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Frequently Asked Questions: High School Mathematics October 2005

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Frequently Asked Questions: High School Mathematics Courses Pathways Assessment and Evaluation Teaching and Learning Appendices

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Courses

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What are the course options, course codes, and prerequisites? See page 3.

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How many students should we anticipate will take courses at the different levels? It is anticipated that approximately 30–40% of grade 10 students will enrol in graduation-level courses and approximately 60–70% of grade 10 students will enrol in the academic mathematics course. It is anticipated that in grades 11 and 12, 30–40% of students will enrol in graduation level courses, 40– 55% of students will enrol in academic-level courses, and 15–20% of students will enrol in advanced-level courses.

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What courses must be offered to students and which are optional for schools to offer? Schools must offer all core courses as options for students: – Mathematics 10 – Mathematics Foundations 10 – Mathematics 11 / Advanced Mathematics 11 – Mathematics Foundations 11 – Mathematics 12 / Advanced Mathematics 12 – Mathematics Foundations 12 – Pre-Calculus Mathematics 12. Options that schools may choose to offer: – Mathematics Foundations 10 Plus – Mathematics 10 Plus – Mathematics Essentials 10 – Mathematics Essentials 11 – Calculus 12

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What courses could be combined into one classroom, if necessary? Mathematics 10 and Mathematics Foundations 10 could be taught in a combined classroom. Mathematics Foundations 10 and Mathematics Essentials 10 are not recommended to be taught in a combined classroom. Mathematics 11 can be combined with either Advanced Mathematics 11 or with Mathematics Foundations 11. Mathematics Essentials 11 should not be combined with Mathematics Foundations 11. Mathematics 12 can be combined with either Advanced Mathematics 12 or Mathematics Foundations 12.

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Can high school mathematics courses be taught through the whole year? Year-long options through creative timetabling. Schools may also wish to consider Mathematics 10 Plus and Mathematics Foundations 10 Plus. It is important that scheduling of grade 12 courses reflect prerequisites and provide for students who wish to earn more than three mathematics credits.

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What are the differences between Mathematics 10 and Mathematics 10 Plus? Mathematics 10 Plus – is an academic, two-credit course – a Mathematics 10 credit (008008) – one elective credit, Mathematics 10 Plus (008157). – Mathematics 10 Plus follows the Mathematics 10 curriculum but is presented over 220 hours. – additional time to support and/or extend the learning to meet the needs of all students.

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How do the two credits work in Mathematics 10 Plus and Mathematics Foundations 10 Plus? Students taking Mathematics 10 Plus should be enrolled in: – Mathematics 10 (course code 008008), a mathematics credit – Mathematics 10 Plus (course code 008157), an elective credit. Students taking Mathematics Foundations 10 Plus should be enrolled in: – Mathematics Foundations 10 (course code 008009), a mathematics credit – Mathematics Foundations 10 Plus (course code 008158), an elective credit.

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Can Mathematics 10 Plus be taught as separate courses? The 220 hours afforded to this course will allow the teacher to get to know each student’s strengths and needs in mathematics very well. This enables the teacher to address the appropriate Mathematics 10 Plus outcomes for that student. For this reason Mathematics 10 Plus should be viewed as a single course, ideally taught over two semesters by the same teacher.

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What credit options are there for students who take Mathematics 10 Plus all year and then fail? Teachers may use their professional judgement in situations where a student fails. If the student has achieved the outcomes for Plus elective credit, a teacher may give credit for this course (008157) and not for the Mathematics 10 course. Teachers may also decide that a student’s performance is sufficient to satisfy the Mathematics Foundations 10 credit (008009) and may assign this credit, making the appropriate changes to the student’s record/transcript. The student will need to be counselled regarding options for earning the two required mathematics credits.

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May schools continue to offer locally developed mathematics courses? Principals and guidance counsellors are advised to check the approved status and end dates for locally developed courses in the course code list. See also Appendix A for a list of active course codes.

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What is the recommended sequence of grade 11 and grade 12 courses? Whenever possible students should take Mathematics 11 before Mathematics 12 and Advanced Mathematics 11 before Advanced Mathematics 12 and Mathematics Foundations 11 before Mathematics Foundations 12. Schools should make every effort to arrange schedules that will allow this sequence of courses. While the content of grade 11 courses is not prerequisite to grade 12 courses, students naturally benefit from the 110 hours of mathematics learning in grade 11 courses and have a stronger background on which to build as they address requirements of grade 12 courses.

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What are the IB and AP options in high school mathematics? The IB Diploma Program is currently being offered in two Nova Scotia schools. The program is being expanded to include several more high schools over the next few years. The Department is currently working with boards to expand opportunities for students to prepare for and take Advanced Placement Examinations.

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Pathways

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What are the possible course pathways through high school mathematics? See Appendix B.

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When a student is entering grade 10, what should he or she consider when registering for math courses? Considerations – previous mathematics achievement – interest – attitude – ability to work independently – work habits – future plans – the appropriate level of challenge of the course

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How does a student’s mathematics course choices influence his or her post-secondary options? Post-secondary programs have different mathematics prerequisites and should be carefully investigated during the course selection process. It is important to note that many post-secondary programs do not have a mathematics prerequisite and that graduation-level mathematics credits will satisfy admissions requirements. Selecting courses on the premise of “keeping all doors opened” without considering the above, is not in the best interest of students. Doing well in the appropriate course gives students more options than struggling through an ill chosen course. See the Mathematics: Career Pathways poster.

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How should recommendations regarding student placement be communicated from the junior to the senior high school? Protocols should be established within school boards to ensure effective communication between the junior high school and senior high school regarding recommendations made to students and their parents about selection of mathematics courses and appropriate placement of students.

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If a student chooses a course against the recommendations of the school and teacher, should resource support be made available to the student? Allocation of resource support must be prioritized by PPTs and the school principal. PPTs and principals must consider many factors when determining a priority list, including whether or not the student is in the appropriate course. Students and parents should understand this in advance of course selection.

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What are the course codes for students following an IPP? Mathematics 10 IPP (008102) Mathematics 11 IPP (008109) Mathematics 12 IPP (008110) Advanced Mathematics 11 IPP (008193) Advanced Mathematics 12 IPP (008108) Pre-Calculus Mathematics 12 IPP (008194)

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In which courses should a student following an IPP be placed? Students should be placed in settings where they will receive the appropriate support depending on the nature of the IPP. Considerations: – the strengths and needs of the student – the learning environment that will offer the student the appropriate challenge and support – class sizes – the capacity of the teacher to address the individual’s program and learning needs – student’s access to learning experiences and resources identified in the IPP

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What is the profile of a student in each course? See pages 10–11.

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How can attendance or lack of attendance affect a student’s ability to complete a course? With the learning outcomes framework we have in Nova Scotia, attendance should not be a factor, per se, in the evaluation of a student’s achievement. While students clearly benefit from regular attendance and uninterrupted learning, what matters is the extent to which the student can demonstrate achievement of the prescribed outcomes. A provincial attendance committee is currently investigating options for improving student attendance.

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Assessment and Evaluation

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How should students in high school mathematics be evaluated by the classroom teacher? Teachers should develop assessment and evaluation plans. Plans must be matched to the curriculum outcomes of each of the mathematics courses. Paper-and-pencil tests (quizzes and exams), projects, assignments, and portfolios. The evaluation plan shows how information about student learning will be evaluated by the teacher, using his or her professional judgement. It is not acceptable to use marks that are not linked to course outcomes, such as homework completion, attendance, or having the proper materials in class.

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Which high school mathematics courses have a Nova Scotia Examination (NSE)? Courses requiring students to write an NSE – Mathematics 12 – Advanced Mathematics 12

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Can a student earn an exam exemption in a mathematics course? There may be no exemptions in courses with NSE. While practising formal examination procedures can only help a student when writing an NSE and future exams, exemption policies are the responsibility of the boards.

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Can students rewrite NSE without retaking the course? No, a supplementary is not available at the present time. Students must be enrolled in Mathematics 12 or Advanced Mathematics 12 to write an examination.

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Do students doing summer school or correspondence write an NSE? All student receiving a credit for Mathematics 12 or Advanced Mathematics 12 should be writing an NSE. Dates of these exams are published well in advance, and arrangements can be made for students taking correspondence courses to write them. In some cases arrangements cannot be made, and an alternative will need to be used. The calculation of summer school marks is determined by school boards.

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Who marks NSE in mathematics? The department provides examinations in Mathematics 12 and Advanced Mathematics 12. These are administered and marked by the students’ teachers following guidelines prepared by the department. The department collects a random representative sample of student booklets and marks these centrally providing board and provincial statistics.

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May schools provide adaptations for NSE in mathematics? Students who have documented adaptations in mathematics (in their cumulative record file) may be provided these adaptations when writing the examination.

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Teaching and Learning

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Appendices

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Appendix A: Active Course Codes for High School Mathematics See pages 17–19.

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Appendix B: Suggested Student Pathways through High School Mathematics

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Frequently Asked Questions: High School Mathematics Donna Karsten Mathematics Consultant 902-424-5437 karstend@gov.ns.ca

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