Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Mathematics--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Curricula--Illinois; Education, Secondary--Curricula--Illinois;


In the summer of 2005, Illinois lawmakers made the decision to elevate the graduation standards for students, joining an increasing number of states who decided current requirements in their state were insufficient. This legislation affected aspects of English, science, and mathematics. The most significant change resulted in the increase of mathematics study from two years of mandatory study to three years in order to graduate. Any district that did not already require students to take three years had to decide how to react to this new requirement. This quantitative research study was designed to examine what effects this change had on mid-sized Illinois high schools. The research focused on how the graduation requirement change affected the curriculum, graduation rates, and enrollment in upper-level classes. Principals, curriculum directors, and division chairs provided their responses and options to a questionnaire that asked about various aspects of the graduation change. The effect on schools were compiled and analyzed. In preparation for the change, a majority of schools adapted their curriculum by adding courses to the catalogue, predominantly with upper-level classes taken after a student completes geometry. Special Education classes, vocationally-oriented mathematics classes, integrated algebra and geometry classes, and supportive interventions were also added to accommodate the needs of students. Despite curriculum modifications, on-line credit recovery programs, and class-specific interventions, graduation rates within the sample, as well as across all schools in Illinois, declined sharply during this period of transition. While the graduation rate decline cannot be solely attributed to the requirement change, the overlap of these events is cause for concern. Enrollment in upper-level mathematics classes overwhelming rose during this transition period from two required years to three years. Results indicate that Illinois students have a wide variety of classes available to them, and students are more persistent in their study of mathematics than prior to the graduation requirement change. This study will be useful to policy makers considering the potential pros and cons of such a graduation change in mathematics as well as to school administrators trying to discover how to adapt to such a graduation requirement change.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Robert Decker

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 148 pages)



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Education Commons