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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.




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Our school district's highest math track is:
5th grade regular math 6th grade advanced math (I assume this is prealgebra) 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 Prealgebra
8: Advanced Algebra II Algebra II Algebra 8 PreAlgebra 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 78"Algebra" in two years instead of three
More accelerated: Common Core 6 in 5th grade Common Core 78"Algebra" in 6th and 7th grades (by placement test, not only for IDd gifted)
Still more accelerated (elementary option for giftedidentified only): Common Core 4 and 5 in 4th grade Common Core 6 in 5th grade Option to do 78Algebra 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 preAlg advanced: 6th grade general, 7th preAlg, and 8th Alg gifted: 6th grade preAlg, 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 preAlg. The Art of Problem Solving website has some great pretests 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 (prealgebra) 7th: 7th/8th grade accelerated math (prealgebra, 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 prealgebra 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 longlasting 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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We were told that our daughters Geometry class wasn't part of Common Core. The teacher mentioned that the book they were using was the same book as she used.(I'm guessing the teachers is in her mid thirties)In our district 8th grade Algebra II is at the high school. There's enough kids that they have their own class there.




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Our district:
Regular (about 50% of the kids in my DD's school)
6th 6th grade Math 7th 7th grade Math 8th 8th grade Math
6th to 8th grade common core curriculum is basically preAlgebra/ preGeometry.
Accelerated (about 35% of kids)
6th  late 6th and 7th grade 7th  8th grade Math 8th  Algebra I
TAG (about 15%)
6th  late 7th and 8th grade 7th  Algebra I 8th  Geometry
But a few kids in 6th are doing Algebra I after taking 7th grade , 8th grade and Algebra readiness exam require by the district. MS is easier for acceleration because you can mix and match.
They will be bused to HS for Algebra II when they get to 8th grade. Historically, there are a few MS kids going to HS for classes every year and nothing really new. That's the whole reason we chose that school to begin with. Hopefully, it will stay that way.




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Forgot to say: HS credit is given for Algebra and above. They are considered to be HS courses.




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We're homeschooling and our oldest is 8, but I checked the website of the gifted middle school program and it seems students can go anywhere in the sequence Math6/Math7/PreAlgebra/AlgebraI/Geometry/AlgebraII/AdvancedMath, so it seems they are really trying to cater to the advanced kids. (For context, in this district, the majority of students are "below proficient".)




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The only thing I see on her current school's website is that the school's curriculum is supposed to get students ready to take algebra in middle school (year not mentioned). It appears to me that for others here, that could be 7th or it could be 8th.
Last edited by ultramarina; 01/04/16 09:17 AM.




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Now that we have Common Core, you may also have to look at the content of each class. Here, they are arguing that what is now called Algebra really has some of the old Algebra and some of the old Algebra II in it, whereas some of the old Algebra has been pushed into Common Core 8.
I suspect it's not as much as they're saying, but that's another story.




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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. This is very much like our local schools (really, it's probably a state thing, mostly). The percentage of kids in each track really is highly variable locally, however. Our district is a good one, and most kids are in that middle track, with perhaps 510% of them in the advanced track. In many schools, the vast majority of students are in that slowest progression. And, as DeeDee notes Common Core has changed content somewhat.
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In our district and other districts in our county, the math sequence is:
Grades K4: no tracks In our district, no students (that I know of) are subject accelerated at this level.
Grades 56: no tracks, but gifted and high ability students are “unofficially” clustered
In our district, very few students are subject accelerated, but this is where it usually occurs. It’s a lengthy process, and parents must request it. (When DD was in 5th grade we used EXPLORE results and NUMATS’ recommendation that DD take Algebra 1 in grade 6 to apply for subject acceleration. To get acceleration, DD had to take the OLSAT, 5th grade, and 8th grade Stanford Achievement tests. She then had to take the sixth grade math Ohio Achievement Assessment to demonstrate she had no gaps. I had to attend a meeting where her fifth grade teacher and the seventh grade advanced math teacher, both school principals, the district Special Services Director, and County ESC special services Director had to approve the acceleration.)
In the past three years, one 5th grader skipped 6th and 7th grade math and took algebra in grade 6, three 5th graders skipped 6th grade math and took 7th grade advanced math (prealgebra), and this year no students acceleratedall 5th graders moved into 6th grade math.
Grades 78: official math tracks begin
In our district, average students take 7th grade math, gifted/highability students take 7th grade advanced math (prealgebra). A maximum of 35 students from the two sections of 7th grade advanced math are placed in to Algebra 1 based on their grades and an algebra placement exam. This year 24 students met the criteria and were invited to take Algebra 1 for which students earn high school credit. The remaining students are placed in 8th grade advance math or the regular 8th grade math based on their performance in 7th grade math.
In a nearby county, schools’ highest math track begins in grade 6 with transition math (prealgebra), algebra in grade 7, and geometry in grade 8 which is taught in the middle school. Criteria for entrance into this track is much lower in these schools than in the schools in our county even though they are offering prealgebra a full year earlier. For example, one school offering prealgebra to 6th graders requires at least a 90% average final grade in 5th grade math, scoring accelerated or advanced on the Ohio Achievement assessments (which means scoring 40 out of 49 possible points or 81.6%; 41.59% of students in the state meet that criteria), and scoring 16 out of 28 on a prealgebra placement test which is a 57%). Students in our district have to be subject accelerated in math to begin prealgebra in 6th grade. They must go to the high school to take geometry in 8th grade.




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I think here it is normal to do Algebra I in either 8th or 9th grade, but the district is busing kids as young as 5th grade to the Jr. High for Algebra I. I just found out that they placed DD in 7th/8th grade math (online the textbook is labeled 8th grade)...it doesn't make a lot of sense to me because she's only in 4th grade and I'm sure there are a lot of huge gaps (which hopefully they will go back and cover!). Other 4th grade gifted students are doing 5th/6th grade math or 6th/7th grade math. Our district apparently accelerates everyone one year by the time they get to 6th grade or so, so what is "usually" considered 7th grade math would be considered 6th grade math by our district. If they send DD to do Algebra next year I'm guessing it would be with mostly 8th graders but I'm not really sure.




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This is very interestingit really seems to be all over the map. (Which makes sense, since we are all over the map.) I am pretty certain no 5th graders are taking algebra in my district. My district website does not explain the tracks, though, so I guess this will be something I find out later. I was just curious, since I know this has changed since I was in school.




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Well, also understand that in some instances, those kinds of outthere placements WOULD be happening, but not for radical wholegrade accelerations so technically, 9yo DD was taking geometry, which would have been a "tenth grade" class, only she was only in 7th grade at the time, officially, though she was taking all 8th grade coursework otherwise. But even so, without fullgrade accelerations (2 of them) she'd have only been a 4th grader at that point.
So under more normal conditions, yeah that does mean that she'd have been bussed to a high school for that course.
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If DD takes Geometry in 6th grade (BIG if, who knows if they will allow her to progress that fast given her 2e situation, or if she will pass required tests to skip it in middle school, etc), then what is after that? Algebra II in 7th grade, then is it Calculus? I can't remember. What is there going to be left for her to take in high school?




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Our course was to finish Algebra 1 prior to 6th grade, then repeat algebra 1, then do alg2/trig (aka precalc) and geometry, then repeat geometry/alg2 (alternating years of free acceleration followed by repeat of subject with peers). Even with this accelerate/decelerate pattern, 9th grade is precalc, 10th and 11th are calc. 4 years of math are required to graduate so it's differential equations or some cake class senior year, or quit early if the math is too excruciatingly slow. Which I will warn you early accelerators, is going to be the case. High school math is very slow in pace compared the acceleration you can get in some middle schools. That doesn't sound like a good idea at all. (I realize you're trying to deal with the system.) Just keep progressing at the pace that suits the student. Do college courses in high school.




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I am obviously going to have to look into this. I don't even know what is offered at the high school. Maybe there are classes like statistics she could take. They just tested the kids, looked at past test scores, and placed them...they did not look for parental input or requests. Most of the info I got, I got secondhand from the parent of a child who is in DD's group. They know about her processing issues...I made that very clear. I know that in high school, they have an option to take college level courses (besides AP).




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Something to consider is test prep. If your child finishes Algebra 2 and geometry before 8th grade and then takes the SATs in 11th grade, that's a long time between the material and the test. Algebra skills will not rust if the student continues with trigonometry and calculus, and the breadth of geometry tested on the SAT is not great, so I would not worry about this.




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On the other hand, more sophisticated math skills can well make SAT questions more difficult, not less so. We found that this was a problem peculiar to College Board testing, though ACT, not so.
It's because of the peculiar "trick" or novelty style of some math entries on the College Board tests. A few mornings with a testprep booklet should fix it up, though.
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Here it is...
Standard progression... 6 th grade math 7th grade math 8th grade mathpre algebra 9th algebra
Next 6th grade math honors 7th grade mathpre algebra honors 8th algebra honors for hs credit must pass EOC exam
Some kids in the standard progression are invited to take Algebra on a trial basis 9 weeks) based on testing scores and with the support of the AVID program tutoring but if it is too hard they move back into 8th grade prealgebra.
I have a fifth grader who next year I am going to try to get him in the 7th grade prealgebra class as a sixth grader.




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Standard progression: Integrated Math Topics 1 grade 6 Integrated Math Topics 2 grade 6, 7 Algebra I grade 7, 8, 9
Geometry grade 8, 9, 10 Gifted progression is advanced by one year. All students, standard and gifted, are (theoretically) given math placement test and "placed appropriately". This varies in our district by principal and whether the child is in the gifted program. The district has, in the past, offered summer courses to skip a year of math in middle school (but not high school). This past summer they offered Algebra 1 and IMT2. These are standard, not gifted summer classes.




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Looks like DD is doing "Flipped Math" and the kids are all going to be working at their own pace. I knew that was going to come sooner or later. They watch learning videos at home and take a quiz so the teacher can see if they understand. Then they work on the concepts in class the next day with the teachers' help. They have her started in 7th/8th grade math. It's supposedly the same thing as the previous year, just more in depth. He said he wants to see at least a years' progress in a year, although some kids will do more than that. Still not really clear on how this is going to work. If they score 90 percent on a final exam for the course they can skip out of it in middle school/high school (but get credit for it).




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I have to say that I have never understood what 7th and 8th grade math mean although I see references to it on this board and other places. Six years of elementary math is already stretching it, iykwim. The best that I can figure out is that 7th and 8th grade math is a construct created to serve as a holding pattern for kids who are not ready for algebra. What my district and many others have done is to simply allow kids who are not ready for algebra to repeat Prealgebra with some extras in 8th. I have seen other districts have kids repeat elementary math in 7th to delay Prealgebra to 8th grade. I would also say that Prealgebra is now a misnomer in many districts and a substantial portion (1/3 to 1/2) of the coverage is more properly PreGeometry. Transition math is probably a more fitting term.
So GT kids would take GT PreAlgebra in 6th, GT Algebra I in 7th, and GT Geometry in 8th. Regular highish kids (becoming honors in high school) would take PreAlgebra in 7th and Algebra I in 8th. Regular lowish kids would take PreAlgebra in 7th and Math 8 in 8th grade, thereby delaying Algebra I until 9th. There is also a little known (barely documented) program that allows 5th graders to take PreAlgebra so that they can take GT Algebra I in 6th, GT Geometry in 7th, and GT Algebra II in 8th. The numbers vary from year to year but only a fraction of 1% of the kids are in this program. Of course, further acceleration is possible as my DS entered the program to take PreAlgebra in 4th grade. He is the only kid his year but I believe there have been isolated instances of other kids in the past who have accelerated the same number of years but generally their last acceleration took place later in the educational process  middle or high school instead of 4th grade. Interestingly, once you hit high school, three tracks become four as more remedial math becomes available, perhaps in recognition that it doesn't take much to master elementary math, making it more difficult to separate until you get to Algebra and Geometry.




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My ds in 6th is taking Honors Algebra 1, he took prealgebra in 5th and is on the same track as Quantum2003 describes with Geometry in 7th and Algebra 2 in 8th. There was one 4th grade boy that skipped up to 5th last year so he is on the same track and 1 year younger. These are all labeled Honors classes and are very rigorous.
This is a middle school 5th through 8th. They have 3 other math classes labeled Math 1, Math 2, and Foundations of Algebra. Most kids start 5th with Math 2. Everyone in the school is expected to at least pass Honors Algebra 1 by 8th grade.
I am sure there are situations that arise.




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Is mine the only school district where they cover Algebra and Algebra 2 consecutively, with Geometry after? The typical progression is Algebra 1 by 8th, but the gifted 8ths take Algebra2/Trig at the high school. This works well for them because Trig is a prereq for our Chem 1Honors, so they can take that freshman year.




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In our District advanced and Magnet appear to be the only ones that don't have it consecutively. I believe the typical is either accelerated pre algebraaccelerated algebra or prealgebraalgebra for 7th and 8th graders. Geometry I believe would be 9th and 10th grade. Geometry is considered a 200 level (10th grade) at the high school. In my daughters case 8th is Algebra 2/Pre calculus followed by Trig/Calculus A.




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We place our incoming 9th graders who've had either alg I or geom into alg II, and all others into alg I, from which they proceed to geo, alg II. (In an attempt to have most 10th graders sync up at geometry.) So some have i, ii, geo, and others have i, geo, ii.
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I think I posted on this once before, but I can't find the dang thing.
We have to choose a math track for DD (about to start middle school). I'm curious what other districts in other parts of the country typically do for high achievers. We have a couple of different "honors" tracks available, all of which are more rigorous than what I took years ago. I don't really want to post our options because I am paranoid about identifying myself, but I'm curious as to what is seen as de rigeur for students applying to competitive schools these days. DD is a good math student, but math is not her forte.
The district makes a big deal out of "Once you make this choice, that's IT" (probably not totally true) so this does feel somewhat significant.




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I think I posted on this once before, but I can't find the dang thing. Maybe it was the thread Typical middle school math progression? you started on 20140916.




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This is a very important question. It's smart of you to be looking into it now. Let me warn you that the district is correct that once you get on a particular math track, it is very difficult to switch because each teach math using different methods. One is more theoretical and the other is more rote.
What I have observed is that there are typically two to three tracks in good school districts. The lower level track is the Common Core track. It is a blend of pre algebra, algebra, and some geometry and other concepts. The child learns a little of each every year but at a deeper level so it's slowed down. If you take this track, be sure to supplement because Common Core students are not taught to memorize math facts or algorithms and really struggle with higher level math. The traditional track consists of pre algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry/pre calculus, calculus I, calculus II, calculus, III (or statistics, computer science, IB math etc). The Common Core math track makes it very difficult for the child to reach calculus in high school so it's definitely not an option for a math or science prodigy. Opponents of traditional math say children are pushed into abstract math classes before they are devepmentally ready and without the foundation of understanding.
In my school district all children are in the common core math in elementary school through 7th grade, then algebra I begins in 8th grade for advanced learners. If you want your child to begin the traditional path before 8th grade, the child has to take the 7th grade common core test and get at least 95% correct. It's a high bar for even gifted learners. I noticed my school district has stopped offering calculus. Obviously, I'm very concerned.




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I have a really long post in my mind but I'm about to go out, I'll write more later. Is your school using Common Core? If so keep in mind that Common Core changes the 'typical' track.




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Bostonian, yes, that was it! How did you find that? The search function failed me.
DD took a placement test and qualified for the most advanced track, which will culminate in 11th grade calc (12th grade TBD, basically, but there are options...again, I don't want to specify too much). She also has an "advanced" track available, which culminates in 12th grade calc.
Last edited by ultramarina; 01/04/16 09:20 AM.




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Bostonian, yes, that was it! How did you find that? The search function failed me. It was the first Google search result for "davidson gifted forum math course progression".




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I'm wondering if the most advanced track is going to kill her. OTOH, if that track is what it takes these days...sigh. I don't want to close any doors, but I also don't want her to fall off any cliffs. In our district, the local culture and individual teachers make all the difference. It's not the subject matter, so much as the homework load, trickiness of the tests (including topics assigned as reading but never as homework or covered in class, for instance), and so on that make classes like falling off a cliff. I recommend you ask around your local area and haunt local forums for the feel of the different tracks.




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Ah...I suppose Google is the way to go. I wasn't sure what I'd called the thread, so was searching for "middle school math." Ths search function here is maddening.




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This is complicated because many schools and districts are in the middle of changing everything because of Common Core. So in my district things were ONE way until this year, and they are going to be very different for all kids who haven't already passed Algebra I starting next year. This INVOLVES all the kids from the most advanced to the most struggling. In my school district junior high starts at 7th grade, but there are some gifted students who take 7th grade math in 6th grade. I'm taking 1/700 students who take anything more advanced.
In my school district UNTIL next year the regular track for the most advanced kids was Algebra I in 7th, Geometry in 8th, H. Algebra II in 9th, H. PreCalc in 10th. AP BC Calc in 11th, with AP Statistics & AP Computer Science as options for 11th & 12th grade. There are a tiny number of outliers who have done this sequence even earlier. One kid in DS's class who started Algebra I in 5th grade and took Calculus as a 9th grader.
Starting with next year our district is going to Common Core Integrated Model for all students who haven't already passed Algebra I. Common Core 8th grade math is a new class that includes topics from what used to be Algebra I. Math I, II, III is a replacement for Algebra I, Geometry & Algebra II and some topics from what used to be PreAlgebra. My district is going to make it possible to move straight from Math III to BC AP Calc.
The honors kids will be doing compacted classes because there is no "skipping" in Common Core. Most advanced regular track is a "Compacted" sequence that gets students through H.S. Math I by the end of 8th grade. A second "compacted sequence" for 9th & 10th  that includes Math 2 & Math 3 + trig. So that a student is ready for AP Calculus as an 11th grader. Putting the kids on the same path as before. Honestly last I saw the district hadn't figured out the details of the "upper" part of the honors sequence yet.
Are you confused yet?
My advice. Even if they tell you there is no room to move, a student can usually always move "DOWN" to an easier sequence between school years. In my school is is easy to move down, you have to get near perfect scores to move up. This is one of the changes the district is implementing ways for kids who start the Math 1 as 9th graders to move up.




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Our district...
Regular track: 6th grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade math which is prealgebra, 9 th grade algebra, etc is one tract
Honors: The next track is 6th grade math honors, 7th grade honors (pre algebra), 8th grade algebra, 9 th geometry, etc
Accelerated: The newest track is 6th grade accelerated (I believe it is 6th and pre algebra combined, 7th algebra, 8th geometry, 9th algebra 2, etc. it wasn't available for my older son but hope to get my younger in it.




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Our district...
Regular track: 6th grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade math which is prealgebra, 9 th grade algebra, etc is one tract
Honors: The next track is 6th grade math honors, 7th grade honors (pre algebra), 8th grade algebra, 9 th geometry, etc
Accelerated: The newest track is 6th grade accelerated (I believe it is 6th and pre algebra combined, 7th algebra, 8th geometry, 9th algebra 2, etc. it wasn't available for my older son but hope to get my younger in it. Our district is very similar except that these days they are trying to move the majority of students to the 2nd track: track 1: 6th grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade prealgebra, 9th grade algebra. etc. track 2: 6th grade math, 7th grade prealgebra, 8th grade algebra, 9th grade geometry. etc. track 3: 6th grade prealgebra, 7th grade algebra, 8th grade geometry. etc. You can go to an even faster track by individually arranging it with the school. At high school, you pretty much go from where you end up with in middle school. In our magnet school, though, there is another very comprehensive placement test and you can accelerate even further.




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Our district...
Regular track: 6th grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade math which is prealgebra, 9 th grade algebra, etc is one tract
Honors: The next track is 6th grade math honors, 7th grade honors (pre algebra), 8th grade algebra, 9 th geometry, etc
Accelerated: The newest track is 6th grade accelerated (I believe it is 6th and pre algebra combined, 7th algebra, 8th geometry, 9th algebra 2, etc. it wasn't available for my older son but hope to get my younger in it. Our district is very similar except that these days they are trying to move the majority of students to the 2nd track: track 1: 6th grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade prealgebra, 9th grade algebra. etc. track 2: 6th grade math, 7th grade prealgebra, 8th grade algebra, 9th grade geometry. etc. track 3: 6th grade prealgebra, 7th grade algebra, 8th grade geometry. etc. You can go to an even faster track by individually arranging it with the school. At high school, you pretty much go from where you end up with in middle school. In our magnet school, though, there is another very comprehensive placement test and you can accelerate even further. Our district is similar with the three tracks. Maybe there is something lower too for kids with learning disabilities. We have maybe 75% on the average track, 2025% on advanced track and 12% on the highest track (highly gifted program students and a few kids other kids who test into Algebra after 6 grade preAP math). They could easily get more kids on the highest track if they accelerated all of the gifted kids starting in 4th like they do in the highly gifted program. I'm guessing that they don't do that because there wouldn't be enough of them for an entire class in elementary at each school.




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Our tracks are in transition as well, as a graduated adjustment over a few years. The new path, after the shift, will be 6th grade math, then 7th preAlgebra, 8th Algebra I, 9th Geometry, 10th Algebra II, with additional course required in 11th. After transition, the core requirements end up a year ahead of previous path (before, Algebra II was 11th grade for regular track).
Accelerated path shifts 5th graders into 6th grade math; 6th preAlgebra, 7th Algebra I, 8th Geometry, Algebra II in 9th, then 1012th are Trig/preCalc to AP Calc AB to AP Calc BC, with AP Statistics as an alternate to one of those, and a few other courses also available. The accelerated track is Honors level for Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II; accelerating 2 years shifts preAlgebra to 5th, same sequence forward.




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My two older kids attend different private schools which have interesting course progressions:
School 1's most accelerated path: 7th gradeaccelerated math (includes some algebra), 8thalgebra (algebra 1 and 2 combined), 9th geometry (includes some precalc), 10th precalc (includes Calc AB), 11th calc BC, 12th multivariate calc.
There are several other options for kids to go at a slower pace, including one that starts with 9th grade Algebra I
School 2's accelerated path: 6th grade everybody in the same class, 7th grade algebra, 8th algebra 2 & geometry (1 semester each), 9th algebra 2 & geometry (1 semester each), 10th precalc, 11th calc AB, 12th calc BC. 1 semester of stats is also required for everybody.
The nonaccelerated pathway has algebra in 8th.




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So with a very few exceptions, it appears DD's projected math track, if she chooses the one she tested into, is similar to the highest/hardest/most accelerated typically available, though obviously some do individual accelerations beyond this. My question is (hard to answer)what is this track likely to be like for, say, a 95th97th percentile math achiever? That's what I think DD is. May seem like a fine point, but we all know it isn'tshe isn't 99th%, IMO. Math will probably be her hardest subject, thoughI don't see her struggling in other areas.




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From my back of the envelope calculation, about 510% of our students do the track your DD tested into. The success rate among these kids is quite high. So my guess is that if she's above 95%ile, she will be fine.
About half our students do the next track down, Calc in 12th grade.




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Ultramarina, I think your question is theoretically sound but perhaps only peripherally relevant in practice. Your DD's actual experience will depend more on the other students in her classes so you actually need to find out the selectivity of her projected math track. Disregarding that for the moment, I think that PreAlgebra in 6th grade will be appropriate for a 95th97th percentile math achiever.
For my nonmathy (but very smart) DD, PreAlgebra in 6th grade has been excruciatingly slow due to too many students who shouldn't be in the class. At a result, the teacher goes at a snail's pace in order not to lose the bottom half. However, over the course of the year, some of those students have been rerouted to a lower level class and I believe that this pruning process continues over the next couple of years so that perhaps only about 15% will complete Geometry in 8th grade. In your DD's case, I think that she should be fine even if the track is limited to 99th percentile achievers, although in that case she may have to work harder than her classmates to keep up.




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Your DD's actual experience will depend more on the other students in her classes so you actually need to find out the selectivity of her projected math track I share the same concerns for my DD who will be a 6th grader but in the 'higher' track for 8th grade Algebra  apparently this class is fairly rapidly paced and the teacher has a reputation for being the right kind of tough teacher. I am ready to give the SD the benefit of the doubt because they are genuinely and sincerely trying to help my DD succeed from what I have seen so far. I also desparately want DD to learn to advocate for herself from middle school onwards
Last edited by madeinuk; 06/03/15 05:49 PM.
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Due to the relatively rigorous pretest, which has a hard cutoff, there should not be an issue with kids who shouldn't be in the class.
Last edited by ultramarina; 01/04/16 09:21 AM.




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In our school system, everyone is in the same track through 6th grade. Starting with 7th grade, the kids get tracked as follows:
* ~1% of kids: Placed into Honors Algebra in 7th grade * ~1/3rd of kids: Placed into AE prealgebra in 7th grade. Must maintain an A to get into Honors Algebra in 8th grade, else depending on grades put into AE or Standard in 8th grade. * Remaining kids: Placed into standard prealgebra. Must achieve at least a B to move up to AE in 8th grade.
We go to a public school system, but the average student is at the 90th percentile. For many kids getting into AE in 7th grade and honors in high school ends up being quite difficult, and there is a lot of movement down the tracks because kids couldn't keep up their grades.
Last edited by mithawk; 06/03/15 07:02 PM. Reason: Clarified AE/honors track




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What is AE? Academically...Exceptional?
My district is all over the place and includes the very poor as well as the very wealthy. The average student is certainly not 90th percentile.
I do not know what percentage of kids in my district are in the track DD tested into (which equates to your 1% track, mithawkHonors Algebra in 7th). I would guess it's probably 35%. It could be as much as 1015%, but I doubt it.
FWIW, DD has been accelerated by a year in math for years now and that's been completely fine, but I feel like this track is accelerated 2 years+, isn't it?




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Keep in mind that the lower tracks are *depleted* of top students. This lets them have instruction that is appropriately targeted to them without having to worry about boring the kids at the top.




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AE stands for accelerated/enriched. And I think your D is accelerated by two years. Algebra is normally a 9th grade subject.
As to whether it is necessary for competitive colleges, I think it can help, but it's not necessary. Without it, your child just needs to find another way to shine. For example, D's best friend's older sister was accepted into Harvard without qualifying for the 1% math group. With our kids, D didn't qualify for it, but S did. We will see what happens with they apply to college.




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Ditto: Honors track used to be: 7th grade Algebra I, 8th grade Geometry, 9th grade Trig/Algebra III, 10th grade PreCalc, 11th grade AP AB Calculus, 12th grade AP BC calculus. They also have AP statistics. But this year it's all changed for honors math: 7th grade Common core 2/3, 8th grade common core 3, etc. What is super weird is that the only way to take BC AP Calc is if you get into this super math track in 7th grade! I think, in our district, that the Common Core is leading to fewer kids taking the very upper level math courses.




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DD is definitely accelerated by one year onlyshe completed the 6th grade textbook this year (5th grade). I am presuming that she would now be going from a 1year acceleration to a 2year accel, which concerns me a bit.




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AE stands for accelerated/enriched. And I think your D is accelerated by two years. Algebra is normally a 9th grade subject. That is not strictly true. Before Common Core, there was a push to have all 8th grader take Algebra at least in CA. And Common Core changes make it even more confusing because Common Core 8th grade math includes about 1/3 of what used to constitute basic algebra. Common Core pushes this back a bit. Some districts implemented this putting ALL 8th graders in Algebra.




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In our school system, everyone is in the same track through 6th grade. Starting with 7th grade, the kids get tracked as follows:
* ~1% of kids: Placed into Honors Algebra in 7th grade * ~1/3rd of kids: Placed into AE prealgebra in 7th grade. Must maintain an A to get into Honors Algebra in 8th grade, else depending on grades put into AE or Standard in 8th grade. * Remaining kids: Placed into standard prealgebra. Must achieve at least a B to move up to AE in 8th grade.
We go to a public school system, but the average student is at the 90th percentile. For many kids getting into AE in 7th grade and honors in high school ends up being quite difficult, and there is a lot of movement down the tracks because kids couldn't keep up their grades. This is what our school district USED to do before the new Common Core changes. Only we had ~10% in H. Algebra in 7th. ~60% in PreAlgebra.. to take Algebra in 8th. ~30% in "7th grade math" to take Algebra in 9th.




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For contrast NZ years 1 to 12 (K to 11) maths, Year 13 (12th grade) calculus and/or statistics. A few kids get to do a year ahead but that us about it.




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I only have information about the two advanced tracks, but I assume that the typical track in my district is still algebra in 9th, since "high advanced" is algebra in 7th and "advanced" is algebra in 8th...but I'm not positive, since both those classes are also designated "honors/advanced." There might be "regular" algebra in 8th, too? Something that goes slower but covers similar material.
I know there was a big national "algebra in 8th grade for all" push a while backI'm ashamed to say that I forget how this has generally gone.




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I only have information about the two advanced tracks, but I assume that the typical track in my district is still algebra in 9th, since "high advanced" is algebra in 7th and "advanced" is algebra in 8th...but I'm not positive, since both those classes are also designated "honors/advanced." There might be "regular" algebra in 8th, too? Something that goes slower but covers similar material.
I know there was a big national "algebra in 8th grade for all" push a while backI'm ashamed to say that I forget how this has generally gone. Found this: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/03/18eighthgrademathlovelessTakeawaynot well, except for students who took algebra I in 7th grade or earlier.
...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...




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Our typical track used to be algebra in 9th grade, but the district is pushing more students to take algebra in 8th. I don't know how it goes.
We used to have maybe 12% of students taking algebra in 7th grade, but in recent years it's more like 1015%. I think they do finenot everyone handles it well but most are OK.
Very few kids do algebra in 6th grade, and these are by special requests and for kids who are truly math whiz. The cases that we are aware of all worked out super well.




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Assume that collegegoing students should get some calculus under their belts in the senior year. I wonder why this is an assumption we should make? Curious if anyone can justify it. Why is calculus in high school necessary? (Says the woman who did not take calculus in high schoolbtw, I was admitted to a number of highly prestigious schools without it, but that was then and this is now.)




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I didn't take it in high school nor in college and will go to my grave not knowing what it even is.
And I was great in math just wasn't on the right track. And then didn't need t for my major.
Last edited by Cookie; 06/04/15 07:44 AM.




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Assume that collegegoing students should get some calculus under their belts in the senior year. I wonder why this is an assumption we should make? Curious if anyone can justify it. Why is calculus in high school necessary? If you want to finish a science degree in college in four years, it's necessary. I didn't have calc in HS (poor advising) and arrived at college too far behind to catch up.




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If you want to finish a science degree in college in four years, it's necessary. That was the reason I thought of, but should we really act like all high school students must be prepared to major in science? I think my DH retook calc in college, despite having taken in HS (he took it in 11th grade because he had been individually accelerated). He majored in science. Of course, this was decades ago. And I may be incorrectmaybe it was multivariate calc or something.




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If you want to finish a science degree in college in four years, it's necessary. That was the reason I thought of, but should we really act like all high school students must be prepared to major in science? Of course not.




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Assume that collegegoing students should get some calculus under their belts in the senior year. I wonder why this is an assumption we should make? Curious if anyone can justify it. Why is calculus in high school necessary? (Says the woman who did not take calculus in high schoolbtw, I was admitted to a number of highly prestigious schools without it, but that was then and this is now.) No we shouldn't assume that all students need Calculus before college nor that all should take it. I agree there is too much an emphasis on all students getting Calculus. But our higher level math tracks in our H.S. need to have the option for students to take Calculus before graduation. If you want to go into a STEM program in university there is a disadvantage to students who haven't taken AP Calculus in H.S. From admission into engineering/science programs to being able to graduate in 4 years once admitted. Most college programs are set up that if if you do well in H.S. math and are ready to take Calculus as a freshman college you should be fine but the competition to get INTO these programs necessitates kids taking the class. In addition it's a level of math many students CAN take before college. If you are not planing to go into fields such as math, science, engineering, computer science, premed, economics, statistics, and business you probably don't ever need Calculus at all. Most H.S. offer AP Statistics and many students take this instead of A.P. Calculus.




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It completely makes sense to me for students who are math and sciencefocused to take calc in HS. I just don't see why ALL students should take it in HS. I would arge that statistics is a much more generally relevant class, anyway. Heaven knows most of the people I know IRL seem to need a class in it.




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Our choices are pretty typical of those posted  Alg in 7th, 8th, or 9th, with precalc, Calc AB/BC, or Calc III in 12th. A few kids every year are moved into a higher math off the standard track, as my youngest was, usually at the whim of a nice teacher or principal (he'll be bused to the HS next year in 8th for AlgII/Trig).
Honestly, I think your daughter will do just fine if she's a smart kid and a moderately motivated student. What I've seen with all my kids is that once they are moved up, they just get along in whatever class they're in and that class generally feels right. None have hit a wall or felt overwhelmed. If she could handle Trigonometry in 11th grade, she will handle it in 9th or 10th grade, as long as she is progressed appropriately. All the other kids will be moving along at the same speed and have skipped/compressed the same classes.
I do think it's pretty important to have Calculus before college if possible (for the staying on track to graduate reasons), but my son's godmother teaches at a very prestigious college of Engineering and she has remarked before that many kids she sees don't have the same opportunities that mine do and a fairly good chunk of her students come in without calculus. According to the 2013 NAEP, 18% of high schoolers have taken calculus. So, it's great to have it, but it's not like she would be the only one without it if she didn't take it. One caveat  if at her school, almost all kids DO take it, then it might stand out if she doesn't.




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The question for DD really isn't calc or no calc (though I think that's also a worthwhile question!)it's calc in 11th or calc in 12th. I would certainly say she's a kid who should take calc in HS. She's scienceoriented and "good" at mathjust not "outstanding."
BTW, I don't see trig in her course progression anywhere.




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This issue is not specific to Calculus. I should point out that Algebra II and geometry are also not very relevant for most people beyond high school. Hopefully, its the intellectual exercise itself i.e learning abstract problem solving that remains afterwards.
Last edited by BenjaminL; 06/04/15 09:25 AM.




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It completely makes sense to me for students who are math and sciencefocused to take calc in HS. I just don't see why ALL students should take it in HS. I would arge that statistics is a much more generally relevant class, anyway. Heaven knows most of the people I know IRL seem to need a class in it. Statistics is probably more helpful for most people than Calculus. Or a class that I want to call 'real world math' that involves some stats, some probability, some basic math that most kids learn in 5th grade but it's not relevant to them till it's time to get their own credit cards. Seems to me a lot of students exit H.S. not understanding how credit cards, loans and lottery probabilities work. As for Stats if you want to take more than a basic class in statistics at university you need to understand calculus, ie.. if your taking a Stats for a Stats, Econ, or Business major. You need a Basic Stats class that is based on Calculus before taking higher level classes. Typically you can take that after taking AP AB Calc, or one semester of college Calculus. So if you are planing on going on in those fields you might be better off with Calculus in H.S. rather than A.P. Stats.




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Our school goes like this:
Track 1: 8th grade prealgebra, 9th grade algebra. Finishes with 12th grade precalculus or ends with Algebra 2, etc. No honors math classes are available for this track; generally kids in this track won't take (m)any honors classes, though subjects are tracked individually. However, for many kids this is acceptable and comfortable, which is fine.
Track 2: 8th grade algebra, 9th grade geometry. Finishes with 12th grade AB or BC calculus or AP stats. Honors classes available but not all the kids take them. Generally represents the "average" kid in my mind BUT there is a range of ability (some kids should really be in a different track, some just show normal variation). Most kids/parents happy with this track.
Track 3: 8th grade geometry, 9th grade Algebra 2. Finishes calculus in 11th grade with extra math class in 12th grade, like stats. This track is entirely honors. Represents advanced students; less than 2% of kids. Likely to be in all/mostly honors classes.
There are a handful of kids who are accelerated beyond this on a case by case basis. I think there's a class or so of kids tracked into something one level lower than track 1, and some kids fail classes or need remedial math at a lower level than track 1. However, track 1 is the lowest "option". I thought track 1 was maybe 25% and 2 maybe 70%, but I think it's closer to 35% and 60%. Either way, track 1 is viewed as being below average and lowaverage; track 2 is average. It's a sort of gray. area. Track 3 is the advanced track. However, the school tells everyone that the track 1 kids are "right where they should be" and track 2 kids are "advanced". Well....it helps the parents and kids feel good about themselves, but really algebra in 8th grade is the new average. Our school isn't particularly above average, either. That being said I think many kids in track 2 may benefit from track 1, even if they can scrape by. Common core is used up through algebra and/or HS, I believe. Either that or it's just executed much better and no one notices it.
Sorry that's so long. Basically: high achievers either take geometry in 8th grade, or take algebra in 8th so they can be at the top of the class.




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BTW, I don't see trig in her course progression anywhere. Trig is probably rolled into another course. In our district I think it's part of either Alg II or the precalc equivalent, depending on your track. The basic functions seem to be introduced in prealgebra now, and the rest won't fill a semester.




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The question for DD really isn't calc or no calc (though I think that's also a worthwhile question!)it's calc in 11th or calc in 12th. I would certainly say she's a kid who should take calc in HS. She's scienceoriented and "good" at mathjust not "outstanding."
BTW, I don't see trig in her course progression anywhere. There is no trig.. because with the Common Core class realignments Trig is added to the Algebra/Geometry/Algebra II topics and covered in those courses. It doesn't need to be it's own course. It's certainly never been a full year course, my son's precalc course is a combination of extra Algebra II, Trig and very basic Calc and a few other 'topics'. This issue was thought about when my district was looking into the new math program. The feedback we were getting from college professors in engineering & science is they would PREFER students take Calculus in 12th grade. Because those who take it in 11th (most honors kids these days) often forget a lot before they start H.S. I proposed that we need a H. Trig/TOPICS class (for H. 11th graders) that is to be taken between Algebra II & AP B.C. Calc. The new plan allows going from Algebra II straight to AP A.B. Calc. My district is very against adding a Multivariable math class but there are a lot of interesting & in depth topics that could be covered before getting to Calculus.




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The feedback we were getting from college professors in engineering & science is they would PREFER students take Calculus in 12th grade. Because those who take it in 11th (most honors kids these days) often forget a lot before they start H.S. I'm thinking this is what happened to my DH, who also took calc in a subpar bluecollar school district.




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I cannot imagine doing AP physics without understanding intregration, at least. Let alone chemistry where differential equations are necessary. Is high school/entrylevel to college really this remedial in this country'? Really?
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So, you're saying high school without calculus is remedial? Or, high school without early calculus (what grade?) is remedial? I don't know.
I did not take AP physics, but I did take chemistry (not API don't think it was available).




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My DD9 was accelerated too much in math, IMO, in a gifted magnet, and she breezed through or completely skipped certain concepts that are very important (like decimals/fractions)... This is why I have ultra hesitant to move my DD onto (even pre) Algebra I made her do the SG books + workbooks with all that repitition just because I was worried about gaps. She had finished SG K thru 5+ word problems by the time she was 8.5 and begged for prealgebra but I yielded not because I was so afraid that she hadn't taken it all in. We then did the Lure of the Labyrinth to fill time and ensure she was ready before starting prealgebra with AoPS about a month after her 9th birthday.
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Ultramarina, I also wondered about this. I never took anything beyond basic Chemistry, and Diff Eq were not required. Does this mean that in other countries kids take three semesters of Calculus and then Differential Equations before they attempt Chemistry?
I guess my impression was that in many other countries that math and science were not taught as distinct courses of Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II or Biology/Chemistry/Physics, but rather a bit of each is learned each year, and perhaps the supporting math is learned alongside the science  but that you did not need a full blown Calculus course to complete HS science.




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Is SG = Singapore Math, or something else?




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So, you're saying high school without calculus is remedial? Or, high school without early calculus (what grade?) is remedial? I don't know.
I did not take AP physics, but I did take chemistry (not API don't think it was available). According to the AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description the math prequisite for AP Chemistry is a secondyear algebra course. Here is what they say about AP Physics 1 and 2, which replaces the old AP Physics B that was supposed to be comparable to a noncalculusbased course taken by students not majoring in physics or engineering. http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/exam/exam_information/225589.htmlIs there a prerequisite for AP Physics 1? Unlike AP Physics B, which recommends a prior high school physics course, no prior course work in physics is necessary for students to enroll in AP Physics 1. Students should have completed geometry and be concurrently taking Algebra II or an equivalent course. Although the Physics 1 course includes basic use of trigonometric functions, this understanding can be gained either in the concurrent math course or in the AP Physics 1 course itself.
Is there a prerequisite for AP Physics 2? Students entering AP Physics 2 need to have developed mastery of the learning objectives described in the AP Physics 1 curriculum framework to be prepared for AP Physics 2. Taking the AP Physics 1 course or a comparable introductory course in physics will satisfy this prerequisite. Students should also have taken or be concurrently taking precalculus or an equivalent course. AP Physics C still employs calculus: AP Physics C Course Details This course ordinarily forms the first part of the college sequence that serves as the foundation in physics for students majoring in the physical sciences or engineering. The sequence is parallel to or preceded by mathematics courses that include calculus. Methods of calculus are used wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. Strong emphasis is placed on solving a variety of challenging problems, some requiring calculus. I wonder about labeling AP Physics 1 a collegelevel course worthy of college credit. Doing so will increase the number AP exam fees students pay.




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I cannot imagine doing AP physics without understanding intregration, at least. Let alone chemistry where differential equations are necessary. Is high school/entrylevel to college really this remedial in this country'? Really? NONE of the science classes at my DS's high school require Calculus. Algebra II is the highest class required for any science class and this includes AP Physics. AP Board offers two tracks of AP Physics: Physics 1 (full year mechanics without Calculus) Physics 2 (second year without Calculus, include Fluids, E&M) OR Physics C  Physics with Calculus. Two parts to the AP test, can be done in one year or two. Honestly I think it's stupid that my district doesn't offer Physic C, since they have plenty who take AP Calculus as 11th graders. And physics is actually EASIER with Calculus. But we can't convince the science department. Honestly the new Physics 1 course that started just last year is EASIER than the non AP Physics class since it's really really slow. Calculus is NOT a High School class. It's a college level course. The fact that more than 50% of the students take AP Calculus at DS's high school and many High Performing High Schools does not make it a High School level course. First year Chemistry at the local Research University doesn't require Calculus. But to get a Chemistry major you need Physics with Calculus, so if you hadn't already passed Calculus.
Last edited by bluemagic; 06/04/15 12:49 PM.




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I think a major problem here is one of terminology. I know that in previous conversations, the thing I took called "Trig/PreCalculus" turned out to be the same thing others took called "Calculus AB."
Both of these have the word "calculus" in their names, and both precede a more advanced course ("Calculus" in my case, and "Calculus BC" for others), so when we say that calculus is a requirement, what, exactly, do we mean?
I had a horrible physics teacher and ended up dropping the class pretty quickly, so while I'm not aware of any differential equations in the topic, that doesn't mean they're not there. I did go far enough in physics to get to vectoring (and then saw it again in crazy detail in posthigh school education), and found that it relies heavily on trigonometry... so, whatever you call the class that teaches trig, that would be a required course for whatever level of physics does vectoring.




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Sorry UM or any others that I may have inadvertently upset.
I did not mean to say that Algebra is remedial per se. But compared to many other countries the Maths that kids know finishing at 18 in the US is way behind that of kids outside of the US unless we want to include countries like Nigeria, that is.
Admitedly, I finished 'high school' having done A levels in the UK. The calculus A/B here appears to cover stuff equivalent to an O level or gifted 15 year old/NT 16 year old in the UK. Anyone taking science A levels without A level Maths tended to get bogged down sometime in the second year of the 2 year course. I had been under the mistaken impression that AP classes were like A levels.
A levels are real 'college prep' classes which is why most Europeans are puzzled by the fact that 'AP' is a higher level class than mere 'college prep' because in Europe traditionally only the rich and stupid/academically inclined regardless of family income went to college.
My mistake there  but this does rather highlight why there are so many H1 visas getting printed. Outside of the U.S. most kids doing STEM subjects are starting college at a much higher level then their US peers....
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Admitedly, I finished 'high school' having done A levels in the UK. The calculus A/B here appears to cover stuff equivalent to an O level or gifted 15 year old/NT 16 year old in the UK. Anyone taking science A levels without A level Maths tended to get bogged down sometime in the second year of the 2 year course. I had been under the mistaken impression that AP classes were like A levels.
A levels are real 'college prep' classes which is why most Europeans are puzzled by the fact that 'AP' is a higher level class than mere 'college prep' because in Europe traditionally only the rich and stupid/academically inclined regardless of family income went to college.
My mistake there  but this does rather highlight why there are so many H1 visas getting printed. Outside of the U.S. most kids doing STEM subjects are starting college at a much higher level then their US peers.... Not sure that is quite right but I'm not sure I know everything about the English system to compare either. (I'm not upset.. just trying to clarify terms.) I'm not sure it's fair to compare the two A level years with the last two years of H.S. I would have to look this up, but I'm under the impression that the A level years are more equivalent to last year of H.S. and first year of university. (Edited to add looking it up the last two years of H.S. & 6th form years do seem to cover the same age. I still think they roughly cover the material of senior year & first year of university.) Keep in mind that U.S. "AP" Classes are kind of in a no man's land. Many of them aren't like any class actually taken at a University. For example AP US History, most university history classes don't cover the entirety of U.S. history in one semester course but rather specialize. This class is more a cross between an Honors High School class and one challenging enough to be consider a university course. AP's are 'supposed' to be university first year courses that are taken IN High School. We do have a difficulty is defining terms and it's largely what's causing confusion in answering this question. This goes for Algebra as well as Calculus. The only way to really compare would be to look at subject matter vs. other subject matter. It's complicated in the U.S. because each state in the past has had their own standards. The textbook publishers have text books labeled by state to handle these discrepancies. Different districts teach the classes differently. And different school districts offer different classes. I know school districts and private schools that offer multivariable Calc, but my district doesn't
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The calculus A/B here appears to cover stuff equivalent to an O level or gifted 15 year old/NT 16 year old in the UK. I don't know anything about this, so I cannot say if this is correct. If it is correct, why is this so? Better math education in earlier grades? Is the UK typically considered a country with great math education? (Not asked snarkily, but I don't remember it being listed as such typically.) If calculus is typical at 16 in lots of countries in the rest of the world, then it's interesting that we are worried about calculus at 17/18 (heck, these days, 19) in the US.




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What does that meanspecialist mathematics class?
From a quick Google, it looks like maybe students taking calculus at 16 in the UK are those focused on math? Is this right? Here, of course, stduents don't really pick an academic focus in high school, although you may see leanings one way or another. But there's nothing formally expected and students may not have that many choices, either, depending on where they go.




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I think there is less specialisation at high school in the US than other places. A STEM student in NZ might take Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, Stats and English in their last year which would be a heavy load. Such things as a second language, PE, art, classics simply can't fit in. In my day you could get through high school with no second language studies at all and basically no history or geography.




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Specialized math instruction is available during high school years in US. However, it costs a lot of money unless you qualify for financial aid. A case in point: http://www.exeter.edu/documents/COI/COI201516.pdf#page=55Tuition is $36,430 for day students. It is free for families making less than $75,000. UM, my DD's school is K12 and I don't think they offer anything beyond AP Calculus BC but they send a significant number of students to HPYS, MIT, Caltech, and other highly selective colleges each year. I get the impression that these kids do a lot more on their own (or orchestrated by their parents...). They do independent research, apply for patents, start their own software company/nonprofit, etc. You know, the usual college rat race.




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Is SG = Singapore Math, or something else? Yes.
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The calculus A/B here appears to cover stuff equivalent to an O level or gifted 15 year old/NT 16 year old in the UK. I don't know anything about this, so I cannot say if this is correct. If it is correct, why is this so? Better math education in earlier grades? Is the UK typically considered a country with great math education? (Not asked snarkily, but I don't remember it being listed as such typically.) If calculus is typical at 16 in lots of countries in the rest of the world, then it's interesting that we are worried about calculus at 17/18 (heck, these days, 19) in the US. In the UK kids can leave school at 16. After 16 if they want to stay on they have to have done well with the EOY exams (O levels) taken at 16 in the subjects that they wish to pursue further.This means that kids taking a Maths A level are not your average kids in terms of Maths ability, kids taking a Physics A level are not kids with only average ability etc. Kids specialise much earlier in the UK than in the US...
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I see. I have to admit, I had heard of O levels and A levels but was ignorant of what they really were. They do independent research, apply for patents, start their own software company/nonprofit, etc. You know, the usual college rat race. Ha..."usual."




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FWIW, to get back on topic, other parents were told that their children could be "demoted" if the track was too challenging. I wonder if the scare wording is more about not being able to move up.
Last edited by ultramarina; 01/04/16 09:27 AM.




