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Updated Jul 29, 2012 - 12:08 pm

Arizona's new math requirement causes anxiety

PHOENIX (AP) A new requirement that high school students in Arizona will need an extra year of math to graduate is causing anxiety among some students.

The Arizona Republic reports that beginning with the Class of 2013, students will need four years of math to graduate, up from three years.

The increased requirements are part of a state and national push by education advocates to better prepare students for college and the workforce.

The belief is that students need more rigorous math to help them solve increasingly complex problems in a technological world. Math sharpens analytical skills and helps people navigate everyday life, educators say.

Last school year, 13 states required four years of math. For the 2012-13 school year, five more states, including Arizona, will have similar requirements, according to the Education Commission of the States, a group that tracks state policy trends.

To get ready for the four-years-of-math requirement, many high schools are already offering tutoring and special classes. A growing number of students are taking two hours of math a day. Others are taking math in summer school.

The math classes that are required for the Class of 2013 and beyond vary depending on the school district or charter school, but in Arizona they generally include Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II and a year that includes "significant math." The state doesn't define that, but schools are interpreting it to mean subjects such as pre-calculus, financial algebra, trigonometry and statistics.

Arizona, like other states, phased in the requirements so students knew in their freshman year that they would need more years of math to graduate.

Following a statewide push supported by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano and her education council, the Arizona State Board of Education voted in 2007 to increase math graduation requirements from two to three credits for the Class of 2012.

Requirements for the Class of 2013 were boosted further, raising math to four credits and science to three credits, from two. Overall, the Class of 2013 needs a minimum of 22 credits for a high-school diploma, up from 20 this past year.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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