Algebra Plus added to curriculum

Addie Reine

Next fall eighth grade students will be put to the test and only time will tell if they will sink or swim.

Although the redesigning is meant to strengthen the overall math curriculum, not all the math teachers at Benilde St.-Margaret’s agree with this assumption. However, adding Algebra Plus is one way they feel will students came still learn effectively.

The idea for these revisions came up last spring. “It’s revising Algebra class in light of the new Minnesota math standards which requires all eighth graders to take algebra,” said Mr. Dan Bowler, math teacher.

The purpose of replacing algebra with algebra plus will enhance student’s math learning experience, “It will be used for ninth graders who after eighth grade [still] need [algebra] reinforced over a two year algebra span,” said Mr. Jim Picard, math teacher.

Effects of the new regulation will not affect the structure of the middle school and high school curriculum as much as elementary schools, “The K-8 schools have to change a lot of things and are making big changes so it doesn’t really affect [BSM]” said Dr. Sue Skinner, high school principal.

However, the high school will still be slightly affected because of the wide range of math levels in the student body, “It affects the high school because students going into ninth grade have varying levels of preparation; we have a lot of kids that are already done with Algebra by the time they get to high school,” said Dr. Skinner.

Teachers such as Mr. Bowler do not necessarily find this change constructive for students. “I don’t think that anyone is ready for Algebra in eighth grade,” said Mr. Bowler.

Mr. Picard is another teacher leery of the new changes that could possibly worsen the learning experience. “It could be forcing material into minds that may not be ready for it,” said Mr. Picard.

Luckily, for students affected by this change, Algebra Plus is also going to be added to the curriculum. “[This is] because [students] won’t be getting the whole course in eighth grade, but only what the state requires which is eight chapters,” said Mr. Bowler.

Another benefit to the Algebra Plus program is that it allows all students to master the material at a slower pace if needed. “Algebra Plus, [for those] who aren’t quite ready for geometry, is a way that we can still meet their needs,” said Dr. Skinner.

In the midst of these changes, all other courses such as geometry will remain the same. “Geometry will be offered for the accelerated math students and Algebra Plus will replace Algebra,” said Mr. Dan Bowler.

Because this class bridges the gap for those students who are not ready for geometry, the overall math department will be even more stable. “[We are] redesigning courses to meet the needs of our students,” said Mr. Bowler.