San Marcos Unified School District

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Math Pathways

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 SMUSD Math Pathways:

Middle school students follow either the CA CCSS-M Aligned Standard Pathway or, for appropriate incoming 7th grade students, the Accelerated Math 7/8 Pathway that represents a compression of 3 years of mathematics into 2.  

What the Changes Mean 

This CA CCSS-M aligned course sequence represents a departure from past practice when most students took Algebra by 8th grade.  Beginning in 2014-15, most 8th grade students took Math 8, which embodies the new 8th grade CA math standards adopted in 2013.  This is course did not exist under the old standards and prepares students for a more challenging Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2 sequence at high school. In fact, Math 8 includes standards from the “old” Algebra 1 and “old” Geometry.   The California Framework for Mathematics (2013) helps explain the change: “Algebra 1 is a course that, prior to CA CCSS-M, has been taught in 8th grade to an increasing number of students.  That same course name will be the default for ninth grade for most students who moving forward will complete the CA CCSS-M for grade eight – a course that is more rigorous and demanding than the earlier versions of Algebra 1.”  It also says, “Today’s students, who are similar to those who may have previously been able to master Algebra 1 in grade eight, may find the new CA CCSS-M for grade eight significantly more difficult. This provides the opportunity to strengthen conceptual understanding by encouraging students – even strong mathematical students – to meet the CA CCSS-M grade standards while enrolled in grade eight.” 

In all grades, students will still be developing procedural fluency and solving problems in a traditional way.  They will also be using quantitative reasoning to explain their mathematical thinking, examining different ways to solve problems and completing challenging performance tasks that ask them to read, write and complete complex real world problems. 

Students moving from 6th grade into 7th may choose to take Accelerated Math 7/8.  This demanding sequence compresses three years of standards into two years.  Students experience all the 7th grade standards and much of the 8th grade standards during their 7th grade year.  In their 8th grade year, students experience the rest of the 8th grade standards and all of Algebra 1.  Once in high school, students may move into Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra 2 that include enhanced standards. SMUSD will offer a range of choices to students beyond Algebra 2 including Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB and BC, Math Analysis, AP Statistics and Discrete Math.  
Acceleration in High School

There are multiple opportunities for students to accelerate their mathematics studies in high school. The following descriptions are based on courses that are fully aligned to the CA math standards. (Algebra 1 was fully aligned in 2015-2016, Geometry is fully aligned in 2016-2017, and Algebra 2 is fully aligned in 2017-2018). 

Honors Courses offer one opportunity for students to accelerate. Both Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra 2 contain additional standards (+ standards) that students will study and master. These additional standards, alongside the Geometry and Algebra 2 standards, prepare students to “skip” Pre-Calculus and move directly from Honors Algebra 2 into AP Calculus AB.

Concurrent math courses offer a second opportunity for students to accelerate. Students can enroll in Algebra 1 and Geometry OR Geometry and Algebra 2 during the same school year. This option is recommended only for students with a very strong Math 8 or Algebra 1 understanding.

For the 2016-2017 school year only:

Students should not concurrently enroll in Geometry and Algebra 2, as this will move students from the new pathway onto the old pathway. The implication of this is that students will experience an Algebra 2 curriculum that is not fully aligned to CA math standards (including some repetition from Algebra 1, and missing much of the Pre-Calculus standards), and will result in students being required to take Pre-Calculus before taking AP Calculus AB.  

Last Modified on June 28, 2016