Overall, math teachers must attempt to achieve a variety of different objectives. These objectives have included teaching basic numeric reasoning skills, as well as the teaching of practical math and abstract mathematics concepts. Unbeknownst to many, there are currently no national standards for teaching mathematics in the United States. From kindergarten through high school, the mathematics education in public schools in the US varies a great deal in each state, and often even varies significantly within individual states.
Typically, in the first years of elementary school, students are taught addition and subtraction. After that, elementary students are usually taught multiplication, followed by division. In elementary school, most states follow an integrated mathematics curriculum.
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However, the time at which students are taught most other math subjects, such as fractions, probability, rational numbers, and statistics, varies considerably depending on the school district. While the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has published recommendations in mathematics education for America, these teaching standards are not enforced.
In the United States, unlike most countries, students are taught separate math topics in high school. Two years are devoted entirely to algebra, although many students are now expected to take the first year of algebra in middle school. These algebra courses are typically separated by one year entirely devoted to geometry. The algebra-geometry-algebra sequence is usually followed by a pre-calculus course for college-bound students. Pre-calculus usually combines advanced algebra and geometry with trigonometry and other topics as preparation for a course in calculus, which may be taken during the final year of high school or the first year of university studies. Today, states typically require that students take four math courses to graduate high school and go on to college.
Since most high growth jobs in the United States require math skills, an advanced mathematics education is especially important for students who wish to follow careers in science, technology, engineering, and medical fields.