UC-Approved Intermediate Algebra Returns


By Marina Furbush

Intermediate Algebra is being offered again this year, after being dropped from the curriculum last year because it wasn’t a UC-approved course. Over the summer, the math department submitted courses of study for several math classes, including Intermediate Algebra, which were approved.

“We got notification from UC indicating we had to resubmit all of our courses of study, so we got together and rewrote the course of study for Intermediate Algebra based on the new UC requirements,” math department head David Wetzel said. “The new UC requirements [are Common Core] so we rewrote it based on Common Core and the idea that we would create two classes, an Intermediate Algebra course that meets the UC requirements but doesn’t head towards Calculus, and we would rewrite the Advanced Algebra to meet the UC requirements and head towards Calculus. [We] submitted both of them and they were both approved so now we’re offering both courses again.”

“Intermediate Algebra was UC approved, that was recent as of this year, over the summer,” Principal Julie Synyard said. “I’m very happy about that. It’s great.”

Intermediate Algebra now counts as a second year of UC algebra, but it does differ from its former iterations. “After rewriting the curriculum to fit the Common Core Standards, the content is more difficult than the previous Intermediate Algebra course taught two years ago,”  Wetzel said.

While Intermediate Algebra has returned, the other changes made to the math department last year are still in place. “[Two years ago] we had P1/2 [the first half of Algebra 1 over one year], P3/4, [the second half of Algebra 1] and Algebra 1. P1, 2, 3, 4 were all dropped [last year] and Algebra 1 was rewritten to meet the common core standards,” Wetzel said. “That has not changed. We still only offer one entry-level math course for students, and that’s the Common Core algebra.”

The math department plans to continue working with students coming into Tam who are not ready for Algebra. “Students that are coming to us below the level of algebra readiness is still a challenge and we’re going to continue working on that,” Wetzel said. “We’re trying a few things with that population to see if we can give more support to them to get them through the Common Core Algebra curriculum as opposed to the first half of Algebra. In other words, [it would mean having] Algebra over two years, which we’re not offering yet. It will certainly be a challenge over this year. And of course the bigger challenge is we now have four new math teachers in our department, so bringing them into the team and working with them collaboratively and helping them understand the system and grow into the department will certainly be a focus this year.”