State board wants to amend math graduation requirements

The Maryland State Board of Education took steps Tuesday to amend the new requirement that students take four years of math during high school.

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law requiring students to take a math class for each year they are in high school, beginning with those entering as freshmen in the fall of 2014. However, a small percentage of students — about 2.5 percent statewide — take five years to graduate.

Those on the five-year graduation track won't have to take a fifth year of math, the state board decided on Tuesday when it voted to publish a new regulation. The state requires all students to take Algebra I and geometry and students must pass an algebra high school test in order to graduate. Many students go on to take Algebra II and trigonometry.

The new requirements are minimum requirements.

About half the students in the state take Algebra I in seventh or eighth grade. Those students will still be required to take a math class each year of high school. Currently, many of those students already take a series of math classes ending with calculus in their senior year. The most advanced students will take two years of calculus or Advanced Placement calculus and AP statistics by the time they graduate.

The new regulations, if passed after a public comment period and approved by legislative review, will also allow students to take an AP computer science class as one of the four math classes that will count toward graduation.

Students who struggle with math may take a transitional math course that will allow them to pursue community college classes without having to take a remedial math class.

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