Math tutoring is a relatively simple concept—a tutor helps your student overcome challenging subject materials, improve self-confidence, and become more resilient learners. It’s a highly beneficial process that builds important soft skills. But do students really need math tutors in grade 11 or 12?
At the grade 11 and 12 levels, math becomes optional. Students get a more control over what math to take and, by grade 12, whether they want to take it at all. This makes it easy for students and their parents to see math as less necessary, especially when they find it a personally challenging subject.
Does Math Really Matter In Grade 11 & 12 (Spoiler: YES!)
Regardless of how tough math is, raising a teenager is harder! Every parent has experienced the struggle between helping their child prepare for their future and simply letting them be who they want to be in that moment of time.
How far do we push our kids to be their best? How do we coach them towards a future that’s full of potential, opportunity, and endless unknowns? What do we say when our teenager doesn’t want to take math anymore? Ignoring math isn’t in our children’s best interest so let’s talk it through!
The reality is that most high school students don’t know what they want to do when they’re older and that’s perfectly okay. Chances are most of us aren’t doing what we thought we would be doing when we were 15, 16, and 17, and that’s okay too!
In these times of great uncertainty, there are two things we can do to help our children out:
- Give them the skills needed to become responsible adults
- Prevent them from limiting their future opportunities
Math is one of the subject areas where guidance is often needed. “Math is difficult!” How often do we hear that? It doesn’t come naturally to all kids (or you, as their parent). This lack of ease causes students to take the minimum number of credits they have to or they take it and feel very overwhelmed and helpless. Either choice leads to a diminished self-confidence, which doesn’t only affect their performance in math, but across all subjects.
Math Is Tough For Everyone…
For students that math comes naturally to, the issue in the higher grades of high school math is that the pace is difficult to keep up with. Curriculum expectations, being what they are, mean that the speed at which the course material is delivered is quite rapid. A concept is introduced and typically tested on in a very short time period. Then, the next concept is introduced, and so on and so forth. If your child gets stucks on a particular concept, there isn’t time spent to go back and review it; the class just moves on. So, who helps even the naturally gifted math student in such cases?
Another key issue is that math homework is not usually corrected for understanding. If something isn’t understood, it’s marked wrong and the class moves on. If this leads to frustration for those that are naturally gifted in math, how do you think those feel that didn’t want to take math in the first place?
When a teacher solely relies on the materials they are using to provide examples to the kids, it’s often explained using a textbook or workbook. But what happens when the way it’s explained doesn’t make sense to the way your child thinks? Teachers don’t have time to prepare alternative methods of teaching. Who then teaches the concept to your child in a way that they do understand it?
Let’s quickly look at another challenge facing students today: semesters. What happens when your child has math in semester 1 in his grade 10 year and semester 2 in his grade 11 year? Or, in semester 1 of grade 11 and semester 2 of grade 12? In both scenarios, your child would not have math for an entire year! Think of the way math is taught as described above and, then, think of your child sitting in that class feeling lost and helpless.
“I didn’t do well in math so I can’t help my child.” …If that’s how you feel, you’re not alone! Many parents struggle with math. But that doesn’t mean your child has too. It’s up to use to give our kids the resources and advice needed to thrive. Encourage math education and then give them the tools they need to succeed in it!
First, let’s talk about why math is important so you can encourage math with a little more confidence, and then we’ll discuss how a math tutor can be one of your most valuable resources.
Different Types of Math In British Columbia
All math is not equal. There are several different types of math courses being offered at the grade 11 and 12 levels in British Columbia. So, what’s the deal?
The B.C. Graduation requirements say that our students need a 4-credit Math 11 or Math 12 course to graduate. That sets the bare minimum requirements for each student. However, the curriculum allows for several types of math, which vary from school to school.
The most common math courses your student will consider are:
- Foundations of Mathematics 11 & 12
- Pre-Calculus 11 & 12
- Calculus 12
While additional math courses may include:
- Workplace Mathematics 11
- History of Mathematics 11
- Computer Science 11 & 12
- Apprenticeship Mathematics 12
- Geometry 12
- Statistics 12
As a quick reference point, Pre-Calculus was formerly called “Principles of Math,” and Foundations of Mathematics was “Essentials of Math” when many of today’s parents were in high school.
Students essentially choose to follow a more academic route with Pre-Calculus or a more basic life skills route with Foundations of Math. In either scenario, this math education is important.
How Math 11 & 12 Impact University Opportunities
While kids don’t technically have to take math to get into university, Pre-calculus opens a lot of doors for their future. Pre-calculus is considered a core course by many post-secondary institutions and, for that reason alone, prestigious universities make it a prerequisite requirement for most of their programs—including programs that have nothing to do with mathematics.
Even if students don’t need pre-calculus for their desired undergraduate studies, it may become a problem if they try to transfer universities or if they decide to pursue studies in teaching, medicine, dentistry, engineering, and so forth at the graduate level.
B.C. University Math Requirements
As of February 2019, here are the general math requirements for admissions into most programs at a few universities in British Columbia. (Please note this is not an official list in any capacity and you should absolutely confirm the requirements for your child’s potential programs directly with the school!)
|University||Arts Programs||Science Programs|
|University of British Columbia||Pre-Calculus 11||Pre-Calculus 12|
|University of Victoria||Pre-Calculus 11||Pre-Calculus 12|
|Simon Fraser University||Pre-Calculus 11||Pre-Calculus 12|
|Vancouver Island University||None||Pre-Calculus 12 (B minimum)|
|Thompson Rivers University||None||Pre-Calculus 12 (C+ minimum)|
|Camosun College||None||Pre-Calculus 11|
Admission requirements do vary by individual program, so the chart above isn’t perfect, but it gives you an idea of how quickly math can open or close doors for our students at the post-secondary level. A student who doesn’t complete grade 12 Pre-calculus won’t be admitted into most Science programs, while a student who chooses Foundations 11 can cross several schools from their list of potential options.
Math For Everyday Real Life
If you know without a doubt that your student will not pursue a post-secondary program that will require math, your child may not need to take Pre-Calculus and could consider the Foundation of Mathematics or one of the alternative math courses (if available).
But even these students will benefit from a strong understanding of their math course. Math, in general, has such a huge impact on our lives and it all starts with foundational math skills.
Here are a few examples of how we use math in our everyday life:
- Budgeting, saving & spending
- Managing time to achieve tasks & goals
- Comparing prices in the grocery store
- Dividing a birthday cake into equal pieces
- Baking treats using ratios & measurements
- Converting temperatures between Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Estimating travel time and distance
- Mortgage and loan decision-making
The list goes on and could forever. Math is so intertwined with our world that we often don’t even recognize it ourselves. But it’s there and the better our students understand the concepts of math, the better they can navigate the world. The bigger goal of math is to ensure that you keep that part of your brain active.
You can read more about the importance of real-life math in these posts:
How Math Tutoring Helps Students Thrive
Now that we’ve established the importance of math, let’s circle back to math tutoring. Tutors can help students at every level of math, including grade 11 and 12, to understand the lessons being taught. Your tutor becomes a member of your family’s educational team that will help guide your children and ensure they have as many doors open as possible in their future lives.
Ultimately, our kids’ understanding of math will directly impact how well they understand and navigate the world around them. That is a big deal and is reason enough to support your students’ education with a math tutor who can help them make the most of their lessons.
Here are a few of the ways our math tutoring helps students in the upper grades:
- Fill in any knowledge gaps obtained in lower grade levels
- Provides personal guidance and support
- Help students understand & overcome difficult lessons
- Demonstrates how math helps in real life with examples
- Improve academic performance
- End the homework battle between frustrated kids and parents
- Give students the confidence to continue taking math in grades 11 & 12
At the end of the day, a math tutor sets your student up for future success—regardless of the shape or form that success takes. Let us at Tutoring…With A Twist* help you make math a peaceful and relaxing dinner table conversation for your entire family!