Sunday, January 20, 2008

Algebra Proficiency

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.


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head. Math is simply the ability to take the tools given to you, and the tools you already have, and find a solution, whether abstract or concrete.

Jackie Ballarini said...

I'd add the ability to determine if one's answers are reasonable in the context of the problem.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Jackie, I agree 100% and I depending on the subject, I try to get them to approximate an answer before we actually do the problem--example with percents and exponential growth and decay.