Spectrum Algebra Grades 6-8
More than a practice book, each grade level features comprehensive coverage of the basic skills. Books are two-toned, have a no-nonsense appearance, and emphasize skill development and practice, "without complex terminology or abstract symbolism." This uncluttered approach helps students focus on mastering the fundamentals. There are lots of nice features in this series: each contains a scope and sequence chart for the entire program, has basic facts tests that can be used for drill, and includes an assignment record sheet for you to use in making specific page assignments. They also have a form for recording student test scores, which also provides an immediate assessment of the grade as "excellent," "very good," "good," "fair," or "poor," and include a complete answer key at the back of the book. All of the pages are perforated, so you can tear out student sheets, or the key, easily. Chapters each begin with a pre-test to help identify problem areas, or determine if your child can "place out" of that chapter and try the next one. The pre-test comes in two parts; one is purely computational, while the other is a problem-solving pre-test which uses the requisite skills in realistic, everyday problems. The lessons begin with developmental exercises that introduce each new skill. Visual aids or models are used to demonstrate the concept on these pages. Several pages of exercises follow, providing ample practice. Again, these include both computational pages and problem-solving pages. Chapters end with a test. Also included are a mid-book test (about halfway through the course to test all previously-learned skills), and a final test, which covers all of the chapters. The Spectrum series was revised and updated in 2006, and Spectrum Math now features pre-algebra and algebra content, and introductory content on geometry and probability. Most books are over 150 pages.
The latest in the Spectrum Math series for grades 6 through 8 is intended to help students improve and strengthen their math skills in specific areas. Algebra focuses on factors, fractions, functions, graphing, proportion, percent, interest, equations, inequalities, and rational numbers. Data Analysis and Probability spends time on order of operations, measures of central tendency, calculating probability, ratios, interpreting graphs, and problem solving. Geometry strengthens skills in areas of points, lines, rays, angles, circles and solid figures, volume, triangles, polygons, perimeter, and area. Measurement offers practice with customary and metric measurement, percents and rates, angles, ratios and proportion, and volume. These books are about 120 pages in length with the answer keys in the back along with a scoring record chart which allows you to log the student's test scores. In addition to the pre and post test found in each chapter, a mid-test and final test will allow you to check the student's cumulative progress. In true Spectrum fashion, these additions to the series will help prepare your students for standardized testing or can be used for additional practice. ~ Donna
While offering some instruction, these programs include less teaching material or do not cover the full range of grade-level skills that the comprehensive programs offer.