Q&A #8761

MEGSSS vs Algebra/Geometry for Highly Gifted middle schoolers

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From: Jeanne
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: May 13, 2002 at 13:18:27
Subject: MEGSSS vs Algebra/Geometry for Highly Gifted middle schoolers

My daughter, who is 11 1/2, attends a self-contained gifted program in 6th
grade. Her school has recommended that she be placed in a special accelerated
math program called MEGGS.  This is supposedly a program designed for gifted
secondary students that was adapted for middle school. I believe it was
developed in Florida many years ago as a radical alternative to the usual math
curriculum.  I was told that the program focuses more on logic and pre-
calculus, and assumes that the students "pick up" algebra, geometry and some
trig along the way.

My daughter was told (in 5th grade) that she had been chosen for this program.
She was told that the top 1% of her district would be "eligible" for this
3-year program, and upon completion she would be expected to take AP Calculus
as a high school sophomore. This program is very controversial among the
parents who have had children in the program in prior years.  They feel that
the program ill-prepares children with the fundamentals they need for taking
required standardized tests like Algebra proficiency or the SATs. Supposedly,
most students leave the program convinced that they "aren't any good at math"
and do poorly on these standardized tests. But the school says that it is a
great program, and they have done it for years with great success.

Do you know where I can get information on this program?  I need to make an
educated decision, but can't find out much about MEGGS so far. If I do not
place my daughter in MEGGS, she will go into the regular gifted math, which
completes the Algrebra curriculum, and covers a semester of Geometry. The
school says that she will be bored and unchallenged if I put her into 7th
grade gifted math. How can I determine if this is a better alternative?

Thank you for your help. There are a dozen kids selected for this class, and
all the parents are unsure how to proceed. Any guidance you can give us will
be appreciated.

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