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**A Parental Guide for Mathematics Competency**

By Leon Dixon

Educators have said that the best indicator of how well a student will do in college is not test scores or grades. It is how well they did in geometry. It is also known that that the students who have taken the quality mathematics and science courses (such as advanced algebra and trigonometry and above, and chemistry and physics) have the best SAT and ACT mathematics and science scores.

Many secondary teachers of these courses complain that students entering high school are lacking in the necessary background to handle the courses and therefore are in the need of remediation. Furthermore, what the high school mathematics teachers say that they would like the incoming students to have is a good understanding of basic geometric concepts such as tangency, parallelism, and perpendicularity. Also, many of the college mathematics teachers say they would like incoming students to have a good background in trigonometry.

Below is a checklist that parents can use to monitor the progress of their child in each grade so that the above criteria can be met. *The students should also be able to explain their work.*

Check for the child's ability to:

Grade Checklist K. Count to 100 & write the numbers from 1 to 100. 1.

Add single digit numbers.2.

Add at least two double digit numbers involving carrying; subtract single digit numbers.3.

Add three triple digit numbers involving carrying; subtract using borrowing; begin learning timetables; begin multiplication.4.

Know timetables; multiply a four-digit number by a three-digit number; begin division by single digits.5. Divide a five-digit number by a two-digit number. IMPORTANT: IF YOUR CHILD HAS TROUBLE WITH THIS, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY. FUTURE SUCCESS DEPENDS ON THIS!6. Multiply and divide fractions; add and subtract fractions with different denominators. NOTE: If you have trouble checking for this, find someone who can help you with it.7.

Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals; and perform the conversion between fractions, decimals and percents.NOTE: Same as in 6.8.

Perform arithmetic with signed numbers.NOTE: Same as in 6.9.

Enroll in algebra I.10.

Enroll in geometry and biology.11.

Enroll in algebra II & trigonometry and chemistry.12.

Enroll in pre-calculus and physics.

The above is only meant to be a guideline for normal student progress. Many students are working ahead of this schedule and that bodes well for them.