SBG: Back to the Drawing Board

Everyone has told me to narrow my SBG list, cluster it, separate by topics, etc.

I'm an Illinois girl which means we have vague state standards, we're assessed on ACT College Readiness Standards, we recently agreed to Common Core Standards,and basically have to decipher this on our own.

I have decided to go by ACT Standards until Illinois gets smart enough to write their own state test, which will take at least 3-4 years from now. So using a very helpful ACT resource book, I've listed all the topics addressed in the ACT.

Now I just need help deciding which topics fit specifically into Algebra 1 as opposed to Algebra II.

Once I get those nailed down, should I list the prerequisite skills needed? How specific should I get?

How do I assign grades on topics instead of skills?

Or maybe I could break down the topics a bit more specifically and use them as shorter skill list?

Remember, Dan Meyer pulled it off in 34 standards people!

ACT Math Topics

  • Operations Using Whole Nunbers Fractions, and Decimals
  • Square Roots
  • Exponents
  • Scientific Notation
  • Ratios, Proportions, and Percent
  • Linear Equations with One Variable
  • Absolute Value
  • Simple Probability

Elementary Algebra
  • Functions
  • Polynomial Operations and Factoring Simple Quadratic Expressions
  • Linear Inequalities with One Variable
  • Properties of Integer Exponents and Square Roots

Intermediate Algebra
  • Quadratic Formula
  • Radical and Rational Expressions
  • Inequalities and Absolute Value Equations
  • Sequences
  • Systems of Equations
  • Logarithms
  • Roots of Polynomials
  • Complex Numbers

Coordinate Geometry
  • Number Line Graphs
  • Graphs of Points, Lines, Polynomials, and Other Curves
  • Equation of a Line
  • Slope
  • Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
  • Distance and Midpoint Formulas

Plane Geometry
  • Properties and Relations of Plane Figures
    • Triangles
    • Circles
    • Rectangles
    • Parallelograms
    • Trapezoids
  • Angles, Parallel Lines, and Perpendicular Lines
  • Translations, Rotations, and Reflections
  • Simple Three-Dimensional Geometry
  • Perimeter, Area, Volume

  • Basic Trigonometry Concepts (SOHCAHTOA)
  • Advanced Trigonometric Concepts (Secant, Cosecant, Cotangent, Pythagorean Identities, Trigonometric Identities, Double-Angle Formulas, Half-angle Formulas)
  • Radians (Conversions)


  1. From my experience, these would be Algebra 2:
    -I would just touch on quadratic formula
    -radical expressions - all I would worry about here is being able to simplify radicals (need for Geom)
    -rational expressions
    -most sequence stuff
    -systems of equations (but you could fit those in if you have time)
    -roots of polynomials
    -complex numbers

    -graphs of polynomials and other curves

    -All Plane Geometry I would put in Geometry.

    -Basic Trig concepts - in Ohio's curriculum SOHCAHTOA is a 9th grade skill but we don't always get to it.
    -Advanced Trig Concepts

    Hope that helps narrow it down for you.

  2. I can't help you with dividing the skills into separate courses. That seems to depend on how far you can go with the Algebra 1 class. You know your kids and your pacing skills better than we do. If the state standards don't tell you where the kids should be after each course, then they aren't much use.

    Actually, you are lucky to have external standards like the ACT rather then state-written tests. Most states have been doing an absolutely terrible job of writing standardized tests.

  3. Lisa,

    Could you explain what you mean by 'just touch on quadratic formula'?

    Also, I thought systems of equations was pretty important to do in Algebra 1?