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Jr high/high school math

Jr high/high school math

I have a 12 year old boy who is a good student, thinking he would like to be an engineer someday. I am wondering about math. When I was in school we took Algebra 1 as a freshman, geometry as a sophomore, algebra 2 as a junior, and then Math 4 (pre-calc) as a senior. I took Calc in college.

Today it seems that a lot of that has been pushed up a year, so Algebra starts in 8th grade, Geo as freshman, algebra 2 as sophomore, precalc as junior, then calc as senior. What is the benefit here? Does that mean you don't take calc in college of you take it as a senior? Or do you have to take it in college again anyway?

I have a bright niece who bumped it all forward, but now is struggling in precalc, so she is going to put it on hold and take it senior year. I am wondering if anyone sees a benefit in waiting (easier with another year of maturity?), Or if it is recommended for engineers to take calc in high school?

re: Jr high/high school math

My experiences to share in this. My oldest dd is about 100 days from college graduation in electrical engineering, computer science and math. Yes 3 majors in 4 calendar years. I can’t imagine how she did it. and I can't believe graduation is this close. yippee!!

The path she took was Alg 1 in 8th grade, Geo in 9th, Alg 2 in 10th, pre calc in 11th, and in grade 12 was college trig for a semester and then intro to calc. We saw a need for more college trig for her specifically with the materials we used and that she’d need more when she did Calc 2 in college.

The benefit for her personally was that she was ready to start Alg 1 in grade 8. Another year of pre alg and arithmetic did not make sense at all for her. (Contrast this with middle gal who was not going into math or engineering and needed more time to be in the algebra brain ready.)

The benefits we saw for our oldest by having some Calc exposure before college: it took some stress off of her that first semester that not everything was new. She got to learn and practice more with the engineering department and everyone go through that. The professors got to know her too. small school. (abet accredited which is important for engineering)

Are there some freshman who take AP test and are placed into Calc 2 that first semester? Yes, that happens, but it’s more common to hear that even in super selective engineering schools they want everyone to start together in calc 1. It’s expected to have had calc and maybe good score on AP in order to show you “deserve” to be admitted to super selective, but it may or may not mean that engineering students get credit. That’s going to vary by college.

You asked “does that mean you don’t take calc in college if you took it as a high school senior?” Answer: only if the college gives you credit for passing AP exam (or maybe CLEP calculus), or some other college based exam. It is not just merely taking a class in high school that gets exemptions or credit for course.

As I said above, even in super selective engineering schools some students will find even if they got top score on AP calc, they take a special section of Calc instead of (receiving automatic credit for calc) .But a student in another major at that same school might get credit and not have to take it.

Is it recommended to take calc in high school for engineering majors? Some college expect it. The place my daughter attends did not require this for admission. Even students who did not place into Calc 1 (via placement test score, or ACT math score, or other) can still start engineering classes with the Pre Calc college class. Those students will have to take Calc 1 in spring and then expect summer course in Calc 2 if staying on track to graduate in 4 years is going to happen.

Don't rush into calc or algebra. They need those algebra things to be understood. I remember my daughter telling me that first semester that some of the engineering students in calc had to withdraw from the class and switch to pre calc in order to succeed.

My suggestion is that you make sure there is readiness for algebra and understanding. If you have any clue what college you might consider applying to for engineering, take a look at their admissions and AP and calc policies. You'll revisit all of this when your child is in 10th/11th/12th.

Adjust for the student. :)

This post was edited on Jan 28, 2018 11:49 AM

re: Jr high/high school math

In addition to my dd's experience, I wanted to link to a rather selective engineering university's admissions and you can get the idea of "rigorous" path to be competitive there. click through the points they have on high school courses for prep and all of that.

However, we didn't need all of that and my dd's university is ABET accredited as I mentioned (that's the big thing for engineers). And didn't require that level of rigor.

It really does end up being about individual needs and where they might want to do for college. Not everyone needs calc in high school. not everyone is ready for alg 1 in grade 8. not everyone is ready after alg 2 for "the next class" and may need to repeat and "bridge the math" (that's reference to my state's Bridge Math course which is more like alg 2.5, get them ready for college pre calc)

re: Jr high/high school math

I've known a number of college students who followed the sequence you mentioned taking, and did fine as STEM students in college. I know one who went to MIT having had Saxon in home school,starting with Alg. 1 in 9th grade.

re: Jr high/high school math

I'm hoping m4j has a bit more info to share on the sequence. I love hearing details and rejoicing in great stories.

random example, if person did saxon alg 1 in 9th, saxon alg 2 in 10th and then saxon advanced in 11th (finishing in 12th), then it's still getting through a pre calc sequence and 'calc" ready by college start.
anyway, I'd love to hear more of the story just because I love hearing cool stuff. and of course college success and admissions is so much more than just test scores and math sequences.

I didn't really chime back in to say that.

I was sweeping the floor and for reasons that I don't know, I remembered this thread and remembered that several of my friends had their engineering children do saxon as well. (my dd did too) They ended up at missouri science and tech (very well respected engineering). Their math path through Saxon Advanced by end of grade 12 (so no calculus in high school). When their sons took the math placement test at college, they were eligible for Calc 1 but also needed a short co-requisite in College Trig (it was a half semester course and lots of the incoming freshman needed it.) It wasn't that ending in Saxon Advanced was "bad" for them. They were certainly able to do well in college engineering. and the college had co requisite supports in place to help.

but that was the story that inspired my dh to take a look and see if our dd needed that trig support. truth be told? I don't really know how much or how little of the book she actually did.

now I guess I need to go back to finishing the sweeping of kitchen floor. :)

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