K-12 approves new math competency requirements

The Utah State Board of Education approved new requirements for secondary math in relation to math competency legislation passed during the 2015 legislative session (SB196, Sen. Millner). The bill requires the Board of Regents to develop ways for students to earn college credit as they fulfill math requirements in high school, including expansion of concurrent enrollment opportunities.The bill designates several pathways for high school students to demonstrate math competency before graduation. Students who plan to attend college are required to demonstrate math competency at a college-entry level.

This legislation requires the State Board of Regents, in consultation with the State Board of Education, to determine qualifying scores for a number of measures of mathematics competency (e.g., Advanced Placement scores). The Board of Regents, at the May 2015 meeting, authorized the Commissioner to convey the recommended qualifying scores on behalf of the Board to meet the compressed timeline of the legislation. With the support and expertise of the Chairs of the Mathematics Departments in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), scores were recommended by the Commissioner and approved by the State Board of Education.

Qualifying Scores

For high school students to fulfill a Quantitative Literacy (QL) requirement at USHE institutions along with the awarding of college credit:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB – 3 or higher
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus BC – 3 or higher
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics – 3 or higher
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Math Exam – 5 or higher
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) Pre-calculus Exam – 50 or higher
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) Calculus Exam – 50 or higher
  • American College Test (ACT) – 26 or higher for the Mathematics Test

SB196 also called for a qualifying score to be set for the ACCUPLACER College-level Math test or an equivalent.  Since the ACCUPLACER is designed as a placement test and not an achievement test, it was determined the equivalent test should be the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).  The following qualifying score was set for the SAT:

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) – 640 or higher for the Mathematics Subscore

Concurrent Enrollment

High school students may achieve the math competency requirements through concurrent enrollment courses available through USHE institutions. Students must earn a “C” grade in a concurrent enrollment mathematics course that satisfies a state system of higher education QL requirement.

Special Circumstances

The legislation also allows special circumstances for high schools seniors. The State Board of Education, at the recommendation of the State Superintendent, approved a requirement that senior students with special circumstances must take a full year math course during the senior year.

As noted many times previously by the Board of Regents, high school math is a critical part of the right preparation for college. A strength of this legislation is requiring consultation between the State Board of Education and the State Board of Regents. Commissioner Buhler, along with several Math Department Chairs, presented the regulations to the State Board of Education. The Board took quick action by passing the new rule on second and third reading for final approval by the Board.

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director