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Algebra I/Mathematics I Graduation Requirements

Frequently asked questions for Algebra I graduation requirements.
  1. 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.

  2. Q. Do special education students have to meet this requirement?

    A. Special education students have to meet the Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement. 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 or Mathematics I content standards. The Algebra I or Mathematics 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  team determines the type of instruction appropriate for each student.

  3. Q. Can a waiver be filed for special education students with regards to the Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement?

    A. Under EC Section 56101, the governing board of a district or county office of education or a Special Education Local Plan Area may request the State Board of Education to grant a waiver for individual students from all or part of the Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement . However, the review and approval of these waivers will be stringent. For additional information, including the online waiver process, see the Special Education Waiver Authority and Waiver Process for the State Board of Education.

  4. Q. Do students who graduate through an adult school program have to meet this requirement?

    A. Students who graduate through an adult school program within a K-12 local educational agency must meet the same graduation requirements as any other graduate in the district as stated in EC Section 52504.

  5. Q. Does "complete the course," mean "pass the course?"

    A. Completing the course is the same as passing the course. 

  6. If a student passes Algebra I or Mathematics I prior to grade nine, is the Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement met?

    A. EC Section 51224.5(c) provides that the Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement is met if a student, prior to enrollment in grade nine, completes a course in Algebra I or Mathematics I, or mathematics courses of equal or greater rigor, that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE).

  7. Q. Must  students take two mathematics courses in grades nine through twelve?

    A. Under EC Section 51225.3(a)(1)(B), students in grades 9 through 12 must take two unique mathematics courses regardless of whether they took Algebra I/Mathematics I prior to grade nine. A local board of education can establish specific mathematics courses, e.g., Mathematics I and Mathematics II, or Algebra I and Geometry, as graduation requirements.

    If the time to complete a course is extended, such that only a portion of the standards are covered within a school year and the rest are completed during a second year, the student has only competed ONE course. 

  8. Q. Can "course" be interpreted to mean one semester of Mathematics I or Algebra I?

    A. The requirement is that the course "meets or exceeds the rigor of Algebra I or Mathematics I that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the state board pursuant to Sections 60605.8 and 60605.11." The intent of the law is for students to complete a full course of Algebra I, Mathematics I, or a mathematics course of equal or greater rigor, as modeled in the Mathematics Framework for California Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.

  9. 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 Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement?

    A. The Algebra I/Mathematics I graduation requirement is only met if a student has completed a full course in Algebra I or Mathematics I, or mathematics course of equal rigor, that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the state board pursuant to EC Sections 60605.8 and 60605.11.. All standards of Algebra I or Mathematics I must be addressed in the course(s).

  10. Q. If a student is in an integrated pathway (Mathematics I, Mathematics II, and Mathematics III), what course(s) fulfills the Algebra I graduation requirement?

    A. The requirement is that the course “meets or exceeds the rigor of Algebra I or Mathematics I that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the state board pursuant to Sections 60605.8 and 60605.11”.

  11. Q. Can a Computer Science course count as a mathematics course for the graduation requirement?

    A. Under EC Section 51225.35, if the governing board of a school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation, the governing board of the school district may award a pupil up to one mathematics course credit for successful completion of a “category C” approved computer science course. As used here, “category C” refers to the “A-G” admission requirements for the California State University and the University of California.
Questions: STEM Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 11, 2016

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