Joan Reinthaler wrote: >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. [snipped some here about college admissions] >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 email@example.com
I would like to add my $ .02:
The rush to calculus is one of the stated reasons for the rush to have middle school students take formal algebra courses in grade 7 or 8. Never mind that the middle school math teacher may not be well prepared to teach the subject, there are few materials available that enable one to teach a developmentally appropriate Algebra I course to seventh- or eighth-graders, or the fact that few of the students actually go on to the successful completion of AP Calculus in high school.
Whenever a school district asks for my "expertise" on teaching a formal, year-long algebra course in middle school, I ask them to check the historical record to see whether this offering has produced the intended results down the road.
Marsha Landau firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Professor, Mathematics Education National-Louis University 2840 Sheridan Rd Evanston, IL 60201