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Course Progressions

Enrollment/Course Progression FAQ

Middle and High School Math Enrollment

Students are enrolled in the next math course in sequence based on the student’s current year math course. Refer to the sequence of math courses below.

Grade 5 Math

Math 6

Math 7

Math 8

Algebra 1

Geometry*

Algebra 2

Precalculus

For students entering the 6th grade, their math course enrollment will be determined by the math course they were enrolled in 5th grade (according to the Source).  Fifth grade students at neighborhood schools will be learning Math 5. They will be enrolled in Math 6 in 6th grade.

Note: SPS does not endorse the practice of skipping ahead in elementary mathematics; instead SPS endorses all children having the opportunity to be challenged to grow their mathematics learning at their grade level.  With the exception of Highly Capable Cohort pathway schools, all fifth-grade students are expected to be enrolled in Math 5 for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

Examples of math progressions starting in middle school, which include opportunities for one year of acceleration.

Additional information about middle school course course alignment.

Students entering 9th grade will self-enroll for their high school courses online through the Source.  The registration process occurs in the spring of 8th grade. Students will enroll in their next course in sequence.  Students who transfer from another school district should be enrolled in the appropriate next course in sequence based on their educational records and current SPS course progressions.  For clarification or consultation, please check with a School Counseling Specialist in the College and Career Readiness department.

*Courses after Geometry will vary according to a student’s high school and beyond plan. 

No. Seattle Public Schools enrolls students in their next math course in sequence.  Teachers do NOT make recommendations for math course enrollment.

No. Seattle Public Schools does not have normed and vetted standards-based assessments for students to take to be placed into a math class.

No. Tutoring and indepentent study is not equivalent to taking a school-based course.

If a student is in middle school – No. Online coursework is not considered equivalent to completing a school-based course.

If a student is in high school – School Board Policy 2024 and Superintendent Procedure 2024SP outlines a process for students interested in taking online courses for credit.  Any online courses must be pre-approved by the principal of the school you are enrolled in.  In general, approval is reserved for coursework that is not offered at the school building. 

Eligibility to enroll into a SPS math course is determined by the prerequisites that have been met and are documented on the student’s transcript.

Students are enrolled in their next math course in sequence rather than being placed into courses based on individual requests.

In addition to after school help and/or volunteer tutor support, many schools offer a second period of math. 

At middle school, all students will be enrolled in a core math class and some students may also be enrolled in a second period of math which could be “Math Empowerment.”  The course will provide supplemental instruction in math content to support student success in the core math class.

At high school, all students will be enrolled in a core math class and some students may also choose to enroll in a second period of math.  This support course is aligned to the core math content and corresponds in name.  For example, students could be enrolled in Algebra 1 and Algebra 1 Lab.  Math-lab courses are considered elective courses and count towards elective credit.  Not all high schools offer Math-lab courses.

Schools will review student data to identify potential candidates for extra support.  The data could include Smarter Balanced Math scores, course grades, and information provided by your student’s current school. 

Rising 7th and 8th graders may also be identified by their current year math teacher for support.

Rising 9th graders will enroll for their high school courses online through the Source in the spring of their 8th grade year.  Eighth grade math teachers will inform students to enroll in the next course in sequence.  For rising 9th graders enrolling in Algebra 1, a student could be advised to also register for Algebra 1 Lab in addition to an Algebra 1 course.  Teachers may provide this advice based on a student’s Smarter Balanced Math score and/or course performance.  Students and families can decide if registering for a Math-lab course will align to their high school and beyond plan. 

Families that want to provide math instruction from home can officially enroll their student in home-based instruction.  Families who provide home-based instruction must meet the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) guidelines.  Families would notify SPS Enrollment Services of their intention and provide official home-based instruction records for home school courses using the Declaration of Intent form. 

For additional questions about home-based instruction requirements, families should contact OSPI and/or SPS Enrollment Services

If your student is transferring to SPS, please speak with the intaking school principal and counselor for more informing regarding the transfer process.


High School Math Course Progressions

Students take Algebra 1 and Geometry before personalizing their math course progression.  Students are required to have at least 3 high school math credits to graduate.  The third credit should align to your student’s high school and beyond plan.  Families and students can use the following documents as reference while making course decisions:

High school students enter the pathway at the next course in sequence.  For example, a student who has been accelerated one year and has completed Algebra 1 as an 8th grader, can enroll in Geometry as a 9th grader.  Students can then choose subsequent math courses based on their high school and beyond plan. 

After completing Algebra 2, students are eligible to take AP Statistics.  Students do NOT need to be accelerated or skip math courses to reach this class by their senior year.  Students can take this sequence of high school math courses:

  • 9th Grade Algebra 1
  • 10th Grade Geometry
  • 11th Grade Algebra 2
  • 12th Grade AP Statistics

Students who want to enroll in either AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC will need one year of acceleration in math.  This acceleration can occur at middle school (by enrolling in Math 7/8 Compacted during 7th grade or doubling up Math 8 and Algebra 1 in the 8th grade) or high school.  Here is one example of a student’s math course progression who starts high school in Algebra 1:

  • 9th Grade Algebra 1 and Geometry
  • 10th Grade Algebra 2
  • 11th Grade Honors Precalculus
  • 12th Grade AP Calculus BC

Check with each school for specific AP math courses and progression options. Visit the Advanced Level and Alternative courses page for additional information.

After completing Geometry, students are eligible to enroll in IB Math Standard Level (IB Math SL) courses.  Students do NOT need to be accelerated or skip math courses to reach this class.  Students can take this sequence of high school math courses:

  • 9th Grade Algebra 1
  • 10th Grade Geometry
  • 11th Grade IB Math SL A/B
  • 12th Grade IB Math SL C/D

Students who want to enroll in IB Math Higher Level (IB Math HL) courses will need one year of acceleration in math.  This acceleration can occur at middle school (by enrolling in Math 7/8 Compacted during 7th grade or doubling up Math 8 and Algebra 1 in the 8th grade) or high school.  Here is one example of a student’s math course progression who starts high school in Algebra 1:

  • 9th Grade Algebra 1 and Geometry
  • 10th Grade IB Math SL A/B
  • 11th Grade IB Math HL A/B
  • 12th Grade IB Math HL C/D

International Baccalaureate Diploma programs are only offered at three Seattle high schools, Chief Sealth International: Rainier Beach, and Ingraham. Check with each school for specific IB math courses and progression options. Visit the Advanced Level and Alternative courses page for additional information.

Students can take mathematics courses through Running Start in 11th or 12th grade.  Eligibility to enroll in math courses will follow each college’s criteria and may include a placement test, review of SAT, ACT, or Smarter Balanced scores, or review of Seattle Public Schools transcript.  Students should contact their school counselor in order to officially enroll in the Running Start program.

Students can earn mathematics credit by enrolling in a College in the High School math course.  Seattle Public Schools’ College in the High School math courses follow Edmonds College course requirements and prerequisites. Students enrolled in College in the High School math courses can earn high school and college credit concurrently. Check College in the High School course availability for each high school at the Advanced Level and Alternative courses page.