Essays in Education


The present article is a national overview of current policies and practices around advanced mathematics course taking in public high schools. It begins with an explanation of the mathematics courses in public high schools. Importance of course taking in mathematics in general and advanced mathematics course taking in particular is highlighted. Then, academic excellence and educational equity concerns surrounding advanced mathematics course taking are discussed. A major part of the article is a detailed account of current policies and practices as they are related to excellence and/or equity in advanced mathematics course taking. Under this section, three topics are discussed: graduation requirements in mathematics, course offerings in advanced mathematics, and factors that make up the decision making mechanism for advanced mathematics course placements. Under the section on graduation requirements, three dimensions are examined: Carnegie units required, specific courses required, and high school exit exams. Based on a detailed and careful examination of these policies and practices, the article concludes with recommendations on how to enhance equity and excellence in advanced mathematics course taking.

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