Aspen board to weigh increasing requirement for high school math
ASPEN – Aspen School District administrators are recommending the high school raise its mathematics requirement to four years, beginning with next year’s incoming freshman class. Students are currently required to take just three years of math.
The issue, to be considered at Monday’s Aspen Board of Education meeting, is a follow-up to a discussion in April about the high school’s math curriculum. At that time in a memo from Superintendent John Maloy to the school board, math faculty offered several pages of data in support of a four-year math requirement for high school students. The memo also states that Aspen’s “Colorado Match” schools, such as Steamboat Springs and Cheyenne Mountain, require four years of math. Plus, the Colorado Higher Education Admission Requirements, which most state universities and colleges adhere to, calls for four years of math.
However, Colorado does not currently have a statewide graduation requirement; it is one of only two states without one. And while the state is expected to set forth new standards that might require four years of math, the process is slow-moving.
Regardless, a change in required math credits will not affect the majority of Aspen High students, as most already take four years of math in preparation for their post-graduate studies. This year, only 22 graduating seniors did not enroll in a fourth year of math.
When told these statistics at a previous meeting, school board members asked why those students opted out of math; it was clear board members did not want to require an extra year of math if it would negatively impact those students.
“We would be making an institutional decision that this extra year of math is the best use of their time,” said school board president Elizabeth Parker, noting the importance of allowing students to choose classes that best fit their post-graduation plans.
According to a survey of those students, seven students opted out of math because they were graduating early, while six moved into the district after a high school career plan was already in place. Only seven students said they dropped because of poor performance, failing math or getting a GED.
Still, school board members previously said that if a fourth year of math is to be required for graduation, all students must be taken into consideration.
“If we’re going to require a fourth year of math, we need to be sure we cover everybody – not just those going on to a university,” said board member Sheila Wills. “We need to offer classes for students on both sides of the spectrum, and in the middle.”
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