The mathematics curriculum is built around a core sequence of seven to eight terms: three of elementary algebra and geometry, one or two of intermediate algebra, and two of precalculus topics. The completion of these seven to eight terms will satisfy diploma requirements, but one or two additional terms of precalculus are required as prerequisites for more advanced courses in calculus, computer science, and statistics. Placement of new students in the appropriate first course is made by the department and is based on the results of an online survey and placement test that is sent to newly admitted students in the spring. Typically, new ninth-graders entering with little or no prior study of algebra or who would benefit from a thorough review of algebra—start with MTH175A. For a student who already has studied algebra and perhaps geometry, our sharply focused and adaptive Math Placement Test is designed to pinpoint those topics that the student already knows while also indicating those topics to which the student still needs introduction. With the results of this test, an appropriate initial course is identified so that a student joins our program geared for success.
Typical Mathematics Courses For New Ninth-Graders
PreCalculus, Calculus, and Advanced Courses
Similarly, our Math Placement Test is used for students entering as 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders and postgraduates. These new students generally join our curriculum at the 300 or 400 level, again based on the results of the adaptive online test. The precalculus curriculum focuses on the study of functions. The department offers many mathematics electives beyond precalculus, including coursework in Advanced Placement (AP) calculus, multivariable calculus, and linear algebra. We also offer AP Statistics, the full-year Project-Based Statistics, and rotating term-contained electives in statistics. The majority of students take courses beyond the required level. MTH350 and MTH360 complete the precalculus sequence. The department offers many electives beyond precalculus, some of which lead up to and beyond College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams in calculus, statistics, and computer science.
We also offer AP Statistics, the full-year Project-Based Statistics, and rotating term-contained electives in statistics.
Computer Science Courses
Our computer science offerings include an entry-level class for students completely new to the discipline, AP Computer Science, the full-year Project-Based Computer Science, a combined math-computer science offering, a course in web development, and rotating advanced electives covering topics such as data structures and algorithms, machine learning, data visualization, and high performance computing.
Graphing Calculators and Technology
Every student enrolled in a mathematics course must have a TI-84 graphing calculator. No other models will be used or supported by the department. No calculator that has CAS (Computer Algebra System) capabilities, including but not limited to the TI-89 and TI Nspire CAS, may be used for departmental exams.
Success in these courses is important in preparation for the challenges of the advanced courses. To assure success, a student who earns a final grade of 2 or 3 in MTH320, 330, 340, or 350 may, with department approval, retake the course the following term.
College Board Tests
Students who plan to take a College Board Subject Test in mathematics should schedule the exam on the test date as close to the end of the appropriate math course as possible. Students who plan to take the Math Level 2 IIC Subject Test should do so after finishing MTH360; those who plan to take the Math Level 1 IC exam should do so after finishing MTH340.