Teaching Algebra I to 8th graders used to be a no-brainer. There seemed to be much repetition within the math standards in the middle grades, and Algebra I was offered to ‘advanced’ students who were ready to move more quickly. But now that Massachusetts has fully adopted the 2011 Curriculum Frameworks for Mathematics, the new Model Algebra I course is incredibly rigorous and forces topics like simultaneous linear equations, functions and exponents down to the 8th grade. The following crosswalks and teacher resources cautiously offer a pathway of teaching Algebra I to 8th graders while ensuring that no key standards get omitted along the way.
The document below offers a pathway to taking Algebra I in the 8th
grade by condensing 7th grade, 8th grade and Algebra I standards into the 7th
and 8th grade years. Go straight to page 80 to see the Compacted
Middle School Pathway. The document shows exactly where standards get
condensed and even offers a potential breakdown of units per grade level.
If our ultimate goal is to get students to take AP Calculus by senior year
of high school, then there is also the option of taking enhanced math classes
in grades 9th, 10th and 11th grade. In the Enhanced
High School Pathway to Calculus the department offers a way to take Algebra
I for the first time in 9th grade but still work towards AP Calculus in 12th
Methuen Public Schools has done a tremendous amount of work around creating an accelerated math program starting in the 7th grade. Julie Ward, Methuen's Math Coordinator, has included a few resources in her dropbox. These documents have proven critical in notifying parents, selecting students and crosswalking standards.
A word of caution: this debate has in no way been resolved. I am not necessarily
approving any of these cited pathways, but simply showing you different
approaches to this tall task. It must be
said that teacher knowledge of the Model Algebra I course and student readiness
play an absolutely integral role in this discussion.