Integrated Math Pathway FAQ

1) Will my student be affected by the transition to the new Math Pathway?

IUSD will transition to the integrated pathway at the secondary level gradually beginning with the first integrated course, Math I, in the 2015-2016 school year. Students who have successfully completed Geometry by the end of the 2015-2016 school year will continue on the traditional pathway through graduation and will not be affected by the new pathway. Students who are entering middle school will enter the integrated pathway after completing Math 7 and Math 8 beginning with Math I (typically a ninth grade course). Middle school students will also have increased acceleration opportunities through an additional enhanced course. Elementary students in Kindergarten through grade 6 will continue with their current math program and will eventually access the integrated pathway as they move to high school. Please use the interactive chart located on to determine what class your child will take next year.


Integrated Math

2) What is Integrated Math?

Integrated mathematics is the term used in the United States to describe the style of mathematics education which integrates many topics or strands of mathematics throughout each year of secondary school. Each math course in secondary school covers topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and statistics.


The integrated pathway is typically seen internationally and consists of a sequence of three model courses, each of which includes algebra, geometry, trigonometry and statistics standards. This integration allows students to build proficiency and see connections and interrelationships between each domain, each year. Students enrolled in the integrated pathway arrive at the same point by the end of their third year of higher mathematics instruction as students enrolled in a traditional pathway. Both pathways cover the exact same Common Core standards as you can see from this chart showing where the standards are located within each course for both the traditional and integrated pathways:


3) Why did IUSD select the Integrated Math Pathway?

Our decision to adopt an Integrated Mathematics Pathway reflects our commitment to offering students the highest quality mathematics program we can envision. The opportunity imbedded in an Integrated Mathematics Pathway to focus on developing conceptual understanding and to help students see how the disciplines of mathematics are intertwined resonated deeply with our committee. Knowing the countries that consistently outperform the United States have long embraced Integrated Mathematics and that the new Smarter Balanced Assessments are integrated exams also informed our decision making. The knowledge that our existing middle school programs already use an integrated approach and thus, our high school programs would become a more natural extension of these programs, provided additional rationale for selecting this pathway. The redesign of the College Board SAT Math Test (administered in 2016) also requires linking topics within the mathematics domains and across disciplines. 


4) How did IUSD make the decision to move to an Integrated Math Pathway?

Beginning in October 2014, IUSD convened our Math Pathways Committee, a multi-stakeholder group, consisting of high school and middle school mathematics teachers, parents, university professors and admissions officers along with county curriculum specialists and administrators. Their charge was to develop a comprehensive picture of math instruction in Irvine, to cultivate a clear understanding of our collective interests related to math instruction, and to identify the options for math pathways that will effectively achieve those interests. This seventy-person committee met for thirty-five hours over a series of months and engaged in substantive discussion regarding how the pathways should be redesigned to meet student interests. Our IUSD Mathematics Leadership Team, a group comprised of department chairs and teachers from every secondary school in the district, built on the work of the larger committee, carefully researching, reviewing and refining the three proposed pathways and ultimately selecting our Integrated Mathematics Pathway in late February 2015.


5) What is the timeline for implementation of the Integrated Math Pathway?

Beginning at the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the Enhanced Math 7/8 and the MS Enhanced Math I courses are offered at all middle schools and integrated Math I is offered at all high schools. Teachers and TOSAs will develop the remaining integrated math courses. Math II and Enhanced Math II will be developed in the 2015-2016 school year for implementation in the 2016-2017 school year. Math III and Enhanced Math III course development will be completed during the 2016-2017 school year for implementation in the 2017-2018 school year.


6) Will high schools offer courses on both the traditional and integrated pathway?

Yes and no. As we transition to the integrated pathway, we will have both integrated and traditional courses in our high schools. We have students who are currently enrolled in Geometry. Upon successful completion of Geometry, these students will continue on the traditional pathway through graduation. However, as we phase in the integrated courses, the corresponding traditional course will be phased out as there will no longer be students who need them. For instance, secondary schools no longer offer Algebra 1 and instead offer Math I. In the 2016-2017 school year Geometry will be replaced by Math II, and in the 2017-2018 school year Algebra 2 will be replaced by Math III.


7) Why are so many districts and/or states moving towards Integrated Math?

With the inclusion of the integrated-math approach in the new state standards, many districts and states are choosing to make the move at this time in recognition that integrated math reflects the new standards’ emphasis on building conceptual understanding and making connections.

For a more complete answer, follow the link below to an article from Education Week, November 2014.  "In Transition to Common Core, Some High Schools Turn to Integrated Math" As of spring 2015, of the top 20 high schools in California as ranked by US News and World Report: 9 of them have moved to an integrated model (45%), 10 of them are using a traditional model (50%) and 1 of the schools (5%) is offering both traditional and integrated pathways through an International Baccalaureate program.


8) What are the differences between 'Traditional' Math (Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2) and Integrated Math (Math I, Math II, and Math III)?

Both 'Traditional' Math and Integrated Math cover the exact same Common Core State Standards. As such, they represent an equal pathway to higher mathematics, including AP Calculus. Integrated mathematics courses incorporate concepts and standards from traditional Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Statistics, revisiting the concepts and standards every year. The organization and repetition of these concepts over multiple years allows students to increase proficiency and recognize the natural interconnectedness of mathematics and its real-world applications. 


This question is answered more fully and thoughtfully in this article from the Indiana Department of Education. "High School Mathematics Pathways: Helping Schools and Districts Make an Informed Decision about High School Mathematics." 


9) Will public and private universities accept integrated math courses?

Yes. The University of California states that "although many schools may follow the traditional Algebra 1 – Geometry – Algebra 2 format, other sequences may treat these topics in an integrated fashion. Combinations of some integrated courses, algebra, geometry and other courses that integrate the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice for high school, including courses that rigorously apply these standards in the development of career-related skills, can also satisfy the ‘C – Mathematics’ subject requirement.”  


10) Where can I find a course description of each integrated math course?

Please visit our Secondary Math Pathway webpage at and use the link to our Course Description page. Alternatively, you may also use the interactive placement buttons and simply click on each course to view the description.  


11) Will Math I meet the high school Algebra 1 requirement for high school graduation?

Yes. “Assembly Bill 220 updates the California Education Code by removing an outdated reference to the 1997 mathematic standards, and specifies that completion of Mathematics I would satisfy the high school graduation requirement so that pupils, regardless of what mathematics pathway school district choose to follow, are able to meet the high school mathematics graduation requirements.” (Press Release, 03 February 2015) 


12) The UC system requires students to complete Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2. How will integrated math meet this requirement?

With the implementation of Common Core statewide, UC recognizes the significant curriculum changes being made as high schools develop mathematics transition pathways to meet school- and district-based needs. Upon completion of Math I, Math II and Math III, students will have fully met the mathematics (“C”) subject requirement for the UC system.


13) Will Math II suffice for the UC requirement of a yearlong Geometry course?

Yes. Beginning with students applying to the University of California for fall 2015 admission, a yearlong Geometry course must be completed or a part of an integrated math course sequence (Math II) must be completed.


14) Will SpringBoard be used for Integrated Math?

Middle School: Yes, the majority of our middle school students will continue to use the current textbooks. The content and the materials used to teach Math 7 and Math 8 will remain the same. These courses, similar to math classes in Kindergarten through Grade 6, have always been integrated. Enhanced Math 7/8 will also use the SpringBoard materials. Students enrolled in Enhanced Math 7/8 will primarily use the SpringBoard Course textbook and will use supplemental resources to cover the additional content. The Enhanced Math I course utilizes an integrated Math I textbook, Integrated Mathematics, and will use supplemental resources to embed 8th grade standards.


High School: The Irvine HS, Portola HS, University HS, and Woodbridge HS Math I, II, and III courses will utilize Integrated Mathematics by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, along with supplemental resources. Northwood HS and Creekside HS will utilize Core Connections by CPM, along with supplemental resources.

Acceleration and Remediation

15) When can my child accelerate in math?

There are multiple acceleration decision points located throughout the secondary math pathway. The first acceleration decision point is at the end of 6th grade and the criteria for acceleration is based on multiple measures including an end of the course assessment, current grade in class, teacher appraisal of student readiness and a basic skills test. The end of course math assessment is based on 6th grade common core state standards. Students’ performance in the Standards for Mathematical Practice (how students engage in learning math, reasoning, persevering, etc.) and work habits are considered in the teacher appraisal of student readiness. In addition, there are acceleration decision points at the end of 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade.


16) What do the Enhanced classes represent?

The enhanced math courses offer an opportunity to accelerate along the pathway by compacting standards across courses. The middle school enhanced math courses take the content standards from Math 7, Math 8, and Math I and redistribute them across two years. The enhanced math courses in high school redistribute the standards normally taken in Math II, Math III, and Precalculus across two years. 


17) How much overlap will there be between MS Math 8 and MS Enhanced Math I?

MS Enhanced Math I will be teaching all of the Math I standards and will embed a portion of 8th grade standards in such areas as solving systems of linear equations and inequalities, understanding and comparing functions, and understanding linear models in statistics. These standards are introduced in 8th grade and in Math I students are expected to gain a richer and deeper understanding of those same topics. Students in Enhanced Math I use a different Math I textbook to allow for an in-depth understanding of topics. Of the 11 major focus areas in Math I, 3 of them will be supplemented with 8th grade standards or, in other words, approximately 20% of the content will have a natural overlap.  


18) What are the bridge classes shown on the pathway (blue arrow with the word bridge)?

The bridge courses represent an opportunity for students to accelerate and move to a different track on the pathway by means of taking a summer school or online blended learning course. For example, the MS Bridge course in middle school would cover the content that students completing Math 7 would have missed by not being enrolled in Enhanced Math 7/8. The MS Bridge course will include the 8th grade standards from Enhanced Math 7/8 that were not covered in the Math 7 course. Similarly, the HS Bridge course in high school will cover the content that a student would need to master in order to advance to an enhanced class. The HS Bridge course will be offered beginning in summer 2017, as student can potentially accelerate from Math II to Enhanced Math III.


The MS Bridge course will be offered to all eligible students who have met the criteria for acceleration following completion of the Math 7 course. The MS Bridge course will be offered in a blended learning format with online content and “in person” sessions, and will also be offered as a standard summer school course. The MS Bridge course will be offered from 6/13/16-7/8/16. 


19) Which math courses in high school will have the “honors point” for weighted grade point average?

The University of California system has recently altered the criteria for weighted grade point average. If honors points were awarded in the area of math on a commensurate level to other subject areas, the same level of courses would be awarded the honors points. In the new pathway, this would mean that Enhanced Math III (Honors) and AP math courses (equivalent to our current Honors Precalculus and AP courses) would receive the weighted grade point average.


20) What remediation is available for my child who may have “gaps” in their instruction during this transition?

Students progressing through the math pathway will proceed without “gaps” of instruction. Summer remediation will be available for students that have not demonstrated proficiency during the school year. Summer courses are offered to students that did not successfully complete a math course in the 2015-2016 school year.


21) Will students be able to slow down if they start to struggle with math in high school?

Yes. The advantage of the new pathway is that it allows students to flex between pathways (target, support and accelerated) based on a student’s unique needs. Additionally, the integrated math sequence allows increased remediation and acceleration because the standards are revisited annually.


22) Where can I find out more information about the multiple criteria used to place students in the math pathway?

Our district website has resources and information regarding the placement process for elementary and middle school students. Please visit and scroll down to the section title Placement Within the Math Pathways for additional information and resources.


23) How are students placed in the pathway when they come from an international or private school setting?

It is recommended that transfer students entering IUSD during the summer take part in the summer math testing opportunities available. Along with the student transcript, the data on student content knowledge will be used to determine student placement.


For students that enter our district from other states and countries throughout the year, we will continue the same process to place these incoming students that we always have. Student transcripts are viewed by counselors and/or department chairs to make an appropriate placement. If there is uncertainty as to the proper placement, assessments are administered to gather further evidence for appropriate placement. Once placed, changes can be made as needed to adjust initial placement based on student performance. * Please note: Summer School is only available to students enrolled in IUSD for spring 2016.


24) How will parents be notified about which course their student is eligible to take next year?

For sixth grade students, the end of course assessment and the basic skills test will be administered by the classroom teacher during two regular class periods by the end of April. These assessments will be scored in a centralized location by a committee of teachers who have completed training in a uniform grading process.


For seventh and eighth grade students enrolled in Math 7, Enhanced Math 7/8, Math 8, or Enhanced Math I, the end of course assessment will be administered by the classroom teacher during a regular class period at the end of April/early May.

Once the assessments have been completed, teachers will notify parents via a letter of the recommended placement by the end of May for the next school year. Parents who wish to appeal the placement (and/or accelerate further than the assigned placement) will initiate the Appeal Process by contacting their current site principal.


25) My child is currently doing higher grade level standards in 6th grade (i.e. tutoring program, APAAS, exposure to 7th grade standards, etc.). Can he/she skip to MS Enhanced Math I to start 7th grade?

To ensure the highest possibility of success, all students must demonstrate mastery of prerequisite standards before acceleration. Students in sixth grade who may have had exposure to higher grade level standards will still need to meet 3 of 4 criteria for acceleration. If students meet 3 of 4 of the multiple criteria for acceleration at the end of sixth grade, they will be placed in the Enhanced Math 7/8 course. The Enhanced Math 7/8 course represents a significant acceleration for students and will include rigorous, fast paced instruction that covers 1.5 years of mathematical standards. We recommend that all students who meet the criteria for acceleration remain in this course.


However, students who require further acceleration will need to demonstrate mastery of the standards contained within MS Math 7. Parents may use the Appeal Process by contacting your current site principal during the appeal initiation window listed on the placement letter. If the appeal is granted and your child scores 85% or better on the End of Course Math 7 exam, he/she will be eligible to take the MS Bridge course. Successful completion of the MS Bridge course with 2 out of 3 of the multiple criteria (grade of B or better, score of 85% or above on the end of course exam, and teacher appraisal of student readiness) will lead to recommended enrollment in Enhanced Math I.


26) What if my child does not meet the placement criteria for acceleration in 7th grade, but I believe that this is not an accurate representation of his/her ability?

Taking Enhanced Math 7/8 in the 7th grade is highly challenging and should only be attempted by clearly qualified students who are developmentally ready for this acceleration. Students who do not meet the placement criteria for acceleration at this time are advised to take MS Math 7 in grade 7 which is the course recommended by the California Department of Education in the California Mathematics Framework. Taking MS Math 7 in 7th grade may still lead to AP Calculus as a 12th grader with multiple opportunities to accelerate in 8th, 9th or 10th grade.


Parents and teachers who feel that the multiple criteria used for placement is not an accurate representation of a student’s readiness to accelerate, may access the Appeal Process by contacting their current principal. The school team, including parents, will re-examine the placement data and consider other evidence from classroom records that may give additional information about readiness for acceleration. If the appeal is granted, the placement in the higher course is conditional based on grades. Students who do not earn a grade of B or better at the first grading period will need to be reassigned to the recommended course.  


27) Can I get a practice test or see a sample of the End of Course assessments used for placement?

The end of course assessments for every course are designed to assess mastery of the mathematical standards taught within that course. Additional practice should not be required to demonstrate mastery of grade level standards for those students who are ready for acceleration. For parents or students who wish to become more familiar with common core test questions that assess critical thinking skills and conceptual understanding, there are resources available on our IUSD website. Follow the link provided below and click on "Student Interface Practice and Training Tests".

General Questions

28) Will every school site in IUSD be able to offer the same type of courses (K8 sites, year rounds, lower enrollment sites, etc.)?

Yes. Our district is prepared to staff as needed to ensure that there is equity across the district for all course offerings.  


29) What support is in place for the teachers to become proficient in teaching integrated math and enhanced courses?

IUSD secondary teachers are highly qualified to teach all levels of math and most currently teach multiple courses. In 2015 our teachers began developing course content and assessments for the new math integrated and enhanced courses. Professional development targeted toward effective support within the compacted enhanced courses, instructional strategies to support accelerated learners and integrated content will take place in all subject levels to help teacher stay abreast of the most effective teaching strategies. We have always offered honors courses within IUSD and these enhanced courses will be taught with great depth and rigor to best meet the needs of the student population.


30) Will the materials and teacher training be ready for the K8 year round sites?

Middle schools will continue to use their current textbooks for Math 7 and Math 8 as these courses have not changed with the transition to the new pathway. The MS Enhanced Math 7/8 course will also utilize a combination of our current textbooks. Curricular leads and our secondary math teachers have developed the MS Bridge course and have selected integrated textbooks for Math I, II, and III. The MS Bridge course and Enhanced Math I were developed for the 2015-2016 school year. It is our highest priority to have materials in place and teacher training completed before year-round schools begin instruction.


31) Currently, a student’s math course may limit the science course that they are eligible to take based on course prerequisites. Will math and science prerequisites be uncoupled across the district? How will these new pathways affect science courses?

As part of the process to develop our new pathway, the committee also closely examined the relationship between math and science prerequisites. Although competencies in math and science are often linked, in an effort to eliminate barriers to higher level coursework, our high schools have now uncoupled math and science prerequisites in ninth grade. Enrollment in Honors Biology is no longer tied to enrollment in a specific math course. We continue to examine the relationship between science and math prerequisites within higher level coursework to ensure that any prerequisites are closely aligned to the competencies required for the course.


In terms of math and science instructional content, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for science teachers to teach the math required in the science context in which they need it. Similarly, math teachers will use statistics and functions to look at modeling science phenomena. Science and math will still be closely linked, although particular math course content may not be required in order for placement into a science course. For example, Physics and Calculus are closely related, but Calculus is not a prerequisite for taking Physics.


32) What are the middle school summer school dates for 2016?

The middle school summer school classes are four weeks long, from June 13, 2016-July 8, 2016.