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Mathematics Graduation Requirements

Minimum graduation requirements for mathematics.

The California Education Code (EC) specifies that beginning with the graduating class of 2003-04 and each subsequent year, pupils must meet the following minimum graduation requirements for mathematics:

  1. Complete at least two courses in mathematics in grades 9 to 12 inclusive. One or a combination of these courses must meet or exceed the rigor of the content standards of Algebra I or Mathematics I.
  2. EC Section 51224.5(c) provides that the mathematics graduation requirement is met if a student, prior to enrollment in grade 9, completes a course in Algebra I or Mathematics I, or mathematics courses of equal rigor, that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE).  Even if the algebra requirement is met, the student must still complete two years of mathematics in grades 9 to 12 as required by EC Section 51225.3(a)(1)(B). The determination  whether the coursework in algebra, taken prior to grade 9, meets or exceeds the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I or Mathematics I, as adopted by the SBE, is a local decision.

EC Section 51224.5 specifies:

(a) The adopted course of study for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, shall include algebra as part of the mathematics area of study pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 51220.

(b) Before receiving a diploma of graduation from high school, a pupil shall complete at least one course, or a combination of the two courses required for graduation pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 51225.3, that 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.

(c) A pupil who, before enrollment in grade 9, completes a course in Algebra I or Mathematics I, or mathematics courses of equal rigor, that is aligned to the content standards adopted by the state board, is exempt from subdivision (b), but is not exempt from the requirement that the pupil complete two courses in mathematics while enrolled in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, as specified in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 51225.3.

(d) A pupil who has completed a course or courses that meet or exceed the content standards for Algebra I adopted by the state board pursuant to Section 60605, as that section read on June 30, 2011, shall be deemed to have satisfied the graduation requirement specified in subdivision (b).

If the local educational agency (LEA) requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation from high school, the LEA may award a student up to one mathematics course credit for successfully completing a “category C” approved computer science course, as stated in EC 51225.35.

California EC can be found in the California Law Library External link opens in new window or tab..

For more information, see Algebra I/Mathematics I Graduation Requirements frequently asked questions.

Questions: STEM Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 11, 2016

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