Elementary mathematics consists of mathematics topics frequently taught at the primary or secondary school levels. The most basic topics in elementary mathematics are arithmetic and geometry. Beginning in the last decades of the 20th century, there has been an increased emphasis on probability and statistics and on problem solving.
In secondary school, the main topics in elementary mathematics are algebra and trigonometry. Calculus, even though it is often taught to advanced secondary school students, is usually considered college level mathematics.
A mastery of elementary mathematics is necessary for many professions, including carpentry, plumbing, and automobile repair, as well as being a prerequisite for all advanced study in mathematics, science, engineering, medicine, business, architecture, and many other fields.
In the United States, there has been considerable concern about the low level of elementary mathematics skills on the part of many students, as compared to students in other developed countries. The No Child Left Behind program was one attempt to address this deficiency, requiring that all American students be tested in elementary mathematics.
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—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
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