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Q&A #1691


Should algebra be taught in 8th grade?

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From: Mary Martin
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: Jun 23, 1999 at 23:37:20
Subject: Algebra for 8th graders

I teach in a small private school.  We have a fairly strong mathematics
program.  The public schools in our area offer algebra 1 in 7th grade to
their "gifted" students.  We previously offered it in the 8th grade.  We have
found that many of our students still do not seem ready for algebra.  They
need more time to focus on other mathematical ideas such as measurement,
proportions, geometry, and pre-algebra.  We are planning on changing the
class from algebra to a challenging, fast moving pre-algebra which will
include other topics as well.  We know some of the parents will feel we are
"holding their children back". (We have contacted the high schools in our
area which most of our students continue on to and they feel we are making a
good choice.  The students will still be able to complete calculus by their
senior year if they choose to do so.)

I did read the revised standards, and feel that they support our decision
as well.

My questions:  Has anyone else chosen this type of approach. How was the
concerns of the parents handled?  Does anyone know any place to find
statistics on things like the numbers of high school students who take
algebra 1 their freshman year? Any ideas would

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