From: [log in to unmask] (Barb Unger)
To: Middle Level Mathematics Network <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Alg. 1 & 8th grade
Date: Tue, Nov 16, 1999, 8:56 PM
I could have written the same letter as you. I think middle schools
all over the state are dealing with the "algebra" problem. After testing
students for algebra last year, I promised myself I would never do it again.
No matter how fair I was in entrance requirements, parents were not happy.
We are looking at a program change - looking at new standard based
programs and possibly offering algebra to all. I let you know more about
our decisions as we make them. Barb
At 02:05 PM 11/16/99 -0500, you wrote:
>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