Thursday, March 13, 2014

CA Common Core "Acceleration Options"

I went to the CA Dept. of Ed. web site mentioned in the letter from Ms. Abreu-Coito:

about Common Core (CC) math.

In document "Acceleration Options" in the appendix (near the bottom), they discuss various ways to enable students to get ahead faster.  Specific recommendations for those judged capable:

1. "standards from Grade 7, Grade 8, and the Algebra I (or Mathematics I) course could be compressed into an accelerated pathway for students in grades 7 and 8" (lines 96-97).
2. "When considering accelerated pathways, it is recommended to compact three years of material into two years, rather than compacting two years into one." (lines 136-138).
2. offer Summer Courses in Common Core math so students can do 3 years of CC math in 2 years (lines 182-183)
3. offering Geometry along with Algebra 1 (line 178 in the doc.).  This is actually an advantage since there is virtually no relation between algebra and geometry and spending a year in geometry without algebra means everyone forgets algebra 1 by the time they take algebra 2.

It would seem that there are several ways you could still get Geometry in the 8th grade sanctioned by the CA Dept. of Ed .

1.  Compact CC math for grades 4-5-6 into grades 4-5 then grades 7 and 8 CC math are offered in grade grades 6 and 7 respectively, allowing algebra in grade 8, with an option for simultaneously taking geometry in grade 8.

2.  Compact CC math for 6-7-8 into 6-7 offering algebra 1 simultaneously with geometry as an option in grade 8. This is essentially one of the options now.

3.  Compact 3-4-5 into 3-4 followed by compacting 6-7-8 into 5-6, then starting Algebra 1 in 7th and geometry in 8th.  This is essentially what is available now.

4.  Offer CC math grade 6 and 8 in Summer school so those leaving 5th grade could take CC grade 6 math in Summer, CC grade 7 math in grade 6, followed by CC grade 8 math in Summer, leaving Algebra 1 for grade 7 and Geometry for grade 8.

Option 4 is an extra expense and for that reason is more likely to be cut in an economic downturn.

Both my sons took Kumon math starting from the 4th grade through calculus with AP Stat and AP Calc BC in HS.  My older one is now profoundly grateful for all that as he tutors his college class mates in math and realizes how advantaged he is in that crucial area.  The younger one (grudgingly :) ) admits it helped.

FWIW, I have a BS in Physics and an MA in math and I taught math for a few years in public HS's.

- Michael Goldman

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