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The Pre-AP Algebra 1 course focuses deeply on mastery of linear relationships. Linear functions and linear equations are the basic building blocks of many advanced topics in mathematics. Therefore, Pre-AP Algebra 1 is streamlined to give students the time and space to thoroughly develop both procedural fluency and deep conceptual understanding of these concepts and skills.  This instructional focus fuels students’ growth and confidence in mathematics. 

Areas of Focus

Each Pre-AP course focuses on a small set of discipline-specific instructional priorities that support both teacher practice and student learning within the discipline. These areas of focus reflect research-supported reasoning practices that should receive greater emphasis in instructional materials and assessments than they often do. Pre-AP recognizes that many teachers and schools already embrace these disciplinary practices, and now we're offering resources that specifically emphasize these areas of focus.

Pre-AP Algebra 1 Areas of Focus:

  • Mastery of linear equations and linear functions: Students develop a deep and robust understanding of linear relationships from procedural, conceptual, and applied perspectives.
  • Greater authenticity of applications and modeling: Students create and use mathematical models to understand and explain authentic scenarios.
  • Engagement in mathematical argumentation: Students use evidence to craft mathematical conjectures and prove or disprove them.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Patterns of Change
  • Representations
  • Modeling with Functions
  • Solutions

Course at a Glance

The table below shows the four main units in Pre-AP Algebra 1, the recommended length for each unit, and the key topics in each.

Unit 1: Linear Functions and Linear Equations 
Timeframe: 9 weeks

Key concepts:

  • Direct Variation
  • Slope and Rate of Change
  • Linear Functions
  • Linear Equations
  • Scatterplots and Lines of Fit
  • Linear Inequalities
Unit 2: Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Timeframe: 5 weeks

Key concepts:

  • Graphical and Numerical Solution Techniques
  • Algebraic Solution Techniques
  • Systems of Linear Inequalities
  • Modeling with Systems of Equations and Inequalities
Unit 3: Quadratic Equations and Functions
Timeframe: 9 weeks

Key concepts:

  • Modeling with Quadratic Functions
  • Algebraic Forms of a Quadratic Function
  • The Graph of a Quadratic Function
  • Solving Quadratic Equations
Unit 4: Exponent Properties and Exponential Functions
Timeframe: 5 weeks

Key concepts:

  • Exponent Rules and Properties
  • Roots of Real Numbers
  • Exponential Growth and Decay

Instructional Resources

Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and model lessons as teachers design instruction for each unit.

Pre-AP Algebra 1 instructional resources include:

  • A course framework and model lessons for key concepts within each unit that provide guidance and support for teaching the course.
  • One or two practice performance tasks with scoring guidelines and instructional support suggestions for each unit.

Assessments for Learning

Each unit contains:

  • Short, open-ended formative assessment problems for each lesson to show the targeted content and skills, related to the lesson’s learning objectives, that students should master in throughout the lesson.
  • Two online learning checkpoints per unit that feature multiple-choice and technology-enhanced questions modeled closely after the types of questions students encounter on SAT tests and AP Exams. Learning checkpoints require students to examine graphs, data, mathematical expressions, and short texts—often set in authentic contexts—to respond to a targeted set of questions that measure student understanding of concepts and skills from the unit.
  • One performance task per unit that engages students in sustained problem solving and asks them to synthesize skills and concepts from across the unit to answer questions about a novel context.
  • A final exam that allows students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills learned throughout the course. This exam is optional.