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October 10, 2011
When I was in school (you know, way back in the old days) I was always good at math. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. I did really well in all subjects, but math seemed easier than the rest.
When I was trying to figure out what I was going to be when I grew up, people would say to me "you are good at math, you should be an accountant." Well, after deciding that I didn't want to deal with people yelling at me like the patients of the physical therapist that I shadowed yelled at him, and after not doing so well in a 7AM chemistry class that I needed in order to be a pharmacist, I decided that accounting would be my career path.
Contrary to popular belief, though, accounting isn't just about math. It is more about problem solving, and finding the answers to equations. That is where algebra comes in. I use it on a regular basis while performing my job. I have to create annual budgets and monthly forecasts, and if I know certain variables in the equation (sales and desired profit) then I have to solve for other variables (direct costs and overhead rates) to complete those budgets and forecasts.
According to Sylvan Learning: "A critical gateway subject, algebra is the foundation for higher-level mathematics and science courses in high-school, which in turn can open doors for college and lead to better careers and lifetime earning potential." Unfortunately, many parents believe there is an 'algebra crisis' in America and that American students fall behind in this subject, compared to other nations (based on an online survey of approximately 1000 parents). Sylvan has developed the Fit 4 Algebra screener to help parents evaluate whether or not their child needs extra assistance in this very important subject. This is a FREE screening tool that your child can take online.
I checked out the screener myself, and found it easy to use. As a parent, you set up your account, and then add your children to it. When your children are ready, they sit down and complete the online screening, which should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The questions seemed like a great representation of the different equations your child would see in an Algebra class. Once your child is done with the screening, you can log in to see their results, and see where they may need help.
I think it is just as important for parents to take the screener as it is your children. Even though I excelled in my Algebra classes in high school, I found that now, nearly 20 years later (YIKES!), I needed a refresher in "coordinate graphing". I want to make sure that when my children are ready for algebra, that I am also ready to help them when they need it. If I was one of those who excelled in reading or history, rather than math, I would definitely want to get outside help for my child if they needed it.
41% of children admit that their algebra work makes them more nervous than asking someone out on a date. With simple tools and a little preparation, algebra does not have to be so scary. If you have a child that is taking algebra or will be taking it soon, I definitely recommend checking out the Fit 4 Algebra screener. You will not only receive an evaluation of your child's algebra potential, but also resources to help close gaps in ability.
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Sylvan Learning and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.