For many students decisions about classes are easy. Integrated Math 1 leads to Integrated Math 2, for example. However, there are certain times in the high school experience where decisions about mathematics classes are tougher since more options are available to students.

If you are unsure about which math class will be best for you, be sure to talk with your current math teacher. Your teacher knows the differences among the classes you could take next year and can also advise why one class may suit your needs better than another. For some students, the decision is also based on whether to take the honors or college-prep level of a particular course. Refer to the specific course profiles and section introductions for more details, but keep in mind the following items as you consider your decision.
  • The honors courses progress at a quicker pace than the corresponding college-prep course. More material is covered at a deeper level. Students who enjoy engaging in challenging mathematical thinking can learn a lot and find success in the honors classes.

  • Since more content is taught in the honors courses, students are expected to know more when entering the next honors level. This is also important in non-consecutive levels since curriculum from Integrated Math 1 Honors, for example, is needed for success in Integrated Math 3 Honors. This additional content in honors is why there are "bridge" courses and tests for students entering honors from college prep courses.

  • Students taking honors courses must consider how they will handle the stress of their overall school schedule. Even when students try their best, it is not always possible to earn an “A” in every class. Passionate, engaged students will find success, but success is personal and not only defined by grades.

  • Earning an “A” in a college-prep course does not necessarily mean that student belongs in honors the following year. This is especially true if the “A” was earned through continuous, repetitive, good effort rather than a passion for mathematics. In the college-prep courses, students with a solid work ethic and a desire for success will continue to enjoy and learn from a variety of challenging problems and activities.

Most math classes begin with some review of previously learned material. This explores the material with new depth and helps align the backgrounds of students. While beginning with review can be helpful, it is often difficult to base a decision about proper placement on the experiences within the first few weeks of class. Students may get a sense of overconfidence in a course and can be surprised when new material is too difficult, and this difficulty may arise after it is too late to drop the course. Also, less time is spent on review (at the beginning of a course and throughout the year) in higher-level courses.  

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