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Algebra I in the 8 th Grade: Considerations and Consequences.

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1 Algebra I in the 8 th Grade: Considerations and Consequences

2 Do you have middle school students who should have the option of taking Advanced Placement (AP) Mathematics, or two advanced mathematics courses as part of their high school experience? Some Pathways for Students Who Complete Algebra I in Grade 8 Geometry Geometry Geometry Algebra II W/Trig Algebra II W/Trig Algebra II W/Trig Precalculus Discrete MathematicsPrecalculus Analytical Mathematics Precalculus Advanced Placement (AP) Mathematics Course (ACOS: Mathematics, 2010, p. 127)

3  “Systems offering Algebra I in the eighth grade have the responsibility of ensuring that all Algebra I course content standards and Grade 8 course content standards be included in instruction.” (ACOS: Mathematics, 2010, p. 81)  The State Department of Education will provide further guidance and training (Phase II) in the fall of 2011 relative to issues local education agencies may encounter in providing an Algebra I course in Grade 8.

4  Decisions to accelerate students into a high school Algebra I course before Grade 9 should not be rushed.  Placing students into an Algebra I course too early should be avoided at all costs.  Local education agency’s decision should:  Be Advertised  Be Equitable  Provide Written Policy  Decisions to accelerate students into a high school Algebra I course before Grade 9 should be based on solid evidence of student learning.

5  Not all students are ready for Algebra I in Grade 8.  The 2010 COS Algebra I content is not the same as the Algebra I content in earlier Alabama Courses of Study. Much of what was previously included in Algebra I will now be taught in Grades 6-8 in the 2010 COS.  A Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) study found a difference in readiness for higher-level mathematics between students scoring in the bottom quartile and those scoring in the top 3 quartiles.  Graduates who completed Geometry or Algebra II as ninth graders earned an average Grade 12 NAEP mathematics at the Proficient level.

6  “Mathematics leaders need to ensure equitable access to courses by carefully monitoring barriers to participation.” (A Guide to Mathematics Leadership, 2010, p. 4)  There are valid reasons for placing students in certain courses, but mathematics leaders are expected to ensure that there are no systematic barriers that discriminate against specific populations. (A Guide to Mathematics Leadership, 2010, pp )  An accelerated Grade 7 course and a Grade 8 Algebra I course differ from the Grade 7, Grade 8, and Algebra I courses found in the 2010 COS in that they contain additional content by comparison and demand a faster pace for instruction and learning.

7  Ensure that the Grade 8 Algebra I course is not watered down.  Ensure that there is equity in support materials for all courses, that is, that more and better materials and supports are not just in place for the accelerated and advanced courses.  Ensure that interventions are in place so that all students are prepared for high school Algebra I coursework.

8  Allow students to take two math electives simultaneously, provided the course progression chart is followed.  Use block scheduling to take a math course both semesters.  Offer Credit Advancement.  Offer Dual Enrollment.  Offer summer courses that are designed to provide an equivalent experience of a full course.

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10 ALSDE Office of Student Learning Curriculum and Instruction Cindy Freeman, Mathematics Specialist  Phone:


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