Integrated Mathematics

Integrated mathematics is the term used in the United States to describe the style of mathematics education which integrates many topics or strands of mathematics throughout each year of secondary school. Each math course in secondary school covers topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and analysis. Nearly all countries throughout the world, except the United States, follow this type of curriculum.

In the United States, topics are usually integrated throughout elementary school up to the eighth grade. Beginning with high school level courses, topics are usually separated so that one year a student focuses entirely on algebra, the next year entirely on geometry, and then another year of algebra and later an optional fifth year of analysis (calculus). The one exception in the American high school curriculum would be the fourth year of math, typically referred to as precalculus, which usually integrates algebra, analysis, trigonometry, and geometry topics. Statistics may be integrated into all the courses or presented as a separate course.

New York State has used integrated curricula since the 1970s and this has been formalized in graduation requirements. Some other localities in the United States have also tried such integrated curricula. Georgia recently adopted such a curriculum, modeling their program after the Japanese curriculum. Under the new Common Core Standards set to be adopted by most states in 2012, the only difference between a traditional American sequence and an integrated sequence is the order in which the topics are taught. Supporters of using integrated curricula in the United States believe that students will be able to see the connections between algebra and geometry better in an integrated curriculum, but the Common Core Standards allow either type of curriculum.

In Minnesota, Wayzata Public Schools has been using the integrated math program for some time. The schools' test scores are among the highest in the state. The district is ranked better than 97.13% of all other districts in the state, giving it an A+ rating.

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