## Quick Answer

In Florida, high school students are required to earn 4 math credits in order to graduate. This includes 1 credit of Algebra 1, 1 credit of Geometry, and 2 additional math credits. Most students earn the additional 2 credits by taking Algebra 2 and an additional math course like Statistics, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, or Calculus. However, there are some alternative math options that can fulfill those last 2 credits as well.

## Overview of Florida’s Math Requirements

Florida has rigorous high school graduation requirements that aim to prepare students for college and careers after graduation. In order to earn a standard high school diploma in Florida, students must complete the following math course requirements:

- 1 credit in Algebra 1
- 1 credit in Geometry
- 2 additional math credits

This totals 4 math credits that must be earned in order to graduate. The state provides some flexibility in which math courses students can take to fulfill those last 2 credits, but most pursue the traditional pathway of Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and an additional course beyond Algebra 2.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these requirements:

### Algebra 1 Requirement

Florida requires all high school students to take and pass Algebra 1. This provides students with a foundation in working with variables, linear equations, polynomials, factoring, quadratic equations, radical expressions, graphing, and more. Algebra 1 introduces students to many algebraic concepts they will build upon in later math and science courses.

Mastering Algebra 1 is crucial not only for high school graduation, but for success on college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT as well as placement tests for college math courses.

### Geometry Requirement

After passing Algebra 1, Florida students must earn 1 credit in Geometry. This course builds upon algebraic concepts and introduces students to formal logic and proofs, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, trigonometric ratios, area, surface area, and volume.

Geometry allows students to develop spatial reasoning skills and apply algebraic concepts to shapes and figures. The course provides important preparation for fields involving engineering, architecture, physics, and many other STEM disciplines.

### 2 Additional Math Credits

Beyond Algebra 1 and Geometry, Florida requires 2 more math credits to graduate. These are typically earned by taking Algebra 2 and an additional math course.

Algebra 2 extends students’ algebraic knowledge into new topics like matrices, complex numbers, exponential and logarithmic functions, statistics and probability, and trigonometric functions. This course prepares students for advanced math at the college level.

The 4th math credit is often earned through courses like:

- Pre-Calculus – Covers advanced algebraic concepts, trigonometry, vectors, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and beginning calculus topics.
- Calculus – Studying limits, derivatives, integrals, and real-world applications of calculus.
- AP Statistics – An advanced statistics course focused on data analysis, statistical reasoning, probability, and making conclusions from data.
- Trigonometry – Focuses extensively on trigonometric functions and identities and their applications.
- Math for College Readiness – Reinforces algebra, geometry, statistics, and discrete math skills to prepare students for college-level math.

However, Florida does provide some alternative course options that can count as the 4th math credit, which will be explored later.

Overall, the typical progression of Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and an advanced math course provides the academic foundation students need for college admission and success in many STEM majors and careers. Florida aims to make sure all graduates have these essential skills.

## Alternative 4th Math Credit Options

While Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 are firm requirements in Florida, the state does allow some flexibility with the 4th required math course. If students are struggling in advanced math, there are alternative options to fulfill that last credit, such as:

### Math for College Liberal Arts

This course aims to reinforce essential algebra, geometry, and statistics skills needed for success in a variety of college majors in liberal arts, fine arts, and humanities. The focus is on mathematical reasoning and real-world problem solving rather than advanced math theories.

### Math for Data & Financial Literacy

Covers mathematical and statistical concepts relevant to data analysis, probability, finances, and economics. Students learn budgeting, banking, investing, taxes, loans, and making smart financial decisions.

### Industry Certification Math Courses

Florida allows students to take math courses focused on earning specific industry certifications related to their career interests, such as courses resulting in certifications like:

- Accounting Application
- Adobe Certified Associate – Visual Design
- AutoCAD
- Certified Guest Service Professional
- Certified Internet Web Professional
- Microsoft Office Specialist
- And many more

### Dual Enrollment Math

Students can earn their 4th math credit by taking a credit-bearing math course through a dual enrollment program at a local college, university, or technical center. This allows them to simultaneously earn high school and college credits.

### Computer Programming

Florida allows certain computer programming courses to count as a math credit if they include mathematical concepts and problem solving. This includes courses such as Java, Python, C++, Ruby, or MongoDB.

So while Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 are fixed requirements, Florida’s alternative options for the 4th credit allow some flexibility based on students’ abilities and college/career goals.

## Can Students Complete Math Requirements Early?

Florida allows students who excel in math the opportunity to complete some of their math requirements early in high school or even in middle school. This includes:

**Algebra 1 in Middle School**– Students can take Algebra 1 in 7th or 8th grade for high school credit if they score at least Level 3 on the 7th grade statewide assessment.**Geometry in Middle School**– If students pass Algebra 1 in middle school, they can take Geometry in 8th grade for credit.**Algebra 2 in 9th Grade**– Students who have passed Algebra 1 and Geometry can take Algebra 2 in 9th grade.

Completing these courses early allows students to take higher-level math like Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and AP Statistics in grades 10-12 rather than the standard math sequence. This also opens up room in their schedule to pursue additional electives.

However, students who complete Algebra 1 before high school still have to earn the full 4 math credits in high school through higher math courses. Early completion of foundational courses does not reduce the overall 4-credit math requirement.

## Can Students Opt Out of Algebra 2?

Florida does not allow students to opt out of Algebra 2. All students are required to take Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 to graduate high school, unless they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that specifies otherwise.

The state views Algebra 2 as critically important preparation for college and career readiness. It expands on algebraic concepts students need not only for advanced math courses, but for high scores on college admissions/placement exams and success in many STEM majors.

Students cannot earn a standard high school diploma without the foundational knowledge gained in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. While Florida offers some flexibility with the 4th math credit, Algebra 2 remains a firm requirement.

## Acceleration Mechanisms

Florida offers several mechanisms for accelerating students through required math coursework if they demonstrate high ability in math:

### Whole Grade Acceleration

Allows a student to skip an entire grade level, so they take courses above their current grade level. For math, this means a student could take Algebra 1 while still in middle school or Geometry in 9th grade.

### Subject Matter Acceleration

Allows students who achieve certain scores on statewide assessments to take certain courses – like Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 – before their cohort or peer group.

### Virtual School

Students can take virtual courses through Florida Virtual School to access accelerated sequences or advanced math classes not offered at their school.

### Dual Enrollment

Taking college-level math courses through dual enrollment that simultaneously count for high school graduation requirements.

### AP Courses

Taking advanced math courses through the Advanced Placement program, potentially leading to college credit through AP exam scores.

### Credit Acceleration Program

Allows students who are ready for Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 to earn credit by passing an end-of-course exam, without having to take the full course.

These options allow Florida students ready for the challenge of advanced math to accelerate their learning.

## Math Requirements for Students with Disabilities

Florida makes accommodations for students with disabilities regarding math requirements based on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Possible accommodations include:

- Allowing extra time on math tests and assignments
- Using a calculator or math manipulatives
- Reducing the number of math problems assigned
- Using simplified math problems geared to ability level
- Having test questions and math problems read aloud
- Completing fewer math credits than the 4 required
- Using alternate math courses aligned to access points that lead to a standard diploma

Additionally, students with significant cognitive disabilities pursuing a standard diploma can have the Algebra 1 EOC assessment requirement waived by their IEP team.

While students with disabilities must be provided needed accommodations and modifications, the goal remains for them to learn essential grade-level math skills and concepts to the greatest extent possible.

## Conclusion

In summary, earning 4 math credits including Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 is essential for graduating high school in Florida with a standard diploma. While some flexibility exists around the 4th credit, the state maintains high expectations to prepare all students for college and careers. Advanced students can seek mechanisms for acceleration, while students with disabilities can receive accommodations based on their IEPs. Overall, Florida aims to provide both rigor and support to ensure all students gain the math competencies needed for success after high school.