typically by counting the number of questions answered correctly and comparing scores for one individual to that for another by virtue of their relative percentile rank. So-called norm referenced scores have concerned educators for many years. Although various criticisms on norm referencing have been advanced, the central educational concern is that such information is not sufficiently helpful to improve instruction and learning and may, in fact, have counterproductive educational implications. In the classroom setting, teachers and students need to know what students understand well, what they understand less well, and what the next learning steps need to be. The relative rankings of students tested may have uses outside the classroom context, but within that context, the need is for forms of results helpful to the teaching and learning process.
Assessment programs must inform teachers and students about what the students have learned, how they learn, and how they think about mathematics.
To plan their instruction, for example, teachers should know about each student's current understanding of what will be taught. Thus, assessment programs must inform teachers and students about what the students have learned, how they learn, and how they think about mathematics. For that information to be useful to teachers, it will have to include an analysis of specific strengths and weaknesses of the student's understanding and not just scores out of context.
To be effective in instruction, assessment results need to be timely.35 Students' learning is not promoted by computer printouts sent to teachers once classes have ended for the year and the students have gone, nor by teachers who take an inordinate amount of time to grade assessments. In particular, new ways must be found to give teachers and students alike more immediate knowledge of the students' performance on assessments mandated by outside authorities so that those assessments—as well as the teacher's own assessments—can be used to improve learning. Even when the central purpose of an assessment is to determine the accomplishments of a school, state, or nation, the assessment should provide reports about their performance to the students and teachers involved. School time is precious. When students are not informed of their errors and misconceptions, let alone helped to correct them, the assessment may have both reinforced misunderstandings and wasted valuable instructional time.
When the form of assessment is unfamiliar, teachers have a particular responsibility to their students to tell them in advance
Frequently asked questions
Does the University have a recommended course sequence for mathematics? Will UC approve an integrated math sequence to satisfy the "c" subject requirement?
UC does not have a preferred math course sequence. Individual schools or districts may determine the best sequence that will enrich their students’ learning whether they choose a single-subject sequence or an integrated math sequence.
Are Geometry or Algebra 2 courses eligible to earn the UC honors designation?
Honors courses designed for 10th graders may receive the UC honors designation if the course meets the general "a-g" honors-level course criteria and the course's subject-specific honors-level criteria. In the math ("c") subject area, honors-level courses must be at the pre-calculus / mathematical analysis level or higher, and have a prerequisite of at least three years of college-preparatory mathematics to be eligible to receive the UC honors designation. This means that a Geometry or Algebra 2 course with a prerequisite of one or two years of college-preparatory math coursework is not eligible to receive the UC honors designation.
What mathematics course sequences will UC accept as satisfying the mathematics (“c”) subject 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. UC will accept variations in math transition pathways, including, but not limited to, the course sequences described below. These combinations of the single-subject pathway and the integrated pathway are not an exhaustive list, but are examples of how students may fulfill the mathematics (“c”) subject requirement:
- Algebra 1 → Geometry → Algebra 2
- Algebra 1 → Geometry → Mathematics 3
- Algebra 1 → Mathematics 1 → Mathematics 2 → Mathematics 3
- Algebra 1 → Mathematics 2 → Mathematics 3
- Geometry → Mathematics 2 → Mathematics 3
- Geometry → Mathematics 3
- Mathematics 1 → Mathematics 2 → Mathematics 3
- Mathematics 1 → Geometry → Algebra 2
- Mathematics 1 → Geometry → Mathematics 3
- Mathematics 1 → Mathematics 2 → Algebra 2
- Mathematics 1 → Mathematics 2 → Advanced Mathematics
- Mathematics 2 → Mathematics 3
Some students take Algebra 1 in eighth grade. Will this course count toward fulfilling the math requirement?
Math courses completed in the seventh and/or eighth grades with a grade of C or higher can be used to fulfill the mathematics (“c”) subject requirement. Students are not required to repeat these courses once they have entered high school. Students will list these courses in the “Seventh / Eighth Grade Course” section on the UC application. They are not required to submit a middle school transcript, however it is preferable that the courses be listed on the high school transcript.
Because the student has already satisfied one year of the three-year requirement, they are only required to complete courses in Geometry and Algebra 2 in high school. However, the University recommends students to continue with math coursework beyond the intermediate algebra level.
Can higher-level math courses validate a grade of D or F earned in a lower-level course? Can higher-level math courses validate the omission of a lower-level course?
Completion of higher-level math coursework with a grade of C or higher can validate D or F grades earned in lower-level courses or when a lower-level course is skipped*. A complete description and matrix of the math validation rules is available in UC’s Quick Reference for Counselors.
Using a higher-level math course to validate a grade of D or F earned in a lower-level course will not replace the D or F grade calculated into the UC GPA. Only if the exact course or semester in which the D or F grade earned was repeated would the repeated grade replace the original deficient grade in the UC GPA.
*Beginning with students applying to the University of California for fall 2015 admission, a yearlong Geometry course must be completed or as part of an integrated math course sequence. Higher-level math courses will continue to validate a D or F grade earned in a Geometry course, but will not validate the omission of Geometry from a student's math course sequence.
A student earned a grade of C or better in the second semester of a math course, but earned a D grade in the first semester. Can the second semester grade validate the D grade?
The math (“c”) subject area is one of two subject areas where a grade of C or better earned in the second semester of the course can validate a grade of D or F received in the first semester. This validation rule pertains to all levels of math courses, including Geometry.
Using a second-semester grade of C or better to validate a D or F grade earned in the first semester will not replace the deficient grade calculated into the UC GPA. Only if the first semester of the course is repeated would the repeated grade replace the original D or F in the UC GPA.
Does UC approve three- or four-semester long math courses?
One-year mathematics courses taken over three or four semesters are acceptable to meet the “c” requirement, but credit will be granted for only one year of coursework. All grades earned are computed into the UC GPA calculation.
When submitting these courses for "a-g" review and approval, a single submission should completed with "Two Years" selected as the course length.