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Topics NOT Tested in Common Core Algebra II

Recently, I received an email from a math teacher who had been surfing the listservs. He found a list reportedly from NYSED about topics that will no longer be tested on the new Common Core Algebra II Regents exam (as opposed to the current Algebra 2 with Trigonometry exam). He pointed out that some of the topic on the list were in the Table of Contents for our new Common Core Algebra II text. When I looked at the list, I did find some items that I’ve included that won’t be tested. Here’s the full list. I’ve highlighted the topics from the list that are in my curriculum. Remember, these are the topics from the current Algebra 2 and Trigonometry that will NOT be tested on the new Common Core Algebra II Regents exam next June. The bold face ones are those that are still in my text.

1. Rationalizing binomial denominators

2. Dividing complex numbers (incl. rationalizing binomial denominators, ex: 10/(3 – i)

3. Solving absolute value equations algebraically

4. Solving absolute value inequalities

5. Given a real-life scenario, write an absolute value inequality that models it

6. Solve problems involving direct and inverse variation

7. Simplifying complex fractions

8. Using L. of Sines and L. of Cosines to solve triangles

9. Finding area of a triangle using (1/2)abSinC

10. Ambiguous case (SSA, using L. of Sines)

11. Binomial Probabilities/Bernoulli experiments

* ex) Given that the chance of snow on any day in February is 40%, find the probability that is snows at least 10 days during the month of February.

12. Finding probabilities based on comparing areas

13. Finding probabilities using permutations and combinations

14. Composition of functions

* writing an algebraic rule for f(g(x)) given f(x) and g(x)
* Finding the domain of f(g(x)) given f(x) and g(x)

15. Co-functions (applying the idea that cos(A) = sin(90 – A) in various ways)

16. Angle Sum, Angle Difference and Double Angle identities

17. Solving Trig equations (linear, quadratic, equations requiring use of the identities above)

So, the vast majority of these I’ve left out. I had originally put binomial probability into the course because, truly, it is the basis for all of the mathematics behind the sampling of populations to test sample proportions, but I’ve decided against it due to not having developed the concept of a combination (or any counting theory of any type).

I have included both complex fractions and composition of functions. Let me explain why. I think that this course will be the last math class many, many students take before going to college. Sure, many will take high school precalculus, but many will not. I do not believe, by far and large, that colleges are adjusting to the changes in the Common Core curriculum. And I think that students should be exposed to function composition and all of the topics in a robust rational algebra unit, including the simplifying of complex fractions before taking precalculus.

By the way, did you notice that they didn’t list other rational algebra topics, even though they are not formally in the PARCC End of Year Standards for Common Core? I’ve included reducing rational expressions, multiplying, dividing, and summing, but they aren’t really supposed to be tested. I find it fascinating that this list does not include them. Makes me happy I did.

When I wrote this book I included material from Algebra 2 with Trigonometry along with material as specified by the Common Core Standards via the PARCC End of Year topic delineation. But, really, I wrote a curriculum that covered all of the topics I felt would be assessed, while including topics that I thought were valuable in telling the story of Algebra 2 (or Algebra II or whatever we want to call it). I think it is a compelling story and I hope that our text tells it in a way that forces students to think critically and solve problems with the advanced tools of higher-order algebra.

Here’s a link to the actual discussion forum post with the list in it:

I’ll have more thoughts on this curriculum as the summer progresses.
Commom Core Algebra II CD

11 thoughts on “Topics NOT Tested in Common Core Algebra II

  1. Is there a list of topics that were NOT covered in the old Algebra2/Trigonometry but are covered in the Algebra 2 common core?

    Also, is there a list of topics that are/were part of the old Algebra2/Trigonometry, that are now covered in Algebra 1?

  2. I have not put together such a list, but perhaps someone else reading the forum has.

  3. What confuses me most regarding the topics no longer covered is, where have they gone? I know that much of Trigonometry is now part of the Geometry curriculum but how much is really being covered in those classes? There seem to be essential topics to know in mathematics that have “disappeared”. What happens when these students get to college and have not ever seen things once assumed to have been taught in high school? It seems to me there will inevitably be gaps!

  4. Great comment Chris. I do think that this is a fairly involved conversation. To start, I think there have always been gaps, primarily because there has never been a nationalized pre-college math curriculum. On top of that, there is certainly no nationalized college math curriculum either. Ten years ago when a student from Florida ended up going to a college in New York they didn’t have the same high school math education as a high school student from New York. So, there were gaps. Now with a more nationalized high school curriculum, brought to you by the much maligned Common Core Standards, at least what students learned in public school math was supposed to be the same regardless of geography. The question then is whether colleges are paying attention to the shift in standards so they are aware of what students have been exposed to by the Common Core curriculum. Certainly the SAT has adjusted and I’m sure some colleges have as well.

    I’m also not too, too concerned about gaps in knowledge, depending on how critical the gap is. We all know that kids forget an immense amount of math just over the summer and we have to often fill gaps that arise just from that. Having worked a bit in a college math department, I can also say that they are always trying to fill in gaps as well. Ultimately, what I hope any high school curriculum does is give students a good grounding in algebra, problem solving, and enough exposure to higher level topics like trig, probability, and statistics that they can handle college level pre-calculus, calculus, and prob stat courses.

  5. I have two questions I am hoping someone may know the answer to.
    Are Trig Inverses apart of the CC curriculum?

    Are graphing trig reciprocals part of the curriculum?
    Thank you to anyone who can provide some light on these two topics.

    Stephanie Bruhn

  6. Stephanie,

    I do not believe that either are technically part of the Common Core curriculum. Certainly there is no mention of the inverse trig functions as being part of the curriculum. The graphs of the reciprocal functions, though, is a harder one to pin down. I certainly haven’t seen them tested so far, but we have only three tests in New York to judge that by. According to the PARCC standards, they aren’t supposed to be part of the CC Alg II course at all, but New York state added them in their modifications to the curriculum. I believe that the study of their graphs is too much at this level given the amount of time involved in understanding their complex behavior (zeroes and vertical asymptotes specifically), so I did not include them. I hope this helps somewhat.

  7. Thank you!

  8. Are parabolas in the form (y-k)^2=4p(x-h) covered in Algebra 2 CC NYS? It is so general in the standards.

  9. Kristen,

    I agree it is very general. I would say that ones like those are definitely a possibility. I feel like a read somewhere that the directrix could be either a horizontal OR vertical line. So, if it is vertical, then obviously it would be of that form. Personally, I don’t like that formula myself, although I know it is easier for students than using the distance formula to derive the equation. Yet, to me, if we are having them memorize that formula, i.e y-k=1/(4p)(x-h)^2, then it isn’t in the “spirit” of the Common Core and really then disassociates itself from the locus definition of the parabola. But, that’s just my opinion.


  10. Unit 3 lesson 1 is about direct variation. You said direct and inverse variation isn’t covered on the regents. I understand these are important concepts as I also teach physics. However, I’d like to know if this lesson is absolutely necessary for the regents. Thanks

  11. I’d say it is not absolutely necessary.

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