Date: Jun 29, 1995 3:59 PM
Author: Michael E. Lightner (305) 221-7754
Subject: RE: John Saxon
Eight years ago, I began teaching at a school (private)

that had been totally sold on Saxon. Being fresh out

of college, I had little knowledge and no experience

with the Saxon curriculum (and no other program either).

After 4 years of frustration I was able to convince the

administration it was time for a change (chose Prentice

Hall). This is what I was experiencing:

First, The students became frustrated with the text skipping

around from topic to topic -- one day they would have a lesson

on matrices and determinants and the next day a lesson on the

ellipse.

Here is the titles form Saxon's text Geometry, Trigonometry,

and Algebra III (lessons 48-58): matrices and determinants,

the ellipse, law if sines, areas of regular polygons, Cramer's

rule, combinations, trigonometric identities (I), binomial

expansion, constructions, hyperbola, and roots of complex

numbers.

There is no connection from day to day what one lesson has

to do with another.

Second, problem sets for each lesson emphasized mainly

reviewing past concepts/problems. Review is fantastic (and is

probably the only positive that I find from Saxon books).

But there is few problems associated with that days lessons --

and those that are are often the same problems from the

lesson.

Third, students who kept at it (despite their frustration)

could only do basic problems. I didn't feel that the Saxon

books challenged the students to go beyond that. And how

could they with only little reinforcement in their assign-

ments?

Finally, I found no evidence in our school for increased

standardize test scores. Students coming through the Saxon

program and going into AP Calculus were at a disadvantage.

They were not able to apply a variety of concepts/skills

supposedly learned in Alg I and II, Geometry and Trig. Also

as students moved on to the university, I found a number

of students having to take courses to boost their math

skills.

I know the above were broad sweeping generalities. I did

have some students come through the Saxon program that

were very capable of continuing on with mathematics. But

I believe it was in spite of Saxon. They would have done

well with any program.

Respectfully,

Michael Lightner

HS Mathematics Teacher

Miami Christian School

Miami, FL

LIGHTNM@mail.firn.edu