The Department of Education (DOE) will soon revert to using an older high school math curriculum, consisting of three one-year courses with a Regents exam at the end of each course. The change will be implemented during the 2008-2009 school year and the first Algebra Regents test will be administered in 2008.
Currently, New York City schools follow a curriculum that consists of Math A, Math A/B and Math B courses. This curriculum was introduced in 1999.
“We don’t really teach to Math A [and] B,” Assistant Principal Mathematics Maryann Ferrara said. “We teach our own curriculumn and we make sure that we covered every topic that would be on the exams.”
Most Stuyvesant students currently study geometry and algebra freshman year, algebra and trigonometry sophomore year, pre-calculus junior year and calculus senior year.
While many students enter Stuyvesant having finished two terms of Math A, the Math A Regents is administered the January of a student’s sophomore year. Ferrara said this is because Stuyvesant students come from a “variety of [math] backgrounds.”
The Math B Regents is administered the June of a student’s sophomore year.
In 2004, the Mathematics Standards Committee was formed after two-thirds of the students who took the Math A Regents exam in June 2003 failed. It presented a report to the Board of Regents, regarding the Math A, Math A/B and Math B curricula.
The committee suggested the DOE should revert to the older curriculum as soon as possible because the Math A and Math B exams encompass too much material and are not sequential.
The new three-year curricula consists of Integrated Algebra, Integrated Geometry, and Integrated Algebra II and Trigonometry. Each course ends with a Regents exam.
According to Ferrara, many incoming freshmen will have completed Integrated Algebra in eighth grade. She said she expects most students to take Integrated Geometry freshmen year and Integrated Algebra II and Trigonometry sophomore year.
Ferrara approves of this development. “There isn’t a tremendous difference in the curriculum, just different Regents. With this course, students also get a solid knowledge of geometry which is very important,” she said. “Until we try the [new curriculum], we don’t know how it will affect Stuyvesant students.”
Math teacher Ashvin Jaishankar agreed. “In general, [the new curriculum] will be [better] because Math A and B rush through certain topics and students don’t get the full understanding,” he said. “The one-year courses spend more time on topics and allow students to focus on them.”
Some students are worried about the change. “The change might not be so good because if we are already involved with the Math A and B system, then why should we change now?” freshman Yana Azova said.
“The Math A and B curriculum should not be changed. When the first change was made, it created a lot of confusion for everyone, and some people were caught in the middle,” senior Kelvin Yeung said.