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Algebra 1 in Grade 8

The goal of offering Algebra I in grade 8 is to maintain the advantage of enrichment in mathematics for as many students as can benefit from it. This involves higher expectations for high ability students. These students are expected to achieve more with faster academic pacing.

All qualified students should have access to regular Algebra I in grade 8. However, since Algebra I is the basis for all further study in mathematics, it is important that students have the best possible experience in this course. Therefore, students must be carefully selected.

Students who need enrichment beyond this course will continue to be served by the District itinerant teachers for middle school mathematics.

Middle schools should offer enriched math classes in both grades 6 and 7. These classes should be designed to prepare students for Algebra I in grade 8. Grade 8 Enriched Math should also be offered as an alternative to Algebra I. Students should be carefully selected for all of these classes.

The high school math program will provide the opportunity for students to reach the Advanced Placement Calculus course as seniors without taking Algebra I in grade 8. However, this may require students to take four college preparatory math courses prior to the senior year.

Guidelines for Offering Algebra I in Grade 8

The course offered will be regular Algebra I. Honors Algebra I will not be offered at a middle school unless all the following conditions are met:

  1. The principal has presented a rationale for the course to the District Math Review Committee (see procedural directive) showing why the needs of the students at the school cannot be met by offering regular Algebra I.
  2. The offering of the Honors course has been approved by the District Math Review Committee.
  3. All students meet District established criteria for Honors Algebra I (See High School Curriculum -- District Essentials and Guidelines).
  4. The instructor for the holds state secondary mathematics endorsement.

A student successfully completing this course may elect to receive high school credit. Details of this process are given later in this directive.

All algebra courses taught in Grade 8 will be subject to ongoing review to assure that the class is a high school equivalent. The District Math Review Committee will oversee this review. The school will provide evidence that instruction is consistent with the high school course description, that the teacher is certified and qualified, and that students are achieving well in subsequent courses.

High School Options for Students Who Complete Algebra I in Grade 8

Recommendations for placement into the high school honors program will be based on District established criteria which include both appropriate testing and teacher recommendation. The middle school and high school math departments will work together to facilitate articulation of this program.

High schools will provide appropriate support for ninth graders making the transition from Algebra I in grade 8 to high school honors math program.

Students who enter high school with credit for high school equivalent math courses will be counseled to take math every year during grades 9 through 12.

Process for Placement in Algebra I, Grade 8

Students must be carefully selected for Algebra I so that they have a high probability of success. They must meet all of the following criteria.

  1. Demonstrate mastery of key competencies identified for grade 7 Enriched Math.
  2. Demonstrate readiness for Algebra I and mastery of essential arithmetic skills by achieving the following scores:
    1. Minimum score of 75 out of 110 on two sections (Abstract Reasoning, Spatial Relations) of the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) and
    2. Score at the 80th percentile or higher on the Orleans-Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test
  3. Verification by the middle school that all of the following additional criteria are met:
    1. Reading Comprehension: at least one year above grade level;
    2. Suggested minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale);
    3. Recommended for Algebra I in grade 8 by 7th grade math teacher, based on:
      1. Grade of A or B in Grade 7 Enriched Math;
      2. Maturity and study habits adequate for work load required by Algebra I.

4. Parent request for placement in Algebra I. A standard District form will be furnished by the middle school principal (see forms at the end of this directive).

Students will be counseled at the time of enrollment and again at the end of the school year about their option of receiving credit for this course. Details on the process for getting credit are given later in this document.

Student progress in this course will be carefully monitored by the math department and the school counselor. A student who is not maintaining a B average will be strongly advised to transfer into a more appropriate course if this seems likely to benefit the student. Regular attendance is required.

Appropriate placement into a high school math course will be determined by the student’s grades in Algebra I, his/her score on a District Algebra I test and the recommendation of the grade 8 Algebra I teacher. Possible placement may include Honors, Enriched, or Regular Geometry, or the student may be recommended for Honors Algebra I if it is felt that acceleration is not in the student’s best interests. It is also possible that the student may be asked to repeat regular Algebra I if it appears that foundation material has not been mastered.

Process for Granting Credit for Algebra I Taken in Grade 8

High school credit may be given for Algebra I taken in grade 8. The grade will be that assigned by the middle school teacher and will be included in the calculation of the student’s high school GPA.

If the course taken by the student in middle school carries the title "Honors Algebra I," the student will earn an honors increment (see Honors And Advanced Placement Programs directive). However, there is a limit of four years (eight semesters) of weighted credit which may be earned in any one academic area. Students receiving credit for Honors Algebra I in grade 8 do not have the opportunity to earn any more honors increments than those who take this course in grade 9.

Students will be counseled at the end of the eighth grade year about the advantages and possible disadvantages of receiving credit for Algebra I in grade 8. Credit for a grade lower than an A could adversely affect the student’s class ranking as a senior. Students need not claim credit in order to qualify for entry into high school courses for which they meet all other prerequisites. Middle school verification of student performance at the required level and completion of Algebra I in grade 8 will be sufficient.

High school credit for Algebra I in grade 8 will be granted only upon receipt of an application submitted by the student to the high school registrar. The form is available from the registrar. This application should be received prior to the end of the student’s ninth grade (except in the case of students who transfer into the District after grade 9). However, credit may be claimed at any time prior to graduation if completion of the course can be verified and proof of the grade earned can be substantiated. A student who transfers to a school outside of Albuquerque should claim credit prior to enrollment at the new school.

Cross Ref.:

  • Board Policy I.01: Instructional Program
  • Honors And Advanced Placement Programs directive
  • Honors And Advanced Placement Programs directive
  • High School Curriculum – District Essentials and Guidelines

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IKF

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997