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Letter: Trigonometry mastery

Published: Sunday, Aug. 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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I appreciate that Charles Ormsby ("What to expect of Common Core," Aug. 7) admits that he is "not an expert on the Common Core standards" when he expresses concern about students' under-preparation in trigonometry under the Common Core. A brief review of those standards reveals that the goal he calls for — mastery of trigonometry — is already met and exceeded by the standards.

Beginning in secondary math II (generally taught to sophomores) trigonometry takes an important place in the math standards. That importance increases in secondary math III and the senior-year courses available at most schools. Committed students will master trigonometry. Hopefully they will also avoid the ill-advised step, already a common option, to stop taking math classes after the junior year. That is never a good move for a college-bound student, especially a potential STEM major.

Ormsby should recognize that his current underprepared students have never had instruction under the Common Core standards. When they were released in 2010, his incoming freshmen were just beginning the 10th grade, and in Utah the standards were phased in and fully implemented only the last school year. Perhaps Ormsby will re-evaluate his assessment of the Common Core when last year's high school freshmen reach his classroom in 2016.

Michael Handy

Clearfield

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