Questions tagged [usa]

For questions that (at least in part) are specific to the United States of America.

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27
votes
7answers
1k views

Why does high school teaching in the USA require a teaching certificate while college/university teaching does not?

Original post: I have a math PhD. In the United States, I can teach at a 4-year university or a community college without any additional training. However, to teach mathematics in high-school I must ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Common Core, threat or menace? Or maybe ok after all?

I have a background in math but no contact with secondary education or kids. I hear all sorts of stories ... horror stories mostly ... about the Common Core math curriculum in the USA. Then I hear ...
24
votes
4answers
6k views

How is teaching calculus in high school different from teaching calculus in college?

I've taught calculus in college for five years, and it's always interesting to see students coming in who already had calculus in high school. Many of them do very well, and don't even seem like they ...
20
votes
5answers
550 views

What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?

I'm currently a research mathematician, getting involved in more and more outreach activities. One of these involves delivering lessons for elementary school math teachers (K-6). The purpose is two-...
19
votes
3answers
888 views

When did the American school system's progression of math classes take its current form?

In the United States, secondary education students generally progress through pre-algebra courses, then algebra, Euclidean geometry, more algebra/trigonometry, then calculus or statistics. I am ...
17
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6answers
7k views

Answers in exact form (e.g. including radicals) vs. Decimal Approximations

I was tutoring a student on early trigonometry. Solving for the hypotenuse of a right triangle, but with sine, not Pythagoras. The student went through getting the sine of a 45° triangle, and gave ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

How does the workload of a high-school mathematics teacher compare to a university-level instructor?

This question could be very broad, and so I'd like to make it more specific. In the United States, mathematics educators generally work in secondary education or college education (elementary school ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

(How) Do American undergraduate math programs teach complex numbers?

What kind of exposure to complex numbers can you expect in mathematics majors at American colleges? I teach at a very large public university. It occurred to me that it is possible to graduate in ...
16
votes
2answers
215 views

What happens when the state mandates college math placement policies?

The state of Illinois is currently considering a bill to mandate that all public institutions accept a score of 3 on every Advanced Placement exam. Bill here. The lobbyists in favor of the bill claim ...
14
votes
5answers
738 views

Community College Remedial Mathematics difficulties for students

I've been teaching remedial mathematics for the better part of a decade, and I've noticed a big trend in my classes lately. Many of my students are able to grasp the more complex ideas but still ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Math activities for fast-finishers

I am a math teacher for sixth graders and I am trying to think of some strategies to keep the students who finish their work quickly productively occupied. I would like to have a selection of ...
9
votes
3answers
594 views

What is the best way to teach compound interest in high school?

It seems that a lot of high school seniors contemplating college are too naive about borrowing and repaying a loan to tell whether a given loan choice is rational or irrational. Or so we are being ...
8
votes
4answers
780 views

Devising backup plan to become HS teacher as a late undergrad

I am a junior math major in NY and will apply to PhD programs next year. I am terrified about getting rejected as I have not yet put any serious thought into a backup plan. I've tutored high school ...
8
votes
1answer
707 views

An alternative to "two column" geometry proofs

I'm a high school teacher in New York State (US), starting in on my first year of teaching Geometry. One of the things that really intrigues me is that the Regents exam (the state-mandated final exam)...
8
votes
1answer
299 views

When (and why) did geometric means of more than two numbers exit the secondary curriculum?

In contemporary US secondary mathematics textbooks, geometric means occasionally make a brief appearance. For example: In Geometry, students learn that when an altitude is dropped to the hypotenuse ...
7
votes
1answer
911 views

How to be a good math teacher at a liberal art college?

I am thinking of taking up a position at a liberal art college. I have taught mathematics at large public universities but I have no idea what is it like to work at a liberal art colleges. So what are ...
7
votes
3answers
437 views

Is there a study that compares 8-week vs 16-week math classes?

I see a push toward having undergraduate curriculums built around 8-week classes. This is mostly in the online education in the USA. Recently I have seen a number of these in sophomore or junior-level ...
7
votes
1answer
523 views

What universities in the United States have Spanish-language mathematics classes?

This is a simple question, which I haven't found the answer to online. Due to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking students in American universities, I've been interested in teaching Spanish-...
7
votes
2answers
151 views

Is $\overline{AB} \cong \overline{BA}$ usually taught as an instance of the symmetric property of congruence?

I have been tutoring a wide range of math subjects for many years. Recently, I began tutoring a girl in high school geometry (in California, for context). This semester of the course is starting with ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What will my academic path look like after testing out of high school math classes?

I am currently a 15-year-old in the 9th grade, and I am studying to test out all of my high school math classes, which is something I didn't realize I could do in the 8th grade and would have if I had....
6
votes
2answers
229 views

As a Secondary public Math educator in the USA are there vacation days?

My girlfriend is soon to become HS or secondary education public school math teacher in the USA. I was reading some HS contracts and I dont see any "vacation days". At best I only saw 2 "personal" ...
6
votes
4answers
617 views

Courses equivalent to College Algebra in other countries?

In USA, there is a course called College Algebra and a course description may look like the following: This course provides students an opportunity to gain algebraic knowledge needed in ...
6
votes
2answers
536 views

Calculus limits taught in the US vs Spain?

So, I realize this can be a broad question, so I'll narrow it down. I have lived in Spain and own several Math textbooks from that country (the equivalent of 8th grade and high school Math). Has ...
6
votes
2answers
138 views

Typical structure for walk-in math tutoring in US high schools?

I'm now semi-retired after a career teaching physics (and occasionally math) at a community college, and am looking for opportunities to volunteer with disadvantaged youth. During my college career, I ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Most Commonly-Adopted Calculus Textbooks

I am looking for an article (or other source) that addresses the calculus textbook industry, specifically which calculus textbooks are most commonly adopted. I'm primarily interested in that of the U....
5
votes
4answers
363 views

What math courses should I take in order to become a secondary math educator?

Seeing as this is the math educator site, perhaps someone can help me out: I am looking to become a math teacher, but I am having a hard time figuring out which math courses I need to be taking. ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

How are secondary-education mathematics jobs advertised in the United States?

A large portion of 4-year university mathematics jobs are advertised on mathjobs.org. Is there a similar, centralized location for secondary education mathematics jobs? If not, what are the standard ...
5
votes
2answers
412 views

Mathematics minor requirements

My institution (in USA) is planning to introduce a minor in mathematics and here are the proposed course requirements: Calculus I Calculus II Calculus III or Differential Equations Any two of the ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

In a typical 3rd-semester multivariate calculus course in the US, what kind of area integrals do students actually learn to do?

I teach mostly physics and a little math at a California community college. I've never taught the multivariate calculus course, but I have taught the electricity and magnetism course for which the ...
4
votes
0answers
263 views

Is There Such Thing as Reaching Half a Standard?

I like the Common Core State Standards for Math as they focus on objectives that students need to reach. However, some standards have way too many parts for them. For instance, the standard CCSS.MATH....
3
votes
2answers
402 views

How actually are prime numbers taught in elementary school in United States and how easily do students learn what they're being taught about them?

I read the question https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1593091/how-to-explain-why-study-prime-numbers-to-5th-graders and according to the body of the question, some students sigh. Also according ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

Successor to School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG)

From reviews on Amazon of the various high school math texts by Mary Dolciani et al of the SMSG, I assume that there might be a successor to the approach (referred to as “the new math”) taken by the ...
2
votes
2answers
654 views

Preparing elementary teachers for the praxis exam

I'm teaching a class called "Math for Elementary Teachers." The main goal of the course is to prepare the prospective teachers for an exam that I believe is called "Praxis" (some ...
2
votes
1answer
213 views

Is the AMC 10/12 Test the Difference Maker for Top Schools? What do Colleges Look for?

The AMC 10/12 test is a test used in a math competition for high school students. I have a few students that know LaTeX who are very young and are extremely advanced for their age in high school. As a ...
2
votes
0answers
192 views

why don't we do labs in/for math?

(this is in the US and at a high school level) why don't we dedicate a day of the week each week to do a lab for math for exploration? I mean we already do that for Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

Reference for study about good teachers in a US state

Several years ago I have read about a study in a US state where standard test scores were used to identify teachers whose students consistently improved far above the average and then film and analyse ...
1
vote
3answers
255 views

When are students taught implicit and parametric representations of curves?

Do students learn implicit equations (such as $x^2+y^2-r^2 = 0$) and parametric equations (e.g., $x=a t^2,\;y= 2 a t$) in a first course in algebra, which in the US would be early high school, maybe ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

Resources to qualify for AIME

I am trying to qualify for AIME this year and get a score of at least $5$ or $6$. (If anyone doesn't know, AIME is the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. You need to get a decent score on ...
0
votes
4answers
250 views

Is "Volume of Solids of Revolution" a part of Cal I or Cac II

I took Calc I in preparation for the CLEP. I did not learn about solids of revolution. Is this something that is normally part of Calc I and that most Calc II classes will expect that I can do already?...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

Matriculation exams like in Europe

I just looked at matriculation exams from Finland. They have both basic and advanced level exams. Most US high school seniors could not pass the basic exam. If each US state were to create its own ...
-2
votes
1answer
290 views

Why are math test scores dropping in America? Lack of student responsibility movement [closed]

Someone asked me this question today. Why do you honestly believe that high school math test scores in America (particularly the United States) are low compared to other countries? I thought about ...
-2
votes
1answer
80 views

Where can I find the partial order relation of prerequisites of undergraduate courses in the United States?

Let $A$ be the set of all undergraduate mathematical courses in the US and define a binary relation $\leq$ on $A$ such that for elements $a,b\in A$ (that is, $a$, $b$ are undergraduate mathematical ...