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    justinwilliams, Jessica D, Xtydell, lll, A WA parent
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    #119909 01/12/12 05:33 PM
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    mnmom23 Offline OP
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    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 pre-algebra 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 grade-skipped 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 pre-algebra 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.
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    I skipped pre-algebra and had no problems. In my day, the 5 or so best math students in the 7th grade skipped 8th grade math/pre-algebra 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, pre-algebra 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 well-prepared for real algebra. Nowadays, schools seem to be in a hurry to rush students into algebra without, in many cases, adequate preparation.


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    lmp Offline
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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.

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    It sounds, actually, like a good plan to me. My older dd's pre-algebra 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, pre-algebra 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 pre-algebra 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.

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    I'd look at what your kid has being doing prior to this, too. I remember Pre-algebra 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.

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


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    You could have your child take an EPGY Placement Exam in
    Secondary Mathematics http://epgy.stanford.edu/applyandregister/upexam.html or take some of the AOPS diagnostic tests http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/School/classlist.php or have your child participate in contests such as AMC 8 to see how he/she compares to mathematically motivated 8th-graders.


    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell
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    Originally Posted by herenow
    My younger dd finally told her teacher that she wasn't going to waste any more of her time doing the pre-algebra 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 pre-algebra. 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.

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

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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 a-x 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 pre-algebra 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 pre-algebra is around the time it happened). Now our school district has two pre-pre-algebra courses as well as pre-algebra leading into algebra, plus they've re-sorted 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

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