You’ve also probably been wondering why your son or daughter is having such a tough time in the Grade 10 Foundations/Pre Calculus, or in the grade 11 Foundations or Pre-Calculus. There have been changes to the grade 10-12 course content as well as the grade 8 and 9 content as well. The courses have been re-arranged and many students are feeling like they are having to learn difficult math concepts for the first time. I think that some of this angst is because these courses are not completely in effect yet, and the math they may have taken in the grade previous is not exactly matching up with the course they are taking today. Each student will still have the necessary skills to complete these new courses, however due to the transition period, it they may not be as strong in some concepts as they feel they should be.
To try and sort this all out, I went to our local senior high school, Correlieu Senior Secondary, to ask the math teachers how the content of each new course is different. Here is what I found out:
· Some content of the grade 8 and 9 math courses has been removed in order to allow a little more time can be spent on each section of the course allowing students to learn at a slightly slower pace. In this way they are able to build the skills needed for the math courses in grade 10-12.
· The grade 10 math courses are divided into two streams; Apprenticeship and Workplace Math and Foundations/Pre-calculus.
· Apprenticeship and Workplace math is similar to the old Applications of Math course including the math skills related to wages, taxes, building and other trades.
· Foundations/Pre-Calculus math is different in content than the previous Principles Math. There is a greater course content which is contributing to the stress on those grade 10 Math students.
· The grade 11 courses now have some grade 12 content as well.
· According to a retired math teacher who has been teaching for over 40 years, “It’s the same stuff we’ve been teaching for years” just in a re-structured format.
Another document I found useful was by Dr. Charles Best on the Coquitlam School District Website, when answering the question “Mathematically, what is the difference between Foundations of Math 11 and Pre-Calculus 11?” he answered “Quite a big difference. Compare Physics to Chemistry, both sciences, but each concentrating on different fields of science. Similarly, Pre-Calculus 11 will look at topics needed for the study of theoretical calculus (ex. Trigonometry, Algebra, Permutations, Combinations). Foundations of Math 11 will look at the mathematics needed for non-calculus based fields of study (ex. Geometry, Relations and Functions, Finance, Statistics and Probability). Note: All of these topics were originally taught in the Principles of Math courses, and they have now been divided”