High school math typically consists of three or four years of required credits along with additionally offered electives. In many states, the choice of courses is determined by whether the student is on a career or college preparatory path. Following is an overview of suggested required courses for either a student going on a Career Preparatory Path or a College Preparatory Path along with electives one might find at a typical high school.
Sample High School Career Preparatory Math Plan of Study
Year One – Algebra 1
Major Topics:
- Real Numbers
- Linear Equations
- Systems of Equations
- Exponents
- Polynomials and Factoring
- Quadratic Equations
- Radicals
Year Two – Liberal Arts Math
This course is intended to bridge the gap between Algebra 1 and Geometry by building on the student's algebra skills to help them prepare for geometry.
Major Topics:
- Exponents and Radicals
- Algebraic Expressions and Polynomials
- Linear and Quadratic Equations
- Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
- Coordinate Geometry
- Two-Dimensional Figures
- Properties of congruent and similar triangles
- Right Triangles
- Surface Area and Volume
Year Three - Geometry
Major Topics:
- Length, Distance, and Angles
- Proofs
- Parallel Lines
- Polygons
- Congruency
- Area Relationships and the Pythagorean Theorem
- Coordinate Geometry
- Surface Area and Volume
- Similarity
- Introduction to Trigonometry and Circles
Sample High School College Preparatory Math Plan of Study
Year One – Algebra 1 OR Geometry
Students who completed Algebra 1 in middle school will move directly into Geometry.
Otherwise, they will complete Algebra 1 in ninth grade.
Major Topics Included in Algebra 1:
- Real Numbers
- Linear Equations
- Systems of Equations
- Exponents
- Polynomials and Factoring
- Quadratic Equations
- Radicals
Major Topics Included in Geometry:
- Length, Distance, and Angles
- Proofs
- Parallel Lines
- Polygons
- Congruency
- Area Relationships and the Pythagorean Theorem
- Coordinate Geometry
- Surface Area and Volume
- Similarity
- Introduction to Trigonometry and Circles
Year Two – Geometry or Algebra 2
Students who completed Algebra 1 in their ninth grade year will continue with Geometry. Otherwise, they will enroll in Algebra 2.
Major Topics Included in Algebra 2:
- Families of Functions
- Matrices
- Systems of Equations
- Quadratics
- Polynomials and Factoring
- Rational Expressions
- Composition of Functions and Inverse Functions
- Probability and Statistics
Year Three – Algebra 2 or Precalculus
Students who completed Algebra 2 in their tenth-grade year will continue with Precalculus which includes topics in Trigonometry. Otherwise, they will enroll in Algebra 2.
Major Topics Included in Precalculus:
- Functions and Graphing Functions
- Rational and Polynomial Functions
- Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
- Basic Trigonometry
- Analytic Trigonometry
- Vectors
- Limits
Year Four – Precalculus or Calculus
Students who completed Precalculus in their eleventh-grade year will continue with Calculus. Otherwise, they will enroll in Precalculus.
Major Topics Included in Calculus:
- Limits
- Differentiation
- Integration
- Logarithmic, Exponential, and Other Transcendental Functions
- Differential Equations
- Integration Techniques
AP Calculus is the standard replacement for Calculus. This is the equivalent of a first-year college introductory calculus course.
Math Electives
Typically students take their math elective in their senior year. Following are a sampling of typical math electives offered in high schools.
- AP Statistics
AP Statistics is the study of collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data.
Additional Resources: Importance of Integrating Curriculum