The Upper School mathematics program consists of two sequences: college preparatory and honors. Students are evaluated on the basis of frequent written assignments, quizzes, tests, a midterm exam, a final exam, and an occasional project. In addition to the two sequences, students may take a major course in Finance or AP Statistics (honors sequence only).
Mathematics: College Preparatory Sequence
This sequence leads students through a solid college preparatory curriculum grounded in mathematical principles. Students who successfully complete the four-year sequence are prepared to take calculus in college. Three years of mathematics in Grades 9 through 12 are required for graduation. However, an increasing number of non-mathematical college programs require that students study calculus, and therefore we encourage students to take four years of mathematics in high school. The sequence of courses in this program is:
- Grade 9: Geometry
- Grade 10: Algebra II
- Grade 11: Precalculus
- Grade 12: Intro to Calculus/Statistics
Mathematics: Honors Sequence
The honors mathematics program is designed for students who enjoy math, can grapple with theory and concepts at a rapid pace, and are eager for hard work. Honors math students demonstrate initiative and independence as they work through new types of problems and develop fundamental formulas. This program is important for a student who plans to pursue a math, science, or engineering program at a competitive college. The sequence of courses in this program is:
- Grade 9: Geometry Honors
- Grade 10: Algebra II Honors
- Grade 11: Precalculus Honors
- Grade 12: Calculus Honors/AP
Unusually talented and dedicated mathematics students who have accelerated in the discipline may take AP Calculus AB in Grade 11, contingent upon departmental approval. These students may then opt to enroll in AP Calculus BC or AP Statistics in Grade 12. If a student advances beyond the BC level before graduating, the department will recommend courses at local colleges.
Mathematics: Additional Options
The topics for AP Statistics are divided into four major themes: exploratory analysis, planning and conducting a study, probability, and statistical inference. Exploratory analysis of data uses different techniques to study patterns and departures from patterns. Applied topics include the skewness and kurtosis of the financial markets. By creating their own experiments, students learn how to plan and collect data according to a well developed plan. Probability is the tool used for anticipating what the distribution of data should look like under a given model. Students learn that random phenomena are not haphazard: they display an order that emerges only in the long run as is described by a distribution. Statistical inference guides the selection of appropriate models. All students take the AP exam in May.
Students in Finance learn how financial markets work, how to design a personal finance plan, how to select among various savings and investment options, and how to find and use investment information. Students explore topics such as consumer credit, credit cards, taxes, and retirement planning. Using math skills and financial analysis, students evaluate stocks and track investments. Additionally, students learn about financial resources and evaluation tools available to them online.