Date: Feb 20, 1995 5:38 PM Author: Joan Reinthaler Subject: alg/geo combo The urge to accelerate kids to calculus in high school carrys with it all

sorts of dangers, among which is that a lot of important math is usually

skipped along the way (data analysis, vectors, matrices, TIME to absorb

the idea of limits, polar functions, parametric functions etc) and kids

can easily find themselves accelerated to beyond their maturity level -

to beyond their ability to abstract.

There are kids (very few) who ought to move just as fast as we

can move them, but - and this is important - the college voices we hear

extolling the virtues of kids who have had calculus in high school are

NOT, by and large, the math faculty. Those voices are the voices of the

college admissions staff, and how much math do you suppose that the

average admissions officer knows? They like kids to have accelerated

because they think that this makes their jobs easier. They don't have to

really look at who the kid is, they can just skim off the AP kids.

Meanwhile, the college math people (read the Reform Calculus bulletin

board) are deploring the fact that the students they get don't know

enough ALGEBRA.

Joan Reinthaler

Sidwell Friends School

e-mail joanr@umd5.umd.edu