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The program that would become xyAlgebra was written beginning in 1982 to teach Algebra I to students at The City College of The City University of New York.  It was first published as Algebra Mentor by Brooks/Cole (now Cengage) in 1987, and updated in 1989.  At that time, software was primarily viewed as supplementing and helping to sell textbooks, which was not really the author’s vision for the program. So in 1994 a complete rewrite was self-published as a free program called xyAlgebra.

It was used successfully at The City College throughout the 1990s, until the university raised entrance standards at its four-year institutions in 2001 and the college ceased offering courses below the level of “pre-calculus.”

For more than 20 years, xyAlgebra has been offered completely free to educational institutions and individuals.
New versions and updates have been released every year or two.

The latest version, xyAlgebra 7.02, was released in September, 2013.  See Syllabus.  Version 7.0 and subsequent minor updates feature new problem types (see below) and also new equivalence checking and next step solution generating algorithms (see Description).  These algorithms further improve the critical capability that distinguishes xyAlgebra from most such software. They permit xyAlgebra to respond even more effectively to step-by-step solutions by:
  (1) Determining if each student step is equivalent to the preceding step regardless of the method used.
  (2) Suggesting either an appropriate type of step to perform next or providing an actual such step, regardless of solution method and of where in that solution help was requested or an error occurred.  See the Comparison Page for an example from Pearson Education and the Hawkes page for an example from Hawkes Learning..

For security reasons, xyAlgebra 7.02 no longer supports storage of student records on the Internet.  Students working remotely should use Student Program Disks.  See the Instructor Program Help File in the instructor program, xyManager 7.0, for more information.

New Problem Types.  The improved algorithms permit xyAlgebra 7.02 to cover more types of problems more effectively than ever.  The new types include:
  (1) A review of all available factoring methods,
  (2) More complex fraction problems including new items on difference quotients,
  (3) Equations that can produce extraneous roots, e.g. 3/x = (x+1)/x,
  (4) Equations containing radicals.
The new algorithms become more ambitious and suggest more complicated steps as skills improve.

If interested in these algorithms themselves, rather than in the programs containing them, please see the bottom of the Description page, the bottom of the Download page, or contact the Author.

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