New Utah Math Core Standards FAQ



What are the major differences between the old core and the new Utah Core Standards ?

The 2007 core was a list of objectives for students to master. Although NCTM and other professional organizations emphasize the importance of mathematical processes as well as content, the new Utah Core Standards formally include such processes as a part of the core.  The focus in classrooms will therefore be on not only teaching content, but also building and strengthening the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Utah has chosen to follow the international pathway, which means Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Trigonometry, and so on will not be taught as separate topics, but integrated throughout secondary math. This means courses will be identified by grade level rather than by specific topic.  Although the names and order of content will change, the Algebra, Geometry and other topics will still be taught.


What is the role of Precalculus in the new core?

Precalculus will no longer be a class for juniors to take prior to AP Calculus. This means that students who plan to take AP Calculus will need to follow the honors path beginning in 9th grade. Precalculus will consequently become a senior year class for students who complete the non-honors path.



How will we help students who struggle?

Interventions should be in place at a school level to identify students who are struggling and, using the 3-tier model, apply interventions that will allow students to stay on grade level. As it was with the 2007 core, each school will have the flexibility to deal with remediation issues in a way that best serves their school culture. We anticipate that through time, training, and experience, teachers and schools will develop and share effective remediation strategies to help students succeed in the new Utah Core Standards .


Will students be permitted to retake a class?

Although our primary emphasis will be on preventing the need for students to repeat a class, we understand that there will always be a need for students to repeat a course. Since repeating a class can impact meeting graduation requirements, teachers and counselors should consider repeating a class as a last resort for remediation.



How will students be able to take Calculus in 12th grade?

Students who complete the secondary mathematics honors path will be prepared for AP Calculus. These students will not need to take Precalculus, as the Precalculus content will be integrated and taught over the 3 years of secondary math in 9th through 11th grade.


What are the differences between honors and non-honors secondary math classes?

The three years of Secondary Math Honors courses will include the Precalculus content that students will need to be able to take AP Calculus after Secondary Math III.  The specific differences between Secondary Math I and Secondary Math IH have been defined by the state and primarily are a study of vectors in Secondary Math IH. The differences between the following years have not been formally identified by the state. However they have indicated that Secondary Math IIIH include much more trig, and will be significantly more challenging than Secondary Math III. Since the difference between Secondary Math I and Secondary Math IH is relatively small, we recommend that most students enroll in Secondary Math IH. It will be easier to transfer back to the regular track from honors than transfer to the honors path from the regular.


Will students be able to move from the regular path to the honors path after 9th grade?

The transition from the regular path to the honors path will be difficult, considering the content of the honors courses will include additional standards. In order to move up, students would need to learn the additional content independently, or individual schools would need to provide specific support for such students. We recommend that all students who succeed in 8th grade mathematics enroll in Secondary Math IH in order to keep their options open.


How will highly advanced students still be able to take AP Calc in 11th grade?

An accelerated track will be available, in which students will be taught the content for Intermediate Math I, II, and Secondary Math IH during 7th and 8th grade. These students will essentially be taught 3 years of math in a two-year time period. In order to enter the accelerated track, students must pass a placement test in 6th grade. We anticipate less than 5% of all students will be in this accelerated track.



What materials will be available when we implement?

We are hopeful that there will be quality materials from publishers available for purchase prior to implementation. The district is also currently producing other support materials to assist teachers in learning the new core, such as a clarification of the standards and a suggested scope and sequence. These materials will be made available to teachers online and at the district trainings for the new core.



When will state assessments be required for the new new Utah Core Standards ?

The state is a governing member of a consortium of 29 states that is developing assessments to accompany the new Utah State Standards. The consortium is currently planning on having operational assessments for all new core courses at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Until then, current Utah CRT’s or amended CRT’s will be used.


Will students taking a new Utah Core Standards course before 2014-2015 be taking a CRT from the old core?

The current plan from the state during transition is that 7th and 8th graders will take an amended CRT that will more accurately reflect Intermediate I and II. 9th graders (Secondary Math I) will not take a core test. 10th graders (Secondary Math II) will take the Algebra I CRT.


Implementation Issues

How will the new Utah Core Standards affect resource students and teachers?

Resource teachers will be invited to participate in district training. The state is currently not requiring additional math endorsements for resource teachers. Once the state sets the new graduation requirements, resource students will need to meet those requirements, unless the student has an IEP stating otherwise.


What are the new graduation requirements?

The state has not determined graduation requirement for the new Utah Core Standards. There will be a window of time during implementation in which students will need to meet the requirements in whichever core they are taking.


What teacher training will the district provide?

The district participated in a weeklong state training for Secondary Math I in June 2011. Teachers who receive this training from the state will provide the training for all remaining Secondary Math I teachers in the district in June 2012. We will receive state training for some teachers for Intermediate Math 1 and 2 in June of 2012. This training will be provided to all 7th and 8th grade teachers in August 2012.


What can teachers do right now to prepare for the new core?

Becoming familiar with the Standards of Mathematical Practice in the introduction to the new Utah Core Standards is a great place to start. These standards are not new, and are likely already a part of much of what teachers do in the classroom. Being aware of these practices and building lessons now that support them will help in the transition into the new core.