
Re: An Algebra 2 Test
Posted:
Oct 2, 2012 11:51 AM


Robert Hansen wrote (in part):
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7899247
>> So here are released problems from the California CST >> Algebra 2 exam... >> >> http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/rtqalg2.pdf >> >> From the standpoint of skills, these problems have good coverage. >> Namely... >> >> Polynomial Arithmetic >> Factoring and Simplification >> Simultaneous Equations >> Graphing >> Probability >> Conic Sections >> Binomial Expansion >> Logs and Exponents >> Absolute Value and Radicals >> Complex Numbers >> >> But from the standpoint of problems, this exam has hardly any >> and of the few problems it does have, they are just direct >> adaptations of the skills. For example, restating a simultaneous >> equation directly into words...
GS Chandy wrote (in part):
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7899316
> I've not checked through the problems  but the topic list > posted by RH does seem  to my foreign eyes  pretty sound > for an 'Algebra 2' exam (in fact, it's a bit more than we > would expect in an 'Algebra 2' exam in India).
To me it seems MUCH more than I would expect in a typical Algebra 2 class. In fact, it is roughly what was covered in the last two years of high school math when I was in school (my school didn't offer calculus). Also, I can certainly tell you (from past teaching and current tutoring) that very few college students taking Calculus have a working knowledge of these topics. I wonder what is covered in a Precalculus course if all this is to be covered in Algebra 2? Rotations of coordinate systems and study of the various invariants of 2variable quadratic forms? Nontrivial inequality work, such as arithmeticgeometric mean inequality and other things one sees in contest level math? Binomial probability distributions and the normal distribution? Elementary complex variables, such as linear fractional transformation mapping problems and formal manipulations of trigonometric and exponential functions (and their inverses) for complex number inputs? Working with vectors, including dot, cross, and triple products and proving geometry theorems by vector algebra methods?
I doubt it. My guess is that the Precalculus topics are much that same as the above, maybe worded a little more suggestively to indicate that more mastery of the topic is expected, given what Robert Hansen said about the level of the problems testing the material. I'm guessing that "binomial expansion" means being able to expand (a + b)^2, (a + b)^3, and *maybe* (a + b)^4, but no binomial theorem with C(n,k) numbers (although perhaps Pascal's triangle, but in my mind that's a Precalculus topic, not an Algebra 2 topic). Personally, I'd do away with conics, logarithms, binomial expansions to begin with. I'd have to know more of what is meant by "probability" and "radicals" and "complex numbers" before going further, as VERY basic introductions to these topics would probably be fine.
The topics Robert Hansen posted would make for an excellent honors Algebra 2 course, but not for a regular Algebra 2 course, especially given the push to have 50% or more of the population take Algebra 2 (100% in some places, with Algebra 2 being a graduation requirement).
Dave L. Renfro

