The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 18, 2003


CCHS offers students many math choices

Math department chair Anthony Beckwith presented an overview of the Concord-Carlisle High School math curriculum to the Regional school committee on April 9. There is a range of courses offered for each grade level, offered in a three-tier format: Honors or College Prep 1 (CP1), College Prep 2 (CP2), and College Prep 3 (CP3). The order of the topics in math courses (algebra, geometry, etc) are similar. Independent learners would do best in the CP1 level, Beckwith explained, while students needing more guidance would be more comfortable in CP2. CP3 students are given more directed instruction and more time to master the concepts. "The goal is to be more independent learners," Beckwith explained. "We want all students to have the opportunity to both be challenged and find success in their mathematics class."

CCHS students are required to take a minimum of three years of math. Most students preparing for college, however, take math for four years. Courses offered include Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Analysis, and Trigonometry. Eighty percent of students entering the high school have had Algebra I, though some students have had only one semester. In the senior year, students have choices in advanced math subjects such as statistics, calculus, advanced calculus, nonlinear dynamics, number theory, and independent study.

In preparing for the MCAS test, teachers gather old MCAS problems and align them with the course work, incorporating them as a "problem of the day," or included in homework assignments. The curriculum is not based on the MCAS tests. "The test changes constantly; it jumps around," Beckwith explained.

Beckwith would like to see more course choices for seniors, such as advanced placement statistics, computer science and other advanced topics. He would also like to experiment with project-based learning, aimed at students with different learning skills.

When asked about class size, he said it was dependent on the students and which courses they choose. "Sometimes 40 kids sign up for the honors level. We can't have 40, so we try to split it up," he said. They try for an average of 30 students per class.

Committee member Pat Sinnott asked how well Carlisle students transition to high school math. Carlisle students do very well, he said.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito