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    Joined: Aug 2010
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    What is this these days for average, above average, and highly capable students? What do you need to know at the start of these courses? (I realize this is hard to answer.)

    I am clueless. DD will be tested for middle school course placement at the end of 5th grade. She is a year ahead in math, though I'm not always convinced it is a true year ahead.

    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Our school district's highest math track is:

    5th grade regular math
    6th grade advanced math (I assume this is pre-algebra)
    7th grade algebra
    8th grade geometry

    Then if you don't make it into that, you have a chance for Algebra in 8th grade, or the regular track of taking Algebra in 9th grade. ETA: There is regular 6, 7, 8th grade math in the regular track.

    There are apparently several tests and factors for placement, but I do not understand them yet.

    Have you read the middle school handbook for your school district. It is probably available online, or you can request a copy. It may have the procedures written into it.

    Last edited by howdy; 09/16/14 06:35 AM.
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    Nowadays many middle schools post their "program of studies" online. At our middle school grade 6 math is undifferentiated. The grade 7 and 8 math courses, in decreasing order of difficulty, are

    7:
    Advanced Algebra 7
    Algebra 7
    Pre-algebra

    8:
    Advanced Algebra II
    Algebra II
    Algebra 8
    Pre-Algebra 8

    At the open house for 6th grade parents, the principal emphasized that the tracks in math and other subjects had some flexibility. Each math course can lead to two or more future math courses, depending on performance. So Algebra 7 students can in theory go into Advanced Algebra II the following year.

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    Usual: Common Core 6, 7, 8 in those grades

    Moderately accelerated path:
    Common Core 6
    Common Core 7-8-"Algebra" in two years instead of three

    More accelerated:
    Common Core 6 in 5th grade
    Common Core 7-8-"Algebra" in 6th and 7th grades (by placement test, not only for IDd gifted)

    Still more accelerated (elementary option for gifted-identified only):
    Common Core 4 and 5 in 4th grade
    Common Core 6 in 5th grade
    Option to do 7-8-Algebra in two years or in three

    Subject acceleration within these sequences is also possible (not common).

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    Ours is the same but the high school district is in the middle of change. My daughters(7th grade) magnet school track has 7th graders taking geometry but they are the only ones. Next year she will have Algebra II/pre calculus at the high school. There is a placement test taking for all kids before junior high.

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    Our district:

    Below average:
    6th: 6th grade math
    7th: 7th grade math
    8th: 8th grade math
    9th: Prealgebra or Algebra I

    Average:
    6th: 6th grade math
    7th: 7th grade math
    8th: 8th grade math or Algebra I
    9th: Geometry or Algebra I

    Highest:
    6th: Prealgebra
    7th: Algebra I
    8th: Honors Geometry
    9th: Honors Algebra II

    Students with higher levels of achievement are sometimes placed at a higher level. For example, I know of a 6th grade boy who was placed in Honors Geometry (upon entry from homeschooling). But these placements are rare, especially among kids who have been in the system since K.

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    Ours is similar to what most have posted. Three tracks:
    regular: 6th grade general math, 7th grade general and 8th pre-Alg
    advanced: 6th grade general, 7th pre-Alg, and 8th Alg
    gifted: 6th grade pre-Alg, 7th Alg, 8th Geometry

    For our school, the IAAT (Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test) and standardized scores were very important. Your daughter should know all grade level material (fractions/ratios/decimals and of course all facts), know how to interpret graphs/tables, and understand the concept of variables in order to do well in Alg or pre-Alg. The Art of Problem Solving website has some great pre-tests which can help you see where your daughter is (or you can do above grade level testing through a talent search, which convinced our school to accelerate my son more than any ability testing). The "regular" math for 6th and 7th grade just seems to go over these basics- percents, ratios, decimals, fractions, reading charts, etc- over and over again for kids who need a lot of repetition. They give the kids lots and lots of algorithms to solve equations (guess and check, draw a picture, estimate, make a table, etc) and if your dd is good at math she'll be ready to jump off a cliff when she had to draw a tree diagram or some other such nonsense instead of just calculating the answer. I think it can be really excruciating, so honestly, if you think that she is capable, but maybe has become bored or forgotten some things, I'd have her review (maybe take those AoPS placement tests) so she isn't bored silly over the next few years.
    However, I'd also ask the teacher if this test will be geared towards a specific curriculum. When my ds was skipped ahead in math early on, he was initially given an EM (Everyday Math) test that required him to show things like partial sums or lattice multiplication and he did poorly. It was only after I intervened and asked that he be given a test that didn't rely on him knowing odd ways to solve things (that he hadn't learned) and just relied on him actually knowing how to solve things in the normal way. So, you just want to make sure that the test reflects your dd's knowledge of math, not her knowledge of things specific to your school's math curriculum (and if it is very specific, make sure she reviews that).

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    Many schools in the Chicago area don't have junior high geometry at all or are just starting to offer it.

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    I'm not entirely sure about 6th grade because DS skipped it, but they've recently changed it for the kids identified as gifted in math, and the high achievers in math, anyway.

    For those gifted and high achieving kids:

    6th: 6th/7th grade accelerated math (pre-algebra)
    7th: 7th/8th grade accelerated math (pre-algebra, beginning algebra, with hints of geometry but still related to algebra)
    8th: Integrated Math I or high school math (from what I can gather it's simply algebra).

    For kids not accelerated I think they do pre-algebra until the end of 8th grade.

    in 5th grade, ds's teacher spent most of the year teaching fractions and division, the repetition of which had long-lasting negative affects on our ds and nearly turned him off from math forever.


    Last edited by KADmom; 09/16/14 07:10 AM.
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    Currently, we have the high math kids do Algebra in 7th and Geometry in 8th grade. We've seen a few kids do Geometry in 7th and Algebra II in 8th but that its not the norm. Quite frankly the system does not accommodate this level of acceleration well. Not sure how this will change with the adoption of common core.

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