Q. When does the Algebra I requirement actually go into effect?
A. "Commencing with the 2003-04 school year" refers to the beginning of the school year. The requirement applies to the graduating class of the 2003-04 school year, which includes any students who graduate during the school year.
Q. Do special education students have to meet this requirement?
A. Yes. In order to earn a high school diploma, students in special education are required to pass a course or combination of courses based on all Algebra I content standards. The Algebra I content standards are the same for all students; however, some students in special education may require accommodations or modifications to instruction. The individualized education program (IEP) team determines the type of instruction appropriate for each student.
Q. Can a waiver be filed for special education students with regards to the Algebra I graduation requirement?
A. A district or county office of education governing board or a Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) have a right to file an Education Code (EC) Section 56101 waiver on a specific waiver form for individual students with the State Board of Education (SBE). However, the review and approval of these waivers will be stringent. For forms and additional information, see the Special Education Waiver Authority.
Q. Do students who graduate through an adult school program have to meet this requirement?
A. Yes. EC Section 52504 states that students who graduate through an adult school program within a K-12 local educational agency (LEA) must meet the same graduation requirements as any other graduate in the district.
Q. If a student passes Algebra I prior to grade nine, must the student take two mathematics courses in grades nine through twelve? Must one of these courses meet or exceed the rigor of Algebra I?
A. The answer to the first question is yes. Although the algebra requirement is met, the student must still complete two years of mathematics in grades nine through twelve as required by EC 51225.3(a)(1)(b).
The answer to the second question is no. As stated in EC 51224.5(c), if a student, prior to enrollment in grade nine, completes coursework in algebra that meets or exceeds the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I, as adopted by the SBE, then the Algebra I graduation requirement is met. For students completing Algebra I prior to ninth grade, any two mathematics courses in grades nine through twelve will meet state graduation requirements. A local board of education can establish specific mathematics courses, e.g., geometry and Algebra II, as graduation requirements.
Q. Does "complete the course," mean "pass the course?"
A. Yes. The algebra requirement is no different from other graduation requirements in this respect. Completing two years of English, for example, also means, "pass the course."
Q. Can "course" be interpreted to mean one semester of Algebra I?
A. The requirement is that the course "meet or exceed the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I, as adopted by the SBE pursuant to Section 60605." If all Algebra I standards are met in the semester course by the use of extended time, for example, then the requirement may be met in one semester. The intent of the law is for students to complete a full course of Algebra I. Whether that takes more or less time than the typical one year is a matter of scheduling.
Q. If a student passes the first semester of a one-year Algebra I course and then changes to a two-year Algebra I course, will this meet the requirement?
A. The Algebra I graduation requirement is only met if a student has completed a full course in Algebra I. While this may involve a series of courses, all 25 Algebra I standards must be addressed in these courses.
Q. If a student is in an integrated pathway (Math I, Math II, and Math III), what course fulfills the Algebra I graduation requirement?
A. The requirement is that the course “meet or exceed the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I, as adopted by the SBE pursuant to Section 60605.” Section 60605 refers to the Mathematics content standards of 1997. The LEA determines what course(s) fulfill the requirement based on the above language. The intent of the law is for students to complete a full course of Algebra I, whether it spans over one or more courses.