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Old 06-13-2014, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Thoughts?

Miranda

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Old 06-17-2014, 02:39 PM
 
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Hmm, I haven't had any been BTDT experience, but based on your explanation of how this works, I personally wouldn't.
You did not mention what the format of the standardized test is, but if it is a format in which she might be in any way hurt by being asynchronous, ie the 4th grade writing skills you mentioned in another thread, or maybe focus (unlikely I guess) stamina or nerves, I think I'd wait.
I do have a lot of experience with kids being exposed to high stakes exams as fourth graders, so between 9 and 11, which is when tracking decisions are made in the system my kids are schooled in (and I have myself been schooled in). At that age, I did not know what pressure to do well even was, I just knew stultifying boredom and couldn't WAIT for a bit of pressure to begin.
I assume DD11 feels no pressure whatsoever and chances might be she'll just breeze through the exam and rack in her 100%...but if anything gets in her way, she might get the first inkling of what that pressure is like, and it is a grade that may determine her college choices...I'd think I'd want to keep that away from my 11 yo as long as I could.
Or then again, her natural insouciance and confidence may serve her perfectly in breezing through those exams, and she'd feel much more pressure at 14. Just thinking out loud here. You know her best.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good thoughts. We talked with her teacher about the exam format, and I think that part of it would be fine. She has written the Math 8 and Math 9 final exams and has performed very well indeed. The standardized 10 exam is apparently similar, except it's set by the province, and involves a bit more integration of skills and strategies, for example using trigonometry and algebra and geometry to solve a problem in multiple steps. That's something she does very well anyway, so I expect she'll handle it fine.

I suppose I worry that if I suggest she postpone the exam that will send a message that will turn it into a bigger deal and increase her stress when it does happen. Sort of what you were saying in your last paragraph...

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Or then again, her natural insouciance and confidence may serve her perfectly in breezing through those exams, and she'd feel much more pressure at 14.
except that I wonder if we adults might contribute to creating pressure by delaying the exam in order to "optimize her performance."

Appreciate you helping me think this through!

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Old 08-20-2014, 12:38 PM
 
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It sounds like you are in Canada? I mention this as what I say then, might not apply at all.
Here, (I'm in Colorado) we put together a high school transcript and list high school classes taken before grade 9 in a separate area. Universities are looking for two things: 1. How many years of math did the student take? (each year is best) and 2. Did they take Calculus? (bonus for some majors, expected for others). Full math and math through Calculus is a basic requirement for most academic scholarships that are not need or race based.

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Old 08-20-2014, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks teastaigh! You're right that things are rather different here. The graduation diploma is just a list of courses at the Grades 10, 11 and 12 level, the grades earned, and the dates of completion. No one cares when you earned your A in Physics 11 so long as you earned it. And here there's less of an emphasis on narrowing down math studies in pursuit of early Calculus credit. Only for BSc programs in physical science, Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering would Calculus be an expected pre-requisite, and there are ways to upgrade if you didn't do it in high school. Our academic-stream math courses cover a range of areas (algebra, combinatorics, statistics, trigonometry, geometry, etc.) each year, rather than specializing as yours seem to. And that broadness makes them a little more suited to younger children, I think.

I honestly haven't thought about this issue at all this summer. My dd took a huge holiday from math learning over the past couple of months, so she's still got more than two-thirds of the Grade 10 course left to do. Plus, we're in the midst of a long teachers' strike, and a complete staff change in the math department and the homeschool umbrella program. So nothing is happening that's going to push us into making a decision.

Miranda

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