Catherine Johnson posed the following question:
How can a parent determine whether his or her child has reached proficiency
in algebra 1 or 2?
I don't really have the answer to this but I do have a few criteria that I think are important to be able to do well in mathematics.
1. Understanding of signed numbers. Calculators are all right for a supplement, but nothing replaces knowledge.
2. Ability to solve all types of linear equations.
3. Factoring is a must. If the student can factor and solve a linear equation, then the student can solve quadratic equations and work with algebraic fractions.
4. Interpret a word problem. Changing the words to algebraic symbols is a must. Combine this with all the above and their is nothing that cannot be accomplished in mathematics.
I would be interested in hearing what others consider essential to algebra.