An Excellent Math Series. New Edition Has Good/bad
TammyA of Oregon, 6/25/2014
MCP Math is an excellent math series. I have used it for years, first with my own homeschooled children, and now with my after-school ESL tutor students.
It provides sequential lessons with ample instruction to the student, visual reinforcement of ideas presented, and sufficient exercises for mastery.
I like how MCP groups like concepts together which build upon one another rather than using a repetitive review as its core and only introducing new topics with limited instruction in random fashion...ie, with MCP ratios are taught (comparison of 2 amounts), then fractions (ratio to a whole), then decimals (ratio to 10), then percents (ratio to 100).
A full page of cumulative review is provided at the end of each student chapter, as is a chapter test.
The new student edition, Book F in particular, improves in that it now connects algebraic ideas to certain lesson material. Unfortunately that does not mean it teaches more algebra in every place it states "It's Algebra!" in the margin note, but it does highlight that this lesson contains concepts that will provide a foundation for algebra. (For example...finding the missing addend section in Chapter 1 which has been continued from the old edition in identical material is now linked with a margin note "It's Algebra" indicating that this concept will reinforce algebra concepts; however the teacher would have to bring that to the student's notice and explain what that means. Likely there is something mentioned in the teacher edition, which I do not have at this time for review.)
The new edition in Student Book F also includes a new chapter devoted to equations, something the previous edition did not include, and it includes other expansions (exponents are now included in Chapter 1) that beef up the program to meet higher math standards and bring 6th grade book F into better line for pre-algebra uses.
The new edition also has revamped the problem solving sections so that there is a bit more instruction as to the approach type...for example, "Draw a Diagram," or "Use a Four Step Plan." Those sections have been heavily revised such that older teacher editions will not work with the new student editions.
The downside of this latest edition, which is the cause for me to give it 4 stars rather than 5 stars, is that unfortunately the publishers have removed the alternative tests in the back of the book! This is most unfortunate as the program was so useful for those students who benefited from a pre-test (using the chapter test), then coverage of only the missed material from the appropriate chapter exercises, then a re-test with the alternative test from the back. That format allowed quick assessment and target instruction with final reassessment allowing students to advance through the material quickly with a more customized approach. This method is still do-able if you use only half of the chapter test, however it reduces the thoroughness of the first assessment and the final assessment.
I also do not care for the revamped page look. It now uses a green colored font for sidebars, section heads, exercise numbering, and notes. In my opinion this detracts from the crisp readability the original series had...something that made it again very useful for quick assessment and review. It was so readable with the crisp black on newsprint. That unfortunately has been lost somewhat, although the text overall still remains relatively uncluttered to help the eye focus on the concepts at hand.
The teacher manual is expensive (always has been). While the TM does provide additional support notes to the teacher, and a reduced student page with answers, it is mostly useful if you do not wish to do the work every time you need to correct. However it is not essential as the student instruction delivers the core concepts in a concise and understandable way, which makes the TM essentially an overpriced answer key. (BTW, you can purchase a simple answer key, with no teacher notes, from Seton Educational Media for each MCP Math student book for less than $5.)
Overall, though, this is an excellent math series for parents and students and teachers who desire a systematic approach that integrates review with plenty of opportunity to master each concept in a targeted fashion.