Schools may now be offering traditional math courses again, after the state school board approved a measure today that essentially rescinded the requirement for the integrated math curriculum.

The four new courses – GPS Algebra, GPS Geometry, GPS Advanced Algebra, and GPS Pre-Calculus – would be taught with a more traditional delivery.

School systems would have the flexibility to continue teaching integrated math or teach discrete math courses.

In a released statement, Rockdale County Public School System Superintendent Dr. Sam King said, "We believe integrated math is the most effective model for our students and plan to continue with it as our primary method of delivery. However, we are currently working with administrators to discuss ways of incorporating the new options to support our current math program."

Students taking remedial or support courses for the integrated math classes will now be allowed to count them towards their core credits rather than just elective credits.

Georgia schools rolled out an integrated math curriculum, or the new math, several years ago that combined elements of what were traditionally discrete classes, such as algebra, geometry, and calculus.

"We have many students who are currently struggling with the integrated approach to the math curriculum,” said State Superintendent John Barge in a released statement. “I applaud the State Board’s action to approve my recommendation to give students more options to master our rigorous math standards. We are seeing that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t in the best interest of all of our students. Our systems need the flexibility to teach in the manner that best meets the needs of their students and local system leaders are best positioned to make those decisions. However, I want to be clear that this is not a retreat from the rigor of our Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). This is simply a restructuring of the GPS in a discrete fashion.”

Rockdale County Public Schools did not spend significantly on teaching materials when switching to the new math because they used textbooks they already had and the curriculum resources offered online by the state, said RCPS curriculum director Leslie Demarco. Instructors did have to go through significant training, however.

Students must receive four units of math in order to graduate. Mathematics Support I, Mathematics Support II, and Mathematics Support III will now be counted as a core credit toward their high school diploma.

“We have approximately 17 percent of our current juniors that have one or no math credits, putting them at risk of not graduating,” said Barge. “I see no harm in giving these students the opportunity to learn the math curriculum in a more traditional delivery, without compromising the rigor of the standards.”

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