Mathematics standards for instruction apply to all mathematics courses in all grades K-12.  Standards set high expectations for all students to ensure that Tennessee graduates are prepared for the rigorous demands of mathematical understanding for college and career.

Tennessee’s State Standards

The Tennessee State Board of Education adopted new state standards in 2010 for mathematics for grades K-8 and the first three high school courses (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Integrated Math 1, 2, and 3), and in 2014 adopted new standards for the further high school mathematics courses. These standards represent three fundamental shifts: focus, coherence, and rigor. 

  • Focus:  The standards are focused on fewer topics so that students can dig deeper within the mathematics.
  • Coherence:  Topics within a grade are connected to support focus. Additionally, standards are linked across grades to ensure vertical coherence.
  • Rigor: The standards set expectations for a balanced approach to pursuing conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, application, and modeling.

The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are an important component of the mathematics standards for each grade and course, K-12.  The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe the varieties of expertise, habits of minds, and productive dispositions that educators seek to develop in all students.

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

K-8 Standards

The State Board of Education (SBE) has the authority to adopt academic standards for each subject area in grades K-12. Select the course title/grade level to view a description of the course and the standards adopted by the SBE.

High School Standards

The SBE sets the requirements for high school graduation. Per SBE Rule, students must achieve four high school level units of math in order to graduate with a high school diploma, including Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry (or the equivalent courses, Integrated Math I, II, and III) and one additional mathematics course beyond Algebra I. View a list of the courses required for high school graduation.

Understanding the Pathways for High School Mathematics

The Tennessee State Board of Education has approved standards in the integrated and traditional pathways. Districts will have the choice of which pathway to implement with Tennessee’s state standards.

This document  provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the high school pathways for mathematics.

Accelerating Students in Mathematics

This memo is to support schools and districts when making decisions for appropriate placement of students in mathematics courses. We believe districts know their teachers and students best, so districts will continue to have authority to make decisions and set policy at the local level to determine how to best accelerate students in their mathematics course of study. This memo provides information to consider on a range of issues related to course sequencing in mathematics. Common questions addressed in the memo:

  • What does a pathway look like to reach calculus?
  • Can student
  • Which assessment will students take if they are accelerated?

Standards for suggested compacted courses are included as appendices within the memo to ensure there are no gaps in content or the development of critical skills and understandings unique to the middle grades for students who take Algebra I in middle school.

Course Placement Series: Spotlight on Eighth Grade Algebra I Memo

The Tennessee Department of Education explored course enrollment patterns in an effort to better understand in which courses students are enrolling and whether course enrollment policies and procedures are promoting students’ interests. This memo focuses on eighth grade Algebra I enrollment, which can propel students to take more rigorous math courses in high school, higher ACT scores, and college outcomes such as majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and degree completion.

Course Placement Series: Spotlight on High School Math Course Enrollment Memo

The Tennessee Department of Education explored course enrollment patterns in an effort to better understand in which courses students are enrolling and whether course enrollment policies and procedures are promoting students’ interests.  This memo focuses on math course enrollment patterns throughout high school by following the 2013-14 twelfth grade cohort.