Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More on math

Well, D did some checking online and I talked to the math dept. chair (who is also a gifted certified teacher) at the middle school. It seems there is an accelerated math track available in the high school - they will compress Math 1, 2,3 and 4 into 3 years. Thus giving students the chance to take calculus their senior year. There is also a slow track which spreads Math 1 out over 2 years (Math 2 is available over 2 years also). I don't understand how the same kid who needs Math 1 spread out over 2 years can handle the same amount of math in 8th grade as the kid who can do 4 years of math in 3!

Well, at least in middle school there are 3 tracks in math, based on ability - gifted, honors, and regular - so each track can move at its own speed. The 2 higher tracks won't cover more topics, but will go into them deeper - or so I've been told.

I've also been told that all 3 tracks will have covered roughly 80% of Algebra I topics by the end of 8th grade. So, that doesn't sound quite as bad as I first thought. But then again, if they've covered 80% of Algebra I before HS, accelerating the maths won't be that big a deal - and for the rest of the kids, HS math will probably go slower.

The math chair told me that the state had considered an accelerated track in middle school, but rejected it because "then you would be introducing some Algebra II concepts in 8th grade and many kids can't handle that level of abstraction". Well, gee, maybe this new system doesn't work as well as the old one??

Can you tell that this whole math thing is still bothering me? Cause it is. We're checking into some other options, though they're likely to have their own downsides.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Carol P. said...

OK, let me get this straight. Gifted education = deeper. Except in middle school, when Gifted education = getting into Algebra II concepts before completing 100% of algebra I (or Geometry, I presume...). Okay....

At least you've got tracking. AFAICT, outside the Gifted option school, there is no tracking because this curriculum is so wonderful.

Actually, they're backing off of the whole "This curriculum solves everyone's problems everywhere" and the superintendent is on record as saying supplementation is OK again. Maybe, if we're lucky, he'll even say that tracking is all right too!

I hear tomorrow whether J got into the local version of the Gifted middle school, or is waitlisted for it and into the southern version (20 minutes away). The district guarantees a place for all kids who meet the test scores, but due to district demographics, there were twice as many applicants up north here as there were down in the southern part of the district. So we've got 90 some kids and only 60 spaces here. They'll have room down there (all schools aren't quite as crowded in that part of the district), but I'd prefer that she go up here for a whole bunch of reasons.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Well, no Gifted doesn't mean Algebra II before all of Algebra I - if they accelerated 6th, 7th and 8th grade math into 2 years, then 8th grade gifted could take Math I (which includes some Algebra II concepts, presumably after they have covered the rest of Algebra I concepts).

Good luck to J. I wish we had a gifted school option, but with only 4 middle schools in the county, no such luck. There has been talk about starting a magnet middle school to feed into the magnet high school, but who knows when or if that will happen - certainly not for M and probably not in time for A either.

I'm pleased that at least there is the tracking option in math and language arts in middle school. There may be some informal tracking in other subjects, but I get differing answers on that (from the same person even!).

10:06 PM  

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