Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
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High school math credit early?
So I'm wondering whether to enable my daughter to get a high school math credit on her transcript early, or wait a while.
Where I live high school transcripts don't start accumulating until the final three grade-years (10th, 11th and 12th). Those are the only course marks that show on your transcript for university admissions applications. At the 10th and 12th grade levels the math final examination is provincially standardized and makes up 40% of the grade in that course, and the exam grade is reported separately on the transcript. There are only five of those standardized exams during high school (there are also two in English one in Science), and since we don't have SATs or any other standardized testing prior to college, those grades have a significant weighting in assessing college applications. The 10th grade exams less so, but still.
So, dd is 11, homeschooled via a public school umbrella program, and is quite advanced in math. She was given 9th grade math materials last fall. She likes to do math part-time at school, meaning she goes in and does her tests there and gets them marked by the math teacher. She finished 9th grade partway through the year and decided to dive into 10th. I expected her to slow down once the material got into more pre-calculus stuff, but it hasn't happened. We don't follow any sort of school year at home, so it would never occur to her to stop pulling her math book out during the summer. At the rate she's going she'll finish the 10th grade course by Christmas.
Although her math material is radically accelerated, her grade placement has been kept somewhat conservative. She's 5th grade by age but on the school records she's considered to be in 7th grade. So at the end of this year her report card will show an A in Grade 7 math with the comment that she's working at a more advanced level.
So the question I have at this point is whether to ask the school to simply enrol her in 8th grade next fall and consider her learning of 10th grade material to be informal, or to formalize her extra acceleration in math by placing her in 10th grade math. With that would come the expectation that she'd write the Provincial Exam and log the course on her high school transcript. It's possible to not write the exam, take an incomplete for the year and roll the course over to the following year, and that wouldn't have any negative repercussions at all: that info wouldn't show up on her transcript. But to have the option of writing the exam you need to be enrolled in the course, and once the exam is taken the grade stays on the transcript.
Yesterday I told the teacher to go ahead and put her officially in 10th grade "Foundations & Pre-Calc" in the fall. This was his recommendation as well, but he admits he's never worked with a gifted math kid at this level before. My older kids are gifted, but their path through math curriculum has been slower, and they took big breaks before diving into high school credit courses.
So I'm wondering, for any of you who have had experience with math-gifted kids, is this crazy? I don't think of my dd as being a math genius or anything. She isn't a crazy-math-passion kind of kid who is full of blinding flashes of brilliant insight. She just likes math, likes the systematic structure of the curriculum she's using, and makes progress easily and efficiently. She makes connections easily and has a mind that has coped with the transition to more abstract math like trigonometry very well. She seems much like a normal kid, is optimistic, easy-going and resilient, and I doubt she's PG or anything on that order of magnitude.
She doesn't see it as a big deal. She's happy to write the provincial exam once she finishes the course. She thinks it would be silly to wait another couple of years and then come back to the 10th grade exam. And I suppose with three older kids who have breezed through the same exam (albeit at 14, not 11) I shouldn't be fearful about it. A little neurotic part of me keeps doing the math and reminding me that this will move her officially four to five years ahead, and maybe that fact will contribute to expectations that will put pressure on her to continue to achieve at that rate, or to bring her "lagging" areas up to that level, or to pursue math to a level beyond what she would naturally want, or whatever.
For what it's worth, she's consistently intrigued by architectural design and at this point says she would like to be an architect or an architectural engineer. I'd be very surprised if she doesn't change her mind a few times, though.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups