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Re: [Phys-l] Ca mandates 8th-grade algebra test

Those of us who are good at math often can't appreciate the struggles that some kids have with the abstractions. It's not that algebra is too tough for grade school students, but it may be too tough for some grade school students. Not everyone has the same talents.

For example, I am tone deaf. No matter how hard I try, I'm never going to be able to carry a tune. On the other hand, I'm very good at mathematics.

Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
Professor of Physics, Emeritus
California State University, Fullerton
Phone: 714 278-3884
FAX: 714 278-5810
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 CSU-ERFA Website:

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of LaMontagne, Bob
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 2:29 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] Ca mandates 8th-grade algebra test

Wow! The idea of algebra being too tough for grade schoolers astounds me. I went to a small Catholic school (1949-1957) that had only four classrooms. Algebra was routinely taught to the 8th graders. The 7th graders in the same room were to quietly do other work while the 8th graders learned algebra. I couldn't resist and listened to Sr. Adolfa teach the other class. I couldn't get enough of it. By the time I got to 8th grade, she realized that I already knew the material and privately tutored me in more advanced algebra. The absurdity is thinking that the students in Napa are not intelligent enough to learn algebra at that age - and love it. Kids don't learn because teachers give up on them. Sad! (And indicative of public schools in general.)

Bob at PC


From: on behalf of Robert Yeend
Sent: Thu 7/10/2008 1:03 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Cc: Nancy Seese; Sharing resources for high school physics
Subject: [Phys-l] Ca mandates 8th-grade algebra test

As a high school math and science teacher, I think the push of
algebra into grade school is one of the major mistakes of education.

I once substituted a sixth grade standard math class in which the
topic for the week was algebraic inequalities - talk about absurd!

IMHO, this is the major reason so many students arrive at high school
functionally innumerate.

Bob Yeend
Justin-Siena H.S.
Napa, CA

On Jul 10, 2008, at 9:54 AM, Bernard Cleyet wrote:

Headline in my local paper; The Californian, July 10.

The night before the governor's appointed board of education was to
vote on the elected Sup of Ed.'s proposed test, the Gov. issued a
letter recommending a "full" algebra test. O'Connell's would have
measured only some algebra stds. [Only one of the appointees
"bucked" the Gov.]

My experience is that some students are not mature enuff for algebra
and only a pre-algebra should be offered in the 8th-grade.

Any comments, please?

bc thinks this is an RH invite.
Forum for Physics Educators

Forum for Physics Educators