An answer on this site mentions that it would be more appropriate to criticize

Efforts to force kids to take algebra at lower and lower ages, such as attempts in California to make all kids take algebra in 8th grade.

What exactly is this "algebra" that they have to learn?

As another person in the comments, I don't find starting algebra at the eight grade outrageous, but maybe the topics behind the general term are a bit different.

I've had what's called "algebra" here since grade 7. We had equation and inequality solving, single-argument functions, linear functions, monomials and polynomials. And in grade 8 we got to factoring polynomials (short multiplication formulae) and solving quadratic equations.

What do people in the US normally have at that age? And what is in the California attempt?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ is that not algebra? It's simplistic, but I've always thought the inclusion of variables is the beginning of algebra. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2020 at 14:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @bob0the0mighty maybe you can provide some insight to the "What do people in the US normally have at that age?" part? It appears from your profile you might have experienced that. No variables at all in the 7th and 8th grade? $\endgroup$
    – Džuris
    Feb 18, 2020 at 15:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Džuris, I went through algebra classes in 7th and 8th grade. It's been about 20 years, but I remember learning to solve simple equations of the type above as well as using similar tools during science classes in the same grades. I was responding to Dirk, where they imply that simple equations aren't algebra. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2020 at 15:54
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Džuris, the short answer is that American secondary education is way below most European and Asian school systems. If an 8-grader reads on a level of a 2-grader, which happens very often, you cannot teach them algebra or physics or even geography or proper history — kids simply cannot read and comprehend. Asian kids routinely used to take algebra in 7th or even in 6th grade, and when California decided to move algebra to 9th grade, it caused an uproar among Asian parents. $\endgroup$
    – Rusty Core
    Feb 18, 2020 at 19:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Džuris: 2018 PISA mathematics results for 15-year-olds: OECD mean 489. Latvia 496. USA 478. See oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA2018_CN_LVA.pdf and oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA2018_CN_USA.pdf . See also oecd.org/pisa/… $\endgroup$
    – shoover
    Feb 18, 2020 at 23:18


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.