# High School Math Course Selection Guidance

Algebra 1 is the first high school credit math course that students take. After Algebra 1, students have options about what math course(s) they choose next. From all the options, what things should be considered in making choices? Consider what college major a student may wish to pursue and whether or not it is algebraically-intensive to determine which math courses would be of greatest benefit to a student in middle and high school. Consider the student's ability and interest in mathematics. Once you have considered these things, examine the options to consider which path might be the best path for your student.

Knowing there are many choices after successful completion of Algebra 1, which high school mathematics pathways are viable for students? Potential course sequences and why students might choose them are explored in detail below.

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1 but wanted more time to hone their skills with algebraic equations prior to enrolling in Algebra 2. Geometry uses algebra skills in geometric contexts and allows students to practice their skills with linear equations in new settings.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Geometry after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student will take a high school science course in Physics but does not plan to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

This student takes Geometry before Algebra 2 and succeeds in Algebra 2. The student wants to take a math course for which Algebra 2 is a prerequisite, and their chosen field of study in college may be an algebraically intensive field of study (business, accounting, teaching and education, or a STEM field such as mathematics, computer science, pre-medical, or engineering). The student chooses Precalculus, which will prepare the student for college mathematics, including Calculus, and extend their learning from both Geometry and Algebra 2.

A student who successfully completed Algebra 1 can take either Geometry or Algebra 2 next. In this case, the student chose to take Algebra 2 as their next course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1, Advanced at a high level. The student chooses a section of Algebra 2, Advanced as opposed to Algebra 2.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Algebra 2 after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student plans to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

This student takes Algebra 2 before Geometry and succeeds at a high level in Geometry. The student wants to take a math course for which Algebra 2 is a prerequisite so that they will be prepared for a college major in an algebraically intensive field of study. The student chooses Precalculus, which will prepare the student for college mathematics, including Calculus, and extend their learning from both Geometry and Algebra 2.

A student who is highly successful in Algebra 1 and desires further acceleration in mathematics may take Algebra 2 and Geometry concurrently, or in the same school year. Algebra 2 and Geometry are two completely separate courses. Neither one depends on the other, however, both are prerequisites for Precalculus and both include math skills and concepts that are important for applications in AP Physics 1. Students do have the option of "doubling up" by taking Geometry and Algebra 2 in the same school year. Students would need to devote two periods of their eight-period high school schedule in order to take these courses concurrently. This is a great option for students who are looking for further acceleration or who are now ready for acceleration in mathematics for the first time. As you can see from the graphic above, taking two math courses together opens up options in high school mathematics after Precalculus, including AP Statistics and AP Calculus AB. Additionally, successful completion of five high school math courses, two of which have an Algebra 2 prerequisite, qualifies a student to graduate from high school with a STEM endorsement if all other endorsement requirements have been met.

A student who successfully completed Algebra 1 can take either Geometry or Algebra 2 next. In this case, the student chose to take Algebra 2 as their next course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1 with some struggle and wanted to assure that their next course would reinforce and extend their learning in algebra without introducing new geometric contexts to the learning. The student chooses a section of Algebra 2 as opposed to Algebra 2, Advanced.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Algebra 2 after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student plans to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

4. The student does not plan to take Precalculus in high school.

This student takes Algebra 2 before Geometry and struggles but still succeeds. The student wants to take a math course for which Algebra 2 is a prerequisite so that they will be prepared for college. The student chooses Algebra 3, which will prepare the student for college mathematics and extend their learning from both Geometry and Algebra 2.

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1 but wanted more time to hone their skills with algebraic equations prior to enrolling in Algebra 2. Geometry uses algebra skills in geometric contexts and allows students to practice their skills with linear equations in new settings.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Geometry after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student will take a high school science course in Physics but does not plan to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

This student takes Geometry before Algebra 2 and struggles but still succeeds in Algebra 2. The student wants to take a math course next for which Algebra 2 is a prerequisite, and their chosen field of study in college is a non-algebraically intensive major (liberal arts, fine arts, humanities, social sciences, social services, nursing, or other health professions). The student chooses Algebra 3, which will prepare the student for college mathematics and extend their learning from both Geometry and Algebra 2.

A student who successfully completed Algebra 1 can take either Geometry or Algebra 2 next. In this case, the student chose to take Algebra 2 as their next course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1 with some struggle and wanted to assure that their next course would reinforce and extend their learning in algebra without introducing new geometric contexts to the learning. The student chooses a section of Algebra 2 as opposed to Algebra 2, Advanced.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Algebra 2 after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student plans to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

4. The student does not plan to take Precalculus in high school.

This student takes Algebra 2 before Geometry and succeeds in both courses. The student's chosen field of study in college is a non-algebraically intensive major for which their college math will most likely be a statistics course (social sciences, social services, nursing, or other health professions). The student chooses Statistics, Advanced, which will prepare the student for the college mathematics they plan to take and extend their learning in high school mathematics. If the student is highly successful in Algebra 2, then AP Statistics, through which the student could potentially earn college credit, could be their fourth math course instead of Statistics, Advanced. Statistics, Advanced, is

**not**a prerequisite for AP Statistics. There is a great deal of overlap between the two courses and students in GCISD may only earn credit for either Statistics, Advanced, or AP Statistics but not both.

A student who successfully completed Algebra 1 can take either Geometry or Algebra 2 next. In this case, the student chose to take Geometry as their next course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student succeeded in Algebra 1 but wanted more time to hone their skills with algebraic equations prior to enrolling in Algebra 2. Geometry uses algebra skills in geometric contexts and allows students to practice their skills with linear equations in new settings.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Geometry after Algebra 1 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student will take a high school science course in Physics but does not plan to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

This student takes Geometry before Algebra 2 and succeeds in both courses. The student's chosen field of study in college is a non-algebraically intensive major for which their college math will most likely be a statistics course (social sciences, social services, nursing, or other health professions). The student chooses Statistics, Advanced, which will prepare the student for the college mathematics they plan to take and extend their learning in high school mathematics. If the student is highly successful in Algebra 2, then AP Statistics, through which the student could potentially earn college credit, could be their fourth math course instead of Statistics, Advanced. Statistics, Advanced, is

**not**a prerequisite for AP Statistics. There is a great deal of overlap between the two courses and students in GCISD may only earn credit for either Statistics, Advanced, or AP Statistics but not both.

A student who struggles but earns course credit for Algebra 1 can take Math Models with Applications as their next high school math course. Thereafter, students can choose the order in which they take Algebra 2 and Geometry. In this case, the student chose to take Algebra 2 as their third course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student struggled through both Algebra 1 and Math Models with Applications and wanted their next course to be directly related to their algebra learning. The student chooses a section of Algebra 2 as opposed to Algebra 2, Advanced.

2. The student is a newcomer to the United States and has limited English proficiency. The student chooses to take the course with the most new academic vocabulary, Geometry, last in their high school math course sequence.

3. The student's parent or sibling took Algebra 2 before Geometry and this is the choice the family supports.

4. The student does not plan to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

5. The student does not plan to take Precalculus in high school.

The student will have four high school math credits if all four courses are successfully completed and can graduate with an endorsement if all other endorsement requirements are met since Algebra 2 is one of their four math credits.

A student who struggles but earns course credit for Algebra 1 can take Math Models with Applications as their next high school math course. Thereafter, students can choose the order in which they take Algebra 2 and Geometry. In this case, the student chose to take Geometry as their third course. This could happen for many reasons:

1. The student struggled through both Algebra 1 and Math Models with Applications and wanted even more time to practice their algebra skills in geometric contexts prior to taking Algebra 2.

2. The student's parent or sibling took Geometry before Algebra 2 and this is the choice the family supports.

3. The student does not plan to take AP Physics 1 in high school.

4. The student does not plan to take Precalculus in high school.

The student will have four high school math credits if all four courses are successfully completed and can graduate with an endorsement if all other endorsement requirements are met since Algebra 2 is one of their four math credits.

For students who are already enrolled in Geometry after the 2018-2019 school year, a student who struggles but earns course credit for Algebra 1 can take Math Models with Applications as their next high school math course after Geometry. Thereafter, students can choose Algebra 2. The student will have four high school math credits if all four courses are successfully completed and can graduate with an endorsement if all other endorsement requirements are met since Algebra 2 is one of their four math credits.

A student who struggles but earns course credit for Algebra 1 can take Math Models with Applications as their next high school math course. This is an option that would be helpful for any student who struggles to succeed in Algebra 1. However, many students do not want to delay taking Algebra 2 and Geometry because of the impact of mathematics learning on science success. Students can choose to take Math Models with Applications and Geometry concurrently. This has the benefit of strengthening students' algebraic skills in Math Models alongside the practice with linear equations that comes naturally in Geometry so that the student will be thoroughly prepared for success in Algebra 2 the following school year. Thereafter, students can choose an additional math credit beyond Algebra 2 because they took two math classes concurrently earlier in high school. The student will have five high school math credits if all courses are successfully completed and can graduate with an endorsement if all other endorsement requirements are met since Algebra 2 is one of their math credits.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but addresses the most commonly chosen course sequences. For more information, please visit our FAQ webpage, see our Dual Credit Options for Math page, read the high school mathematics course descriptions in the Course Selection Guide/Program of Studies, and use the course selection forms to make your choice(s) in the spring semester.