In fall 2005, schools throughout Georgia began implementing a new mathematics curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), for mathematics.
These standards were developed by master classroom teachers, district and regional mathematics leaders and university faculty and were publicly discussed for several months.
The GPS in mathematics lays a foundation for a more advanced mathematics education than is currently offered to Georgia students. The changes have been strongly endorsed by faculty from the state’s major colleges and universities, including Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia.
When Georgia began its curriculum revision, it looked to those countries that had the highest student performance in mathematics. Those countries typically use a curriculum that integrates topics like algebra, geometry and statistics, making mathematics easier to understand and apply. Our new curriculum follows that same approach.
Implementation of the new mathematics GPS is being phased in over several years. Grade 6 was implemented in 2005; K-2 and 7 in 2006; and grades 3-5 and 8 in 2007. Grade 9 will begin in the fall of 2008 and implementation will finish in 2011. Extensive teacher training coincides with the implementation cycle.
As with any new effort, questions have arisen about the changes.
The most frequently asked questions about our middle and high school mathematics curriculum are included here. However, if you have additional questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-656-2800.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can students still take Advanced Placement classes?
Students are encouraged to take Advanced Placement classes. The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are designed to help prepare more students to be successful in higher-level courses, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.
How will colleges know about these new courses?
Georgia’s colleges and universities were heavily involved in the creation of our new curriculum and are aware of the new math course names and content. Additionally, colleges throughout the country are accustomed to seeing a variety of course names on student transcripts and course descriptions will be available if needed.
What about the old courses like Algebra I and Geometry?
Algebra, geometry and other math concepts are still being taught but the topics are combined in a balanced approach in the new math courses. The names of the high school courses have been changed to match the content. For example, most ninth-grade students will take "Mathematics I: Algebra I/Geometry/Statistics" or "Accelerated Mathematics I: Geometry/Algebra II/Statistics." For a complete list of courses, please visit www.GeorgiaMath.org.
How will the new mathematics courses affect testing?
Students will take a comprehensive End-of-Course Test at the end of Mathematics I or Accelerated Mathematics I and at the end of Mathematics II or Accelerated Mathematics. Students entering Georgia high schools as freshmen in 2008 will be assessed under the new GPS on the Georgia High School Graduation Test. Students taking the new mathematics courses will be well prepared for national tests like the SAT and ACT because of the more rigorous curriculum.
Written by John Oliver, associate superintendent of Bryan County Schools.