Mathematics Department

The Mathematics Department is committed to providing a quality program in college preparatory mathematics. Our goal is to equip every student graduating from Uni High with the prerequisites in mathematics to be able to enter any university in the United States without having to take a remedial course in mathematics. We are also committed to using the NCTM Standards and the Common Core State Standards as guidelines for our curriculum. At all course levels, we emphasize approaching problems from the numerical, geometric, and analytic points of view and developing the students' ability to communicate about mathematics both orally and in writing. We want the students to value the role of both investigation and proof in mathematics, and we use technology where it is helpful in supporting these aims. Calculators are used in all courses, and students use specialized technology such as spreadsheets, dynamic geometry, computer algebra systems, the internet, and other software packages at various times to represent information, form conjectures, solve problems, and communicate results. Mathematics is a language for describing patterns in the world around us. We believe that when students recognize that mathematics comes from a rich historical development, and that new mathematical ideas, applications, and algorithms are continually being generated, they will learn to value mathematics not only for what it can do but for what it is. If students experience the wonder of mathematics and are intrigued by a mathematical curiosity, they will come to appreciate and even enjoy the process. Although mathematics is a useful subject that helps us find the amount spent on groceries, communicate scientific relationships, and model problems involving interest, it is also a wonderful subject in itself, with startling relationships and connections that are fascinating to think about.
 

Math Department Placement Procedures
All subfreshmen and freshmen entering Uni will automatically be placed into Algebra I, unless they demonstrate proficiency in Uni math courses by passing one or more placement exams. Placement Examinations were created for the express purpose of placing incoming students into the appropriate mathematics courses. Students entering in sophomore, junior, or senior years may automatically place out of a Uni math course only if they have received a grade of C or better on a high school transcript for a substantially equivalent course. Otherwise, they must take placement exams. A passing score on a placement exam qualifies the student to take the next course in the Uni sequence. Placement exams (multiple- choice/short answer format) are available in the following subjects:

  • Algebra 1 (un-timed , graphing calculator allowed, but not required)
  • Geometry (50 minute, graphing calculator allowed, but not required)
  • Algebra 2 (50 minute, graphing calculator required)
  • Trigonometry (50 minutes, graphing calculator required)
  • In addition, new students with grades of B or better in an Algebra 2-equivalent courses who wish to enter Calculus must take and pass both Algebra 2 and Trigonometry proficiency exams.

Our experience with students taking Algebra 1 in 6th or 7th grades before coming to Uni has been that only the most exceptional will place out of Algebra 1 and into Geometry. Students who begin a study of algebra before they are cognitively ready for the level of abstraction required tend to learn only mechanical processes, and our goal is to get students beyond the mechanical and into real understanding.

Note: These proficiency guidelines are directed towards students just entering University High School. Please contact the Mathematics Department (tel. 333-6034 or email hcrussel@illinois.edu) if these guidelines do not answer your questions, or to arrange for placement tests.

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