Math lane bridge program presents benefits for students of all skill levels

Elisa Moraes Liu , News Editor

Starting in freshman year, students are given a certain math-course pathway to follow for the rest of their high school careers. This pathway, however, mightnot be the right fit for every student. Different factorsmight contribute to a student’s desire for a challenge or further exploration of a subject. Skipping math lanes allows students to academically challenge themselves by learning at a pace that suits them while giving them academic freedom to explore their passions.

I began high school in Algebra 1. Since I had spent middle school in Brazil, I was placed into the lower math lane upon my arrival. The summer after freshman year, I took the Geometry Advanced summerbridge at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD)summer school, which allowed me to move into Algebra 2/Trigonometry Advanced during my sophomore year. I decided to take this course in order to challenge myself and end up with calculus during my senior year. Several other students in this class had decided to take the class for similar reasons. We hoped to challenge ourselves to a faster-paced math course than the one we had experienced in the previous years.

At the high school level, students are offered a variety of pathways to advance their math standing. Oneway is to skip Algebra 2/Trigonometry since the knowledge of the subject can be reinforced in future courses, such as calculus. Students are not able to skip geometry since it is a graduation requirement. Another way in which students can skip courses is through a summer bridge program through PAUSD, which is what I completed. Students can also simultaneously enroll in Intro to Calculus and Analysis and AP Calculus during their senior year. While there are a variety of options, only a handful of students chose to skip each year.

The variety of pathways allows students to make the most of their education and figure out what works for them. Since math lanes are created early on during middle school, many students have not figured out if they are passionate about the subject yet. If they decide they are interested in math, and had chosen a lower lane during seventh grade, they should be given the opportunity to advance.

Reducing the opportunity to skip math courses prevents students from pursuing what they are passionate about. If a student wants to study math in college, complete calculus, or complete a math elective such as AP Statistics earlier in their high school career, advanced math lanes allow them to do so.

High school serves to help prepare students for college. It is important that students have academicfreedom and flexibility to pursue what they are passionate about. Students who wish to advance their math skills should be able to do so. Schools should not be the ones dictating what is too much pressure for a student, and students should be given independence and trust to balance their own course load.