Mathnasium 11 Mckenzie Towne Avenue SE, #408, Calgary AB T2Z 0S8 (403) 454-6284   mckenzietowne@mathnasium.ca

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News from Mathnasium of McKenzie Towne

High School Survival Mode: Navigating Back to Normal

Aug 6, 2020

This article is written for families with students going into or returning to high school.

Survival Mode: Navigating back to normal

First, we congratulate all high school students for surviving a very different kind of year. For most, it was filled with unexpected changes, altered expectations, different learning methods, and a bit of chaos thrown in for good measure.

How did the math studies go this past year?

If your student was in Grade 9, they are potentially facing a new environment and new expectations as they enter high school. Unlike earlier grades, no longer is there an automatic “pass” for showing up: high school students must demonstrate their understanding beyond a minimum threshold in order to receive credit for a course.

That fact should be well understood by students returning to high school but even they may have received credit for a course interrupted by the provincially ordered shutdown of in-person classroom instruction in March without demonstrating sufficient knowledge of all the course curriculum. It can give a false sense of security moving up to the next level.

Math is one subject that depends on having an understanding of prerequisite skills, such as those usually taught in the previous year or course.

So, did your student successfully grasp ALL of last year’s math topics, even during the period of on-line learning?

It’s not a rhetorical question: the answer will depend on the student. Some transitioned well to virtual classes and finished the year strong - as well or better than if had they attended classes in person. Some found the transition difficult and are less confident and proficient in topics taught in the last 3-4 months of the school year. Some struggled before March and continued to struggle after classes moved on-line.

One thing we recommend is to bring your student in for an assessment. We can provide you with a report on the skill areas that may require some help. There is no financial obligation to you. Better to know where you stand now when you have the potential to do something. September may be too late.

Most high school teachers do some review but new material starts being taught within the first week or so, with accompanying assignments and unit tests due shortly thereafter. Most parents don’t find out their child’s standing until the first round of marks are in. Depending on the school or teacher, a student may not be allowed to re-do assignments, re-write tests, or otherwise improve their mark for that unit.

That’s why the time to identify gaps and improve those prerequisite skills is now, in summer.

We stand ready with summer sessions and flexible programs providing math instruction using a learning plan customized to your child’s needs. Our programs can carry forward into the fall and continue to provide the support and assistance your student may need to continue closing their prerequisite skill gaps, navigate through homework assignments, and reinforce their understanding of new topics introduced in class.

Mathnasium of McKenzie Towne is here to help your child achieve their academic goals in math.