Gifted Bulletin Board

Welcome to the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

We invite you to share your experiences and to post information about advocacy, research and other gifted education issues on this free public discussion forum.
CLICK HERE to Log In. Click here for the Board Rules.

Links


Learn about the Davidson Academy’s online campus for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S.

The Davidson Institute is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted students through the following programs:

  • Fellows Scholarship
  • Young Scholars
  • Davidson Academy
  • THINK Summer Institute
  • DITD FaceBook   DITD Twitter   DITD YouTube
    The Davidson Institute is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

    How gifted-friendly is
    your state?

    Subscribe to the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update

    Who's Online
    0 registered (), 0 Guests and 67 Spiders online.
    Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
    Newest Members
    Arlo, Henry M, Twill, Sassafras, PatZz
    11188 Registered Users
    August
    Su M Tu W Th F Sa
    1 2 3 4 5 6
    7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    21 22 23 24 25 26 27
    28 29 30 31
    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
    Topic Options
    #249207 - 10/04/21 11:32 AM Acceleration in high school
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Hi folks, I've been on here for years, at least sporadically, learning about how to support and advocate for my kids. Sometimes I've felt like an imposter, since my kids are not tested and have not applied to DYS, but I've still learned a lot about helping them. But...now that my oldest is in high school, I'm feeling like I'm tossed into the deep end again and figuring out how to help him succeed. eek

    Last week out of the blue, his math teacher told him that because he was getting 100% on everything they'd done in the first month, he suggested accelerating up to Precalc and skipping Algebra II completely. shocked Now, I had just seen quite a lot of conversation on math Twitter complaining about how school Precalc is usually so heavy on Algebra II review. So I don't THINK I'm worried about gaps if he takes this route. But holy cow. I had hardly thought about college prep at all before, but now I feel like there is so much to decide.

    I had honestly pushed back against acceleration (for example, homeschooling with AOPS Geometry for depth rather than following his math teacher's advice to dual-enroll in Alg II and Geometry for acceleration) because I wanted him to get a solid university-quality Calculus foundation, one I'm not convinced he will get in our small public school, even if the coursework is adequate to prepare for the AP exam. So should he look to AP courses or community college or somehow enroll in a proper university for his upper level classes? Our nearest four-year schools are several hours away, so it would have to be online. What more could/should we be doing for his other subjects? Our school doesn't offer AP science courses, to my knowledge, so he's on track to do (boring and simple) Earth Science, then Biology/Physics/Chem I believe. I don't think I necessarily want him going to a highly selective school, but I also don't want that to be ruled out by making the wrong choices. How do we figure out what the right choices are? Do I need to join one of those forums like College Confidential?

    I know a lot of parents curate their kids' school careers with an eye to college apps starting much earlier than this. I guess I've just been of the mindset to let them be their best, most authentic selves and let the right college fit happen. Now I'm second guessing that. High school parents, especially BTDT, what have you done and do you have any regrets?

    Top
    #249208 - 10/04/21 01:55 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: sunnyday
    I know a lot of parents curate their kids' school careers with an eye to college apps starting much earlier than this. I guess I've just been of the mindset to let them be their best, most authentic selves and let the right college fit happen. Now I'm second guessing that. High school parents, especially BTDT, what have you done and do you have any regrets?


    I agree with your "let them be their best" approach.

    A hard part of raising kids is letting them make their own decisions. It's hard in part because you get so used to HAVING to make the decisions when they're little. As you know, high school student is capable of making decisions, though they generally need more older-person input than a college student or a 28-year-old.

    FWIW, the review of algebra 2 concepts is important, especially if algebra 2 is done correctly. There's a lot of material there, and going over it again is important for kids. I say this as someone who knows people who surpassed the DYS requirements substantially and still needed that review. So, how does your son know the material covered to date? Are they still reviewing the stuff from algebra 1 or the easy algebra 2 stuff? Important: how familiar is he with the rest of the course?

    My advice is this: first, ask your son to see what the precalc class covers. Does it skip stuff he'd do in algebra 2 and hasn't done? Does it barrel into calculus (a trend in some places)? What's the pacing like? What about the teacher and textbook? Is the class algorithm-driven?

    Then present pros and cons as you see them, and let him decide. As you know, mathematics education these days tends to focus on algorithms over understanding. If he stays in algebra 2 and gets easy As, would he be interested in spending time gaining a deeper understanding of the material from another source? That kind of thing.

    Ultimately, our children will have to chart their own paths, and IMO, the best we can do for them is teach them how to make an informed decision when they're young, as a way of preparing them do so on their own when we're not around.

    Top
    #249210 - 10/04/21 04:35 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Right, skipping this class would not EVEN have been on my radar as something to request. My game plan was to add AOPS C&P later this fall if he still needed more. But it's the math teacher suggesting this, and he seems really confident in his suggestion. We are a tiny high school and there are only two math teachers, he's the one who teaches the upper level and AP classes so he knows the whole trajectory we are looking at. My son also took an Accuplacer exam this morning, which I think will be the final determiner if he really is qualified to move up, but he felt good about it. I have left this mostly in his court, and he has talked to the teacher. Ultimately he is mostly looking forward to having other engaged, college-bound kids in his class, instead of reluctant seniors trying to get credit for a required class.

    Our district does Glencoe math which I don't love. So it will be very algorithmic. I'm comparing the TOC of the two texts, and the topics in Alg that I expect will be significantly new to him, are also there in Precalc. I am honestly more concerned that he CAN do the class BECAUSE it's highly algorithmic, than anything else. So we'll see.

    Anyway, it really feels like this math acceleration is a done deal, unless he really flounders. So that's what's got my mind whirling about what the rest of his high school is going to look like, in all subjects. Like, if there is no AP science at this school, will he be overlooked for consideration at a selective STEM school? Or is community college calculus-based physics just as good? And so on...ugh, my mind is whirling. I guess for now it's just one decision at a time, and see where it leads!

    Top
    #249212 - 10/04/21 05:38 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3974
    sd, fwiw, my kids are also not tested, nor have we ever seriously considered applying to DYS. And yes, you have every right to be here!

    WRT skipping alg II for precalc, it's a useful perspective to remember that precalc originally was basically a review class inserted because so many students weren't prepared to go straight from alg II to calc, so skipping one or the other doesn't seem like it should be a huge issue. (One of mine started DE calc half-way through a year-long precalc course, with successful outcomes for both.)

    On the question of upper level math: our experience has been that the DE math courses have been a much better pace for our children than the supposed high school equivalents--if they are true college courses and not designed for high schoolers in early college programs. Which makes sense, since AP Calc AB is only one semester's-worth of first-year college calc. And for CC vs uni, it's really been more about the individual professors than the institution (keep in mind that a lot of the same professors are adjuncts/affiliates at multiple post-secondaries in a given region--hard to make a living as an adjunct professor at just one job). You might run the names of some of the nearby college instructors through RateMyProfessors to see if you can get a sense of their quality and rigor (not always evident purely from the ratings; DC loved the math professor that a lot of non-STEM majors described as too hard, precisely because so much higher-level conceptual instruction was in the course).

    On college prep: we have a similar philosophy regarding selective universities. We certainly have not discouraged selective unis, but with offspring who are likely headed to graduate school, our view has been that the quality of undergraduate education, including access to research opportunities, internships, and actual tenured faculty, is more important than the name brand (not that these are not correlated to some extent--just not 1.0). And childhood is short enough as it is, without curating all of their experiences.

    With regard to the right choices/options, there's a surprising amount of information you can find on places like the College Board's college search site. You could check out some of the college prep forums, too, but I haven't spent that much time on them, so others are in a better position to say how valuable they are.

    In terms of BTDT, DC was homeschooled for high school, with home-based programming through 11th grade, and then a full college courseload of dual enrollment for 12th grade. Admitted into uni as a first-year, but matriculated directly into sophomore status.

    Currently DC is at a moderately-sized regional state uni of unremarkable reputation, but has had really excellent instruction, and exceptional mentoring, with faculty recruiting DC for multiple stipended research and teaching assistantships, including recommendations for nationally-competitive positions, opportunities to present original research at the annual conference for the major organization in the field, and fairly high-contact mentorship surrounding DC's honors research. Even faculty in DC's additional interest areas (not formal majors) have offered very specific, individualized attention and direction. Obviously, YMMV, but the point is, we certainly could not have asked for a better set of educational experiences--including the kind often favored on grad school apps--from many more selective institutions.

    But then, my DC had no special interest in a selective school, and had already made that clear. It might not be a bad idea for your DC to start investigating categories of universities casually now, more to have a sense of what's out there, and what kind of settings might suit him. It may be that certain qualities really matter, and others really don't. The content of those lists may help redirect college prep--or confirm that your current approach is right for your child.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    Top
    #249213 - 10/04/21 05:42 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 693
    I love Val’s advice, and agree that ideally you want your kid to lead here. This would also be the way to approach other subjects, IMO. We were told that admissions people basically evaluated the applicant relative to the offerings at their school- the counselor letter was supposed to address this, basically by addressing whether the student was taking the most advanced/rigorous course load available. So if your school’s highest offering in science is something like honors chem, as long as your student took this course they wouldn’t be penalized, or looked upon as less qualified. That’s my understanding, and based on the peers my kids have in college, it seems to ring true, though YMMV. (Of course, if your kid ends up “needing” more, it sounds like you know what to do, and I would put emphasis on meeting those needs if you can. I just wouldn’t make those decisions based on what you think admissions people want to see, if that makes sense).


    Edited by cricket3 (10/04/21 05:43 PM)
    Edit Reason: Punctuation

    Top
    #249214 - 10/05/21 08:22 AM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 647
    Are they still doing a review of Algebra 1 concepts? If his school's sequence is Algebra 1, geometry, Algebra 2, typically there is some fairly extensive review at the beginning of the year because kids tend to forget algebra while doing geometry. If he remembers everything from Algebra 1, this is going to seem easy, but eventually they will move on to other things that may still seem easy, but at least are new.

    Some other things to consider are:

    Is there an honors Algebra 2 class available? Might that be a better placement?

    Is there an honors precalculus class available? I would not accelerate him into a regular precalculus class if an honors class is available. My son's honors precalculus class was substantially different from the regular class--different text, different peers, and far more covered than either the regular class or the equivalent course(s) at the local community college.

    You don't say what grade he is in, but if he's a freshman, what would be the plan for math in his senior year? My son took honors precalculus in 9th, BC calc in 10th, statistics (AP) in 11th, and post AP statistics in 12th. The last two years he coasted, but he also found that he loved statistics (and he is majoring in it now in college).

    Top
    #249215 - 10/05/21 11:37 AM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: aeh]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    On the question of upper level math: our experience has been that the DE math courses have been a much better pace for our children than the supposed high school equivalents--if they are true college courses and not designed for high schoolers in early college programs. Which makes sense, since AP Calc AB is only one semester's-worth of first-year college calc. And for CC vs uni, it's really been more about the individual professors than the institution (keep in mind that a lot of the same professors are adjuncts/affiliates at multiple post-secondaries in a given region--hard to make a living as an adjunct professor at just one job). You might run the names of some of the nearby college instructors through RateMyProfessors to see if you can get a sense of their quality and rigor (not always evident purely from the ratings; DC loved the math professor that a lot of non-STEM majors described as too hard, precisely because so much higher-level conceptual instruction was in the course).


    This is a great tip! I had considered reaching out to the CC department head to see their perspective. Since we're at least two hours from the nearest four-year school, it's hard to believe that there are teachers at the CC who are also teaching elsewhere. But I also know some passionate, well-prepared educators teaching at the CC level (my college roommate with a PhD in just went back to get a second graduate degree in math so she could teach math and not just physics in her new rural community). So I'm really interested in those prospects.

    Quote:
    On college prep: we have a similar philosophy regarding selective universities. We certainly have not discouraged selective unis, but with offspring who are likely headed to graduate school, our view has been that the quality of undergraduate education, including access to research opportunities, internships, and actual tenured faculty, is more important than the name brand (not that these are not correlated to some extent--just not 1.0). And childhood is short enough as it is, without curating all of their experiences.


    This is a very reassuring affirmation of my previous philosophy. smile DS was told by his honors Algebra teacher in 7th grade that he was MIT or CalTech material. So we've had a lot of discussions since then about the relative value of selective schools vs. the cachet that comes of that very selectivity. As an undergraduate at a small liberal arts college, I was able to be so involved in research that I earned an authorship. I don't feel that's as common in big graduate institutions, so that's something I try to keep in mind too.

    Top
    #249216 - 10/05/21 02:08 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: Kai]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Originally Posted By: Kai
    Are they still doing a review of Algebra 1 concepts? If his school's sequence is Algebra 1, geometry, Algebra 2, typically there is some fairly extensive review at the beginning of the year because kids tend to forget algebra while doing geometry. If he remembers everything from Algebra 1, this is going to seem easy, but eventually they will move on to other things that may still seem easy, but at least are new.

    Some other things to consider are:

    Is there an honors Algebra 2 class available? Might that be a better placement?

    Is there an honors precalculus class available? I would not accelerate him into a regular precalculus class if an honors class is available. My son's honors precalculus class was substantially different from the regular class--different text, different peers, and far more covered than either the regular class or the equivalent course(s) at the local community college.

    You don't say what grade he is in, but if he's a freshman, what would be the plan for math in his senior year? My son took honors precalculus in 9th, BC calc in 10th, statistics (AP) in 11th, and post AP statistics in 12th. The last two years he coasted, but he also found that he loved statistics (and he is majoring in it now in college).


    Yes, they are still doing review, or at least it has felt that way to DS. Because of that, he wasn't too bothered by the repetition, which is why it surprised us that the teacher proposed the move. He had to be enrolled in the new class by today to receive College in the Classroom credit, which is why there was some urgency I guess.

    No, honors is not an option. We are a truly tiny school. As far as I can tell there are one or two sections each of Alg 1, Geometry, Alg 2, Financial Algebra. One section each of Precalc, AP Calc AB, AP Calc BC. That's it. So, for his senior year, DS thinks it sounds like either a good opportunity to finally try AOPS Discrete math, or he can dual enroll in Linear Alg, Diff Eq, maybe multivariate calc at community college. But...and this is my dilemma that prompted this thread...maybe he needs to be getting actual university-level coursework at that level, if he's going to be on a STEM track.

    Basically, I am coming into this with a strong bias because of my own checkered past with math. After getting 5s on my AP Calc, I placed into Calc III at college. I thought I was being conservative by doing accelerated Calc I/II as a review first, getting a solid foundation, etc. But instead, my previous experience of Calc as a pattern-matching test-prepping multiple-choice subject was really difficult to shake. I sailed through Calc III and beyond with easy As but I hit higher-level math and ran up pretty hard against proof writing and problem solving, barely hobbling to the finish line of my math minor. Since then I have read Lockhart's Lament and The Calculus Trap, I have seen the syllabus and different pedagogy used in Calc as taught at places like MIT, and I have piled a lot of my personal woes on having done Calc in HS. It's the last thing I wanted for my kid. But it's also amazing to see him A) recognized for his strengths, and B) fired up about the opportunity to really work hard in a class. We've talked SO extensively about the difference between school math and mathematics, he did take that year of AOPS Geometry and has seen that math isn't just about knowing right answers, and I'm really hopeful he can avoid some of the pitfalls. But he also got a 276 on his Accuplacer which I believe puts him into Precalc at any CC or university that uses it as an entrance exam. In the lower grades we often say that subject acceleration makes more sense than making gifted kids sit through material they already know in order to avoid small "gaps" of material they don't yet know. It's scarier at this level, the repercussion of gaps feels bigger, but I honestly think the same philosophy might nonetheless apply in this situation. He can cover those gaps over time. I think. I hope.

    Top
    #249217 - 10/05/21 05:18 PM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1682
    There are so many math acceleration options now, that he can easily advance without leaving the high school and all the benefits for a teen. If he is math way accelerated, I was in math, then I would recommend an school like MIT or Caltech. But he also has to decide what he likes.

    I have stated here before, but you may not have seen it, there was a kid at Hunter who finished a math and physics degree at Columbia and had his graduation a week before his high school graduation at Hunter. And then went on to that math center at NYU for grad or whatever level he was at. But it is good if a student is way advanced in math to still maintain his high school stuff in English, history, economics or whatever. What if he wants to apply his math to economics. It is a good idea to have these other subjects to explore his interests.

    Top
    #249219 - 10/06/21 03:57 AM Re: Acceleration in high school [Re: sunnyday]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 451
    My personal take - I would not accelerate your son. Even at a high school with limited advanced course options, you want to take a variety of courses and make sure you have a solid foundation in math.

    When he applies to colleges, they will be aware that your HS does not offer AP science courses, so that should not count against him. Perhaps he could take a more advanced science course over a summer, though I have no idea what options you have. Around us, the community colleges are not as rigorous as many of the high schools. Our public HS will not accept science courses from the community college, though they will accept them from area private schools.

    I get the sense that there aren't many advanced students at your high school. Our public HS, which my kids attended, offers Multivariable Calc and Linear Algebra, so the "regular" kids don't need to look outside the HS. My older two both had kids in their class that had finished all the HS math classes by end of 8th grade, so they went to a local college for math - we are fortunate to have three four-year colleges within a mile of the HS (and another three within three miles).

    My middle kid was my most advanced in math, and she wasn't super advanced - took Linear Algebra senior year. She also explored the other subjects and opportunities that HS has to offer. She took two foreign languages through AP level, played two varsity sports (played one on a year round travel team as well), had a part-time job and served as a student rep on the board of a local educational non-profit. She also participated in the typical stuff, like prom and pep rallies. She enjoyed her HS years.

    She went on to a good college, though not elite - she did not get into any of those. A profile like hers, with good test scores (NMF, nine 5s on APs), doesn't mean much in the age of holistic admissions. She is now in a very good PhD program in her chosen field. And one of her undergrad degrees was Applied Math.

    Long story short, I wouldn't rush things. Of course, just my opinion - wish you luck with whatever decision you make.

    Top
    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


    Moderator:  M-Moderator 
    Recent Posts
    I feel like a failure
    by giftedamateur
    08/10/22 11:09 AM
    Speed reading
    by aquinas
    08/09/22 01:23 PM
    Understanding testing!
    by Klangedin
    08/09/22 12:20 PM
    linking to posts in General Discussion forum
    by giftedamateur
    08/04/22 06:42 PM
    Correlation btw WASI & WISC? Referral form weight?
    by aeh
    07/28/22 09:08 AM
    Davidson Institute Twitter