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Math Department

Our philosophy 

Our math department believes that all students can and should participate in higher order, complex math courses and our program is designed to help students reach that standard.  Though most high schools in Massachusetts only require three years of math, Innovation Academy requires four years.   Students enrolled in Accelerated Geometry in 9th grade will be well prepared for Calculus as seniors.   Students who need additional skill development in 9th and 10th grade will still be expected to take Pre-Calculus with a focus on Trigonometry during their Senior year.

In addition to teaching the necessary "skills" associated with textbooks, our math department develops unique projects which ask students to apply their thinking to solve real-world problems.  Examples of projects include:  how long would you need to own a hybrid car before you made you money back, how does logic used in Geometry Proofs reflected in advertising and political campaigns, can statistical measures accurately describe a "typical" IACS student?  how can we predict the vertical motion of an object dropped or thrown?  

All IACS graduates will leave with sound mathematical literacy and will be well prepared to continue their study of mathematics in college, whatever level they are at.

Assessment Strands

Accuracy – Mathematics is a language that allows people to give exact answers.  When calculations are not made correctly, computers don’t operate, bridges collapse, and checks bounce.  Students are assessed in this strand primarily through their performance on quizzes and tests. 

Logic – Just like accuracy, how one arrives at that answer is also important.  When reviewing student work, teachers look to see how problems are set up before they are solved.  As math concepts become increasingly complex, making sure the logic is clearly communicated takes on greater significance.  

Application – Students participate in several unit projects over the course of a semester where they apply their knowledge to problem solving situations.  Most projects also involve creating a report or making a presentation.  These projects are graded on a variety of content and presentation standards.

Work Habits – The Work Habits strand reflects the effort students have put into completing homework, studying regularly, and working in class.  Work habits also reflect the level of students’ participation in class, their willingness to take academic risks, and ability to incorporate revisions into their work.  Students with strong work habits grades are putting consistent, effective effort into their schoolwork.

 Late Work Policy

All students are expected to complete work in a timely manner.   Developing the mindset and skills to complete work on time will benefit students throughout high school, college, and in future careers.

  • If a student is not able to turn in a major assignment on time, he or she must make arrangements with the teacher within 24 hours of the due date. (Example:  If an assignment is due at the beginning of class on a Monday, arrangements must be made by that time Tuesday, regardless if the class meets that day.)
  • At the discretion of individual teachers, students may be provided extra time to receive partial credit on major assignments.  Make-up assignments must be submitted within 7 calendar days (1 week) from the original due date.
    • Assignments submitted before the 7 day window will receive a lower grade in the Work Habits strand (5 points lost for every day late) but fully assessed in all other strands.
    • Assignments turned in after the 7 day window will be graded as a zero in all strands.
  • Homework is due on a regular basis.  Late homework must be turned in by the next class.  Some homework will be reviewed in class and therefore is not eligible for late credit.   

 Honors Policy

Any student is eligible to pursue honors credit for any semester of a math course.  The following outlines the program and requirements. 

1)      Students complete an additional homework assignment approximately once every two weeks.  This assignment may be revised.  It is graded for correct answers and work shown to explain approach to the problems.  This is entered as a work habits grade and included in the strand with all course assignments.

2)      Students take an additional honors level test at the end of each unit.  It is designed to push understanding further and consists of problems that apply both the material learned in the unit and general math principles and logic.  This test is graded using the same logic and accuracy strands used on the regular test.

3)      During project work, an additional component of the project will be required.  It is also designed to extend understanding and application of the concepts covered.  This grade will be included in the application strand.

It is important to note that because honors grades are entered into the regular course strands, the student’s grade may be affected in either a positive or negative way.  Math is the only subject where taking honors can lower your grade in each strand and overall.  Sometimes a student will receive an honors B instead of the A they would have received without taking honors.

Students must receive a C or higher in every strand to earn honors status.   Also any student who is missing significant work in the regular course, will not be allowed to complete the honors program.

Honors assignments are available to all students in the class.  It is the only form of extra credit that a non-honors student can earn.  Some students get exposure to the honors in this way and then choose to take honors second semester.

In Financial Literacy the honors program looks different.  Students may investigate a specific aspect of the course such as investments in the stock market or the fall of the prime lending market.  They present a lesson to the class on their topic to the class and it is scheduled to fit into the course at the time we are learning about the topic.  This adds the honor status to their grade but does not change their overall class grade.