From: [log in to unmask] (Joanne Kraft (RIV))
To: Middle Level Mathematics Network <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re:Alg. 1 & 8th grade
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 1999, 1:31 PM
We have been having serious discussions about the direction that our math
program should take here at Riverside Middle School. We are devoting our
Dec. 1 math dept meeting to this issue and would like to know what other
schools around the state are doing.
Currently, we have one large section of Alg. 1 for the top math students.
This year the class has 18 students. Presently, we are in the process of
revising "the entrance" requirements for this class and are wondering how
other middle school select these students.
Our Alg 1 critieria for 8th grade includes. 1. 7th grade teacher
recommendation. 2. A's in 7th grade math (which is heteorgenously grouped)
3. Students also take the Orleans Hanna Algebra Placement test. 4. Good
portfolio write-up skills as demonstrated on several portfolio problems
done in 7th grade.
Although, we try to really hold to this criteria, parents have been known
to push their way into the program despite the lack of teacher
The other debate we are having is what is best for the rest of the
students. Heteorogenous groups or ability groups. Presently, everyone
except for the Alg. students are in mixed ability classes. The range of
ability is great (3rd to 10th grade levels) and we honestly don't have
enough aide support in our classrooms (if any in some classes to meet the
We are also considering the some extreme radical ideas of getting rid of
the Alg. 1 program and being totally mixed ability. Or should we teach
formal Alg. to all 8th graders or at least try to increase the number of
Also what topics does the 10th grade New Standards exams include? From
material that was purchased from the company for our school, I was left
with the impression that students should know Alg 1, Geo. & Alg 2 to be
ready for this test.
If that is the case what should be "covered" (actually learned) by the end
of 8th grade.
Thank you for any and all suggestions or comments.
Riverside Middle School
13 Fairground Rd.
Springfield VT 05156 802-885-8490