The Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) agreed to replace the Algebra 2 and Trigonometry (Algebra 2/Trig) with a new, weighted course called Algebra 2 Honors. The change will take effect at high schools across the district, including Fountain Valley High School (FVHS), for all students taking the course beginning in Fall 2023.
“The reason is we saw other school districts had Algebra 2 Honors. We looked into how the [other districts] do it and if it’s similar to our Algebra 2/Trig… it’s about 90% the same,” FVHS Math Co-Department Chair Brandon Nguyen said. “We wanted to give the class the weighted credits students deserve for their hard work.”
The qualifications for the course will remain the same. Students will need a grade of A or B in Accelerated Geometry; summer school and middle school students who take Geometry will need to pass a placement test.
Several steps are needed to adopt the Algebra 2 Honors course. After meetings with math teachers across the district and HBUHSD’s Math Facilitator, math departments at each high school must approve the change in a majority vote. The change must also be approved by the assistant principal and other department chairs at each school. Lastly, the change must be approved by the HBUHSD Math Facilitator and the school’s principal before the final approval by HBUHSD.
According to Nguyen, the final step to revise the content of the Algebra 2/Trig course into Algebra 2 Honors will take place over the summer. Current Algebra 2/Trig teachers will meet to discuss slight changes, but the course will still remain very rigorous with no big changes.
Another similar change occurred this school year, when Accelerated Biology became Honors Biology. Some previous and current students of Algebra 2/Trig are frustrated with the addition of another weighted course, especially with its effects on GPA and college applications.
However, Nguyen believes that the change will not be a huge deal in college applications due to the students’ final accomplishments in their math education.
“It’s unfortunate, but at some point the change has to happen… Algebra 2 Honors in some districts has been going on for quite a while,” Nguyen said. “I think colleges will see the courses that students take. Algebra 2/Trig will be one thing they see, but in the end, they’re going to see Precalculus Honors, AP Calculus [or] AP Statistics.”
Both current and past Algebra 2/Trig students hope that future students of this class will be recognized for their hard work.
“I’m a little disappointed because I think my freshman self would have appreciated the comfort in these harder classes being weighed, especially for biology which is honors this year but only accelerated last year,” sophomore Anh Thu Truong said. “At the same time, I’m glad these classes are getting recognized as being more difficult, and I hope the future classes take advantage of that.”