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Topic: Algebra for everyone

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Subject:   RE: Algebra for everyone
Author: WandaB
Date: Jun 26 2006
This is a reply back to the original question about grouping students for
Algebra. I teach in a district that is considered one of the smallest larger
schools in the state. Students prior to Junior High are grouped either in
regular or advanced in math. This continues until 8th grade. At that time, based
on classroom peformance, teacher recommendation, parental input and test scores,
students either take Pre-Algebra, Algebra IA or Algebra I. This past year, we
had 4 sections of pre-algebra, 8 sections of Algebra IA and 2 sections of
Algebra I. On the end of course test, all students in those two sections were
either proficient or advanced. The focus of the Pre-Algebra class is to
develop proficient of core mathematical concepts at a much slower hands-on
pace. Algebra IA completes half the algebra book as well as the 8th grade

Our high school offers even more diversity in classes to meet the academic needs
of the students. To graduate, a student must have 4 math credits (Algebra I, IA,
IB each count as a credit.) In 9th grade, students enroll in either Algebra I,
Algebra IA, Algebra IB or Geometry. Last year on the end of course test in high
school, 85% of the students were proficient or advanced.

Even though algebra tends to be more abstract for many students, they still have
the ability to develop and apply algebraic thinking. I agree that the key is
differentiating by the way the material is presented and the pace of the course.

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