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Topic: Chaotic thoughts on student placement
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Tom Perschbacher

Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
Chaotic thoughts on student placement
Posted: Jan 24, 1998 7:18 AM
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I teach AP Calculus and Geometry at the American Embassy School in New
Delhi India which had a slightly different approach to the same problem.

When we arrived my son was entering 6th grade and we were told unless your
son has problems in math he should go to regular grade 6 math which was the
seventh grade book having skipped the 6th book(this fact was known at the

The motivation was to have virtually every student take Algebra I in 8th
grade thereby enabling them to take AP Calc or IB HL.

Needless to say, he and others had trouble in the new topics from 6th which
weren't introduced but were expected to be known. My son was one of the
luckier ones since he had a built in tutor. There has been a snowballing
effect each year as mid to low students have become less and less prepared
each year. We are now trying to design courses for these students at the
high school which will recapture the enthusiam for math and still prepare
them for college.

The whole program was completely revised this year to include a standard
6th grade and bridge to algebra 6th grade. Students then take either a one
or two year pre-algebra and then the standard algebra I course. There are
also many crossover models built in to enable students to move back and
forth so they aren't bound for the rest of their career in math by their
5th grade teacher(although we have great 5th teachers, my wife being one).

I am hopeful these changes will generate students with better attitudes and
skills in mathematics while allowing students the chance to take AP Calc
if they desire.

Tom Perschbacher

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