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Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 701
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Posts: 701 
I know we've had discussions before about whether younger kids can handle algebra, but I didn't find anything here (did I miss it?) about the idea of skipping prealgebra and going straght into algebra 1, although obviously we've had discussions about skipping in math, in general, and we've personally had great success with that. Is a gradeskipped child who is 3 SD above the norm with matching achievement scores and last year scored in the 150s on the MAP test likely to need the introduction that prealgebra provides, or will an algebra class likely cover the basics in the first few weeks enough so that said child would be able to catch on? Have any of your kids (or you) tried it and had either success or trouble with going straight into algebra? Are there any factors that would be important to take into consideration?
She thought she could, so she did.




Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,296
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I skipped prealgebra and had no problems. In my day, the 5 or so best math students in the 7th grade skipped 8th grade math/prealgebra and went directly to algebra. It was a school policy.
DS11 also skipped it/kind of did a bit of it with me when he was pretty young. No issues with him either.
From what I've seen, prealgebra is basically algebra light (lots of solving for variables in basic equations, for example). It's a slow introduction to algebra. IMO, it's very useful for kids who aren't really mathematically inclined, because if they do well in this course, they will be wellprepared for real algebra. Nowadays, schools seem to be in a hurry to rush students into algebra without, in many cases, adequate preparation.




Joined: Apr 2010
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I think you can. In our district 6th grade students who pass a test (can't remember the name) go straight into algebra I as 7th graders.




Joined: Feb 2011
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It sounds, actually, like a good plan to me. My older dd's prealgebra was extremely repetitive, fairly basic math. If you can get the syllabus for the class, your child might be able to skim the book to see what he/she doesn't know. The khan videos are also another place to fill in the blanks. As far as I know, prealgebra classes aren't typically "tracked" so you may have children who aren't "getting it" slowing things down a bit
My younger dd finally told her teacher that she wasn't going to waste any more of her time doing the prealgebra book. At that point she was "pretesting" through the chapters...and dying of boredom. This worked in her montessori classroom, and she just went on to more challenging math. This was a few years ago, and it hasn't been a problem with her grades or understanding.
For a really mathy kid, I'd skip it.




Joined: Oct 2011
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I'd look at what your kid has being doing prior to this, too. I remember Prealgebra being the first time I ever saw a letter in a math problem, but it seems schools are introducing kids to the idea very early now. I'm seeing 9 + x = 13 on first grade worksheets.




Joined: Oct 2011
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I was in honors classes from like 4th grade on and never took any class that was specifically called 'prealgebra.' I think we basically had a combined sort of class  geometry, trig and prealgebra. The next year was honors Algebra I, then honors Trig II, then Algebra II, then AP Calculus. (Oh how I hate you calculus.)
~amy




Joined: Jul 2011
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My younger dd finally told her teacher that she wasn't going to waste any more of her time doing the prealgebra book. At that point she was "pretesting" through the chapters...and dying of boredom. <snip> For a really mathy kid, I'd skip it. I had a terrible teacher for prealgebra. She was the worst I ever had by a large margin. I totally tuned out.... the next year I was the top student in algebra. I agree that mathy kids can skip it with no problem. Actually, I think half of 6th grade math was review, because the elementary school children had been pooled into the middle school. There's about 1.5 years of math there that were a waste of my time.




Joined: May 2010
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Both my DD and myself, way back when, skipped prealgebra. IMO the most important factor is a good algebra teacher that can set the stage for higher level math.




Joined: Sep 2011
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FWIW, what helped us make a case for math acceleration for our ds was to have him take the course assessments at ALEKS. The results on those assessments can be easily and directly correlated (within ALEKS) back to each state's set of curriculum standards so it was easy to produce a list showing ds had mastered concepts ax needed for credit in course z.
I'm sure you can do that with other online (or other) math courses too, I only mentioned ALEKS because it's the option we used.
polarbear
ps  fwiw, I think I skipped prealgebra when I was in school (can't say for sure because it was so long ago I can't remember what the courses were officially called; I was accelerated in math and I think prealgebra is around the time it happened). Now our school district has two preprealgebra courses as well as prealgebra leading into algebra, plus they've resorted the way math in high school is presented. If I was asking the "is it ok for my child to skip ___" question I'd look at the curriculum taught my specific school district taught rather than make assumptions based on the course name for any math that's taught before Algebra to get an idea of what concepts my child had been introduced to.
polarbear




