Ariz. students might not need Algebra 2 to graduate in the future; here's what you need to know about HB2278

'In Arizona, high school students are currently required to complete a course called Algebra 2 in order to graduate, but that requirement could be a thing of the past if lawmakers pass a new bill.

Here's what you need to know about House Bill 2278, which is making its way through the State Legislature.

What is HB2278?

As proposed, HB2278 amends Arizona Law by requiring the State Board of Education to "develop and adopt academic competency requirements for an alternative mathematics graduation pathway that includes algebra, geometry and other advanced mathematics course, which may include personal finance, computer science, statistics, or business mathematics."

What is the current graduation requirements for Arizona high school students?

According to the Arizona State Board of Education website, students across the state need at least 22 credits to graduate, including

  • Four credits of English or English as a Second Language
  • Three credits in social studies, including a credit of American history (including Arizona history), a credit of world history/geography, a half credit of American government (including Arizona government), and a half credit of economics.
  • Four credits in mathematics, including Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and a fourth course that contains high school content
  • Three credits of science
  • A credit of fine arts or career and technical education and vocational education
  • Seven credits of additional courses, as prescribed by the local school district governing board or charter school

"Districts and charter schools may, at their discretion, establish graduation credit requirements for their students in addition to the statewide requirements," read a portion of the website.

What is Algebra 2?

According to a document posted to the Arizona Department of Education's website, high school students will need to learn a number of mathematical concepts in Algebra 2, including:

  • The Real Number System
  • The Complex Number System
  • Arithmetic with Polynomials and Rational Expressions
  • Creating Equations
  • Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities
  • Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models
  • Trigonometric Functions

So, is Algebra 2 only required to graduate from high school?


Besides being a required course for high school students in order to graduate, all three of Arizona's public universities (ASU, NAU, and UArizona) also require prospective students to take Algebra 2 as part of its course competency requirements for admission.

However, prospective students for all three universities can fulfill the requirement by meeting other criteria.

What is the bill's sponsor saying about HB2778?

The bill's sponsor, State Rep. John Fillmore, said HB2278 is for the working man's kid, to give an option to students who may not want to attend college, or for students who would like to explore other classes that they could use in everyday life.

"What was more important and better for the kids to have a class of 'life math,' to know how to do a loan and things of that nature?" said State Rep. Fillmore. "The reality is the bulk of the kids don't want it. They don't need it, and this is going to stop them from getting frustrated and quitting in high school."

What are education advocates saying about the bill?

Critics say besides the fact that Algebra 2 is a requirement for post-secondary institutions, graduation rates have increased since the requirement was put into effect in 2013, which means the requirements possibly are not the issue.

"When lower standards are offered or expectations are lowered, the data suggests those who will be tracked into that and impacted are those that we need to be performing at very high rates: our low-income students or students of color, or students who are first in their families to pursue secondary education," said Education Forward Arizona CEO Rich Nickel.

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