ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : DIR-99-017

Date Created : 03/02/1999


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
Section:   Central Administration - Mr. Raymond Simon
Fourth-year High School Mathematics Course

Regulatory Authority:
Act 605, 977,1108,1172,1195,1290 of 1997

Contact Person:
Dr. Gayle Potter or Mr. Steve Floyd

Phone Number:


The purpose of this memo is to clarify some issues that have arisen concerning the fourth-year high school mathematics course, the mathematics core curriculum for preparation for higher education adopted in February, 1998, by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program.


Mathematics -- 3 units (1 unit of algebra or its equivalent and 1 unit of geometry or its equivalent. If an ADE-approved course of study sequences algebra over a two-year period and geometry over a two-year period, then students in such a course of study must complete all four years. All other math units must build on the base of algebra and geometry knowledge and skills.)


Please take special note of the 3-unit mathematics requirement. Although these regulations permit counting an approved two-year algebra equivalent as two units or counting an approved two-year geometry equivalent as two units, students must complete an algebra and geometry based curriculum in whatever course configuration they take. Therefore, it is not permissible for students to take a two-year algebra I sequence and half of any geometry equivalent program, including a two-year sequence and count these courses as the 3 units of mathematics. If an ADE-approved course of study sequences algebra over a two-year period and geometry over a two-year period, then students in such a course of study must complete all four years.

The following mathematics courses for secondary students would lead to completion of the mathematics common core as adopted by the State Board of Education. Courses must be based on a sound and challenging algebra base and each subsequent course must develop more advanced skills leading students to a proficiency level that will allow them to perform successfully on the State assessment program. Although all of these courses meet high school graduation requirements, not all of them will meet the higher expectation of unconditional admission to colleges and universities and qualify students for the Governor's Academic Challenge Scholarship program.

The curriculum in every school would not provide each of the courses listed. Thus, schools must make choices and implement a curriculum designed to meet student interests and abilities while increasing the level of expectation for all students.

Students may earn credit for Algebra I in Grade 8 at the discretion of the local districts. Students should not earn credit for any of the algebra equivalent courses below Grade 9.

Algebra I (1 unit)
Intermediate A&B* (2 units)
Applied Alg A&B* (2 units)
Integ Alg A&B* (2 units)
Other ADE approved course(s)

Geometry (1 unit )
Investigating Geometry (1 unit)
Geometry A&B (2 units) - requires ADE approval
Other ADE approved course(s)

Algebraic Connections (Alg I and Geometry
prerequisites) Cannot substitute for Algebra II
Algebra II (Algebra I prerequisite)
Trig (Alg II & Geometry prerequisites)
Calculus (Alg II & Geometry & Trig/Adv Math
Probability & Statistics
Pacesetter Math (Alg II & Geometry
College Prep Math: Transition to College
Mathematics (Alg II & Geometry prerequisites)
Other ADE approved course(s)

* Any courses labeled with A&B* must both be taken to fulfill the Algebra requirement.
* A multi-year sequenced study of fully integrated mathematics like Math Modeling Our World, Math Connections, or Contemporary Mathematics in Context (Core Plus) may be taken to fulfill the mathematics requirement.


When the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) approved adding a fourth unit of math to the high school core curriculum recommended for preparation for higher education in February 1998, ADHE staff indicated efforts would be made to create a course which could meet this additional unit requirement.

During the summer and fall of 1998, expectations for students enrolling in the college entry level math course were developed by a task force of college mathematics professors and high school mathematics teachers. The task force determined that in order to be successful in an entry level college mathematics course -- College Algebra or its equivalent -- the entering college student must master certain mathematical concepts in high school mathematics courses. (See attached.)

The College Prep Math: Transition to College Mathematics is intended to build on previous courses in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II (or their equivalents in multi-year integrated programs) and to place emphasis on bringing about a deeper understanding of those mathematical relationships. This course may be completed to satisfy the fourth unit of math required for unconditional admission to Arkansas' colleges and universities. (See attached). Students taking this course should have completed Algebra II (or its equivalent).

This course outline has been carefully constructed by Arkansas classroom teachers to provide a challenging course of study based on the Arkansas Mathematics Curriculum Framework. Care has been taken to assure that these outlines contain the breadth of mathematics content necessary so that students will be prepared to successfully enter and complete College Algebra or its equivalent.

Teachers of this course must meet secondary mathematics certification. Additional training approved by ADE is required. Professional development is planned for teachers of this course during summer of 1999 that will introduce each of the topics and model exemplary instructional strategies. Schools that decide to include this course in the curriculum are required to send a team of two teachers to one of the training opportunities listed below. The school must implement at least one section of Transition Mathematics during the 1999-2000 academic school year. Exact dates* for the workshops are:

. Algebra Institute: Key Curriculum Press July 6 - July 9, 1999 - Little Rock Hilton

. Integrated Algebra Seminar: SIMMS Integrated Mathematics July 27-30, 1999 - Little Rock - Little Rock Hilton

. Pacesetter Mathematics: College Board July 13-16, 1999 - Riverfront Hilton - North Little Rock

* All summer institutes will provide additional follow-up training during the 1999-2000 school year.

ADE Department staff is available for limited consultation with teachers who will be teaching the course during the 1999-2000 school year. A number of issues concerning the mathematics curriculum and course offerings will be dependent on the individual school and can best be answered on a case-by-case basis. Please feel free to call Roy Barnes (501-682-5296), Suzanne Mitchell (501-371-2062), or Judy Trowell (501-371-2064), with your specific questions and for information about the professional development opportunities.


In February, 1998, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) adopted a set of core curriculum courses that will be part of the eligibility criteria for the Academic Challenge Scholarship Program, beginning with the high school graduating class of 2002. Students who graduate from high school prior to May, 2002, will not be affected by the change.

The new policy adds a fourth mathematics course to the Challenge Scholarship requirements that are currently in effect. All other eligibility criteria are unchanged. Starting in 2002, therefore, Challenge recipients will be expected to complete four units of English, four units of mathematics, three units of Science, three units of Social Studies and two units of a single foreign language. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education will continue to accept applied math and applied science courses for the Challenge Scholarship:

*Principles of Technology I & II will substitute for one unit of Physics

*Applied Biology/Chemistry I and II will substitute for one unit of Biology

*Two-year Algebra I programs will substitute for Algebra I, provided that the student taking these courses also passes Algebra II and Geometry.

A student who takes Part A of a two-year ADE-approved Algebra I sequence in the 9th grade and Part B in the 10th grade will need to complete three more units of mathematics to qualify for the Academic Challenge Scholarship, starting in 2002. These courses must include Algebra II, Algebra I, Geometry, and an advanced math course. If the student taking the approved two-year Algebra I sequence then completes Geometry in the 11th grade and Algebra II in the 12th grade, he or she will fall one math unit short of the Challenge Scholarship requirement. Possible options include one of the following: taking more than one acceptable mathematics course in the 11th or the 12th grade; taking a math course in summer school; or completing a college math course at least equivalent to Intermediate Algebra in the first semester of college.


Act 1290 of 1997 amended previous statutory language regarding the courses that high school students must complete in order to be admitted unconditionally to a public college or university in Arkansas. Acting in response to this legislation, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board has established a core curriculum set of courses required for unconditional admission. Students who graduate from high school in 2004 or later, enter college that fall or in subsequent years, will have to complete four mathematics courses as well as the English (4 units), Natural Science (3 units) and Social Studies (3 units) courses that are part of the current recommended core curriculum. Challenge Scholarship recipients must also complete two units in a single foreign language, but this requirement is not part of the unconditional admission standards.

For high school students who graduate before 2004, the fourth math course requirement does not apply. To be admitted unconditionally to a public college or university in Arkansas, these students must complete:

*Four units of English

*Three units of Natural Science

*Three units of Mathematics

*Three units of Social Studies

For high school students who graduate in 2004 or later, these are the requirements for unconditional admission:

*Four units of English

*Three units of Natural Science

*Four units of Mathematics

*Three units of Social Studies

Specific required courses in each discipline area are described in the attached material on Core Completion.

Students who take the approved two-year Algebra I sequence in high school may have difficulty meeting the unconditional admissions standards when four mathematics courses become part of the requirement in 2004 and beyond. Unless a student who completes the approved two-year Algebra I sequence in grades 9 and 10 also enrolls in three approved math courses (instead of two) in grades 11 and 12, he or she will not meet the four-course math requirement.

However, if students are allowed to take Part A of the approved two-year Algebra I sequence in the eighth grade, they will have time to complete Part B of the two-year Algebra I sequence and three more math courses in high school, enabling them to meet the math requirement for unconditional admission to college. [Current ADE policy does not allow students to take Part A of the two-year Algebra I sequence in the eighth grade, but this policy is under review.]


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