  If she understands these things AND has the necessary formulas MEMORIZED, she will have a much easier time keeping up with lectures and work.  So many of our students just get bogged down with what they should know already and can't keep up.

1. Solve any linear equations, especially ones with fractions! (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/one-variable-linear-equations)
2. Be literate in linear functions and graphs in all forms. (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/two-var-linear-equations)
3. Factor and solve quadratic equations. (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/polynomial-functions/factoring-polynomials-quadratic-forms-alg2/v/factoring-polynomials-1https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/polynomial-functions/advanced-polynomial-factorization-methods/v/factoring-5th-degree-polynomial-to-find-real-zeros;  https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/quadratics/quadratics-square-root/v/simple-quadratic-equationhttps://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/quadratics/solving-quadratics-using-the-quadratic-formula/v/using-the-quadratic-formulahttps://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/quadratics/solving-quadratic-equations-by-factoring/v/example-1-solving-a-quadratic-equation-by-factoring)
4. Simplify and work with roots and powers. (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra/rational-exponents-and-radicals)
5. Work fearlessly with fractions. (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/rational-expressions-equations-and-functionshttps://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/rational-expressions-equations-and-functions/nested-fractions/e/nested-fractionshttps://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/rational-expressions-equations-and-functions/multiplying-and-dividing-rational-expressions/e/multiplying_and_dividing_rational_expressions_2https://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/rational-expressions-equations-and-functions/simplify-rational-expressions/v/simplifying-rational-expressions-introductionhttps://www.khanacademy.org/math/algebra2/rational-expressions-equations-and-functions#adding-and-subtracting-rational-expressions)  She may relearn some of this, but the idea is to not freak when a fraction is present.  Go forward and have a clue what to do.

Finally, check to see if your school will expect her to use a TI83/84/89/inspire or no calculator.  If she has never used whichever calculator, have her find tutorials and learn that over the summer.  

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On 5/4/2019 at 9:31 AM, katilac said:

 

No, not the same. Algebra for College Students, iirc, is the one that is more of a remedial text (so more akin to algebra 2) with College Algebra being more advanced. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. 

Are you sure that college algebra and trig are listed as pre-reqs for pre calc? That would be a very unusual way to do it. Names vary a lot for sure, but usually one semester of college algebra that is meant to be followed by one semester of college trig is pre calc, split into two semesters. Then there's often a college algebra stand-alone if you aren't proceeding in the calc sequence, what people generally call algebra 3; this is what my youngest dd took, because her other required maths are all statistics (and she isn't taking any more or any higher level than she has to, lol). 

Classes that come before pre calc don't seem like they would earn college credit, so that's a bit confusing as well.

I would have dd speak directly to the math department. Because, yeah, CCs and other schools do things in a variety of baffling ways and she doesn't seem to have enough information. Don't go strictly by a placement test. Both of my kids placed into calculus for DE, which, no, that would have been at least one disaster, lol. They test well and have solid math intuition, but that's not the same as doing the work day to day and really understanding it and having it be a foundation. I mean, they placed into calculus before taking algebra 2, so yeah, definitely don't think they were prepared! 

I was curious so I looked it up at our local community college and it lists precalculus as a prereq for calculus and college algebra as a prereq for precalculus.  https://www.nctc.edu/catalog/courses/mathematics/index.html

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On 5/20/2019 at 6:31 PM, Janeway said:

I was curious so I looked it up at our local community college and it lists precalculus as a prereq for calculus and college algebra as a prereq for precalculus.  https://www.nctc.edu/catalog/courses/mathematics/index.html

Which is just confusing to me, as plenty of students start with calculus! I wonder if they have also have a placement test and fail to mention it here? I've usually seen calc pre reqs as 'precalc OR a score of xyz".

I mean, if you're STEM, how do you keep a two year or four year plan if you start with pre calc?  🤷‍♀️

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On 5/21/2019 at 11:58 PM, katilac said:

Which is just confusing to me, as plenty of students start with calculus! I wonder if they have also have a placement test and fail to mention it here? I've usually seen calc pre reqs as 'precalc OR a score of xyz".

I mean, if you're STEM, how do you keep a two year or four year plan if you start with pre calc?  🤷‍♀️

If you are STEM, it is assumed you would have had precalculus before you got to college. Most colleges won't take anything below calculus for credit. STEM majors definitely will not.

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

If you are STEM, it is assumed you would have had precalculus before you got to college. Most colleges won't take anything below calculus for credit. STEM majors definitely will not.

Yes, exactly, so how can they have pre calc as a prereq for calculus? 

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2 hours ago, katilac said:

Yes, exactly, so how can they have pre calc as a prereq for calculus? 

I am not understanding your question. A child will not be successful in calculus without the classes that lead up to it. Statistics say that a student is far more likely to succeed in an engineering program if the student took a year of calculus before ever starting college.  But, simply jumping in to calculus without having had precalculus or whatever the course is called prior to calculus (some places have a 4 yr integrated math sequence for high school instead of the algebra-geometry-algebra 2-precalculus sequence) will not bring on success. If someone starts college without already having had precalculus or the equivalent, then the person needs to start where they are at, even if it means spending extra semesters in college, if they wish to go the stem route. It will not do anyone any good to just jump in to calculus unprepared just because they want to be in STEM and will need calculus first semester or earlier to get to the end within 4 years. 

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10 hours ago, Janeway said:

I am not understanding your question. A child will not be successful in calculus without the classes that lead up to it. Statistics say that a student is far more likely to succeed in an engineering program if the student took a year of calculus before ever starting college.  But, simply jumping in to calculus without having had precalculus or whatever the course is called prior to calculus (some places have a 4 yr integrated math sequence for high school instead of the algebra-geometry-algebra 2-precalculus sequence) will not bring on success. If someone starts college without already having had precalculus or the equivalent, then the person needs to start where they are at, even if it means spending extra semesters in college, if they wish to go the stem route. It will not do anyone any good to just jump in to calculus unprepared just because they want to be in STEM and will need calculus first semester or earlier to get to the end within 4 years. 

But a college prereq is referring to a class taken in college, not high school. So, a college that lists precalc as a prereq to calculus seems to be saying that you cannot begin with calculus. 

Most colleges list a prereq OR a score on a test. Some allow this to be a standardized test, others require a specific placement test. So the listing for calculus would read something like: Precalculus with a C or better OR Level 3 placement. I'm guessing that this school is simply not listing the placement option in the description, rather than a placement option not existing. It doesn't make sense for a student who took calc in high school to start with precalc, much less college algebra. 

I'm laying my bet on this CC having tons of DE students, and this course sequence is intended for them. 

Edited by katilac

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