Natomas Pacific opens AP Precalculus course for STEM majors



Jack Fedor, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory

Students at Natomas High, Inderkum High and Leroy Greene Academy will be able to take a new mathematics course starting with the 2023-24 school year.

The new course, Advanced Placement (AP) Precalculus, was created by the College Board to help eliminate the need for remedial classes in college and to provide an easier pathway to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors in college.

“During the course, students acquire and apply mathematical tools in real-world modeling situations in preparation for using these tools in college-level calculus,” said assistant superintendent Shea Borges in a report about the course submitted to the Natomas Unified School District Board of Trustees.

AP Precalculus will be offered to students worldwide as part of an expansion of the College Board’s Advanced Placement program.

“Developed by college math professors and high school math teachers, AP Precalculus will create a new pathway to college-level math in high school,” said the College Board in a press release.

The end-of-course exam for AP Precalculus will contain 48 multiple choice questions and four free response questions. The exam will be offered for the first time in May of 2024 and will cost $97 per student.

AP Precalculus is a course which prepares students to take AP Calculus AB and other higher level mathematics courses. Over 250,000 students took the AP Calculus AB exam in 2021.

AP Precalculus also will provide a type of national standard for what students are being taught in precalculus, educators say, and help students to better be prepared for higher level mathematics courses in college.

Natomas High, Inderkum High and Leroy Greene Academy, students will need to pass Math III, which culminates an integrated mathematics experience of algebra and geometry, to be eligible for AP Precalculus.

Students will still have the ability to take a precalculus course which is not an advanced placement one, although the advanced placement version will help build skills needed for more advanced AP mathematics courses.

The textbook which will be used in the course is Precalculus by Robert Blitzer. Completion of the course will fulfill an area “C” requirement for California university “A-G” requirements.

Students will earn five high school credits per semester in the course, and the course is weighted because it is an advanced placement class.

College credits for passing the end-of-year AP Precalculus exam will depend on the policies of each institution, which in most cases have not been established.

Some of the topics which will be covered in the course are polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric and polar functions and functions involving parameters, vectors and matrices.