Fork in the Road: Intermediate to Senior Mathematics

When students transition from grade  10 to 11, they have opportunities to specialize in what they would like to study. This transition may be difficult for students who are not used to having much choice in the courses they select. In order for students to successfully transition from the fairly regimented intermediate grades to the more flexible senior grades, they will need guidance. Teachers, parents and students need to be equal partners in the planning process.

Teacher collaboration in supporting students through transition periods

For students going from grade 10 to grade 11, there are many directions they can go. Applied students will be able to choose College or Workplace Math, while Academic students will be able to choose University or University/College math.

Intermediate teachers should have discussions with Senior teachers, department heads as well as guidance teachers regarding course selection. Intermediate teachers can relay information to students before the course selection window so that students can think deeply about what course they decide to take the following year.

Opportunities for self-advocacy from students and their parents

With the information from senior-level, guidance and head teachers, students and parents should be advised on the pathways that are possible in mathematics (retrieved from OAME:

OAME’s Possible Math Pathways

These pathways are not definitive, but represent a common flow from one course to the next. Students, parents and teachers should discuss the implications of taking these courses on college and university admissions. This is the time when a student should start considering possible post-secondary avenues.

There is still time after grade 10 to change, but it will require a lot more work from the student. If the student and parents are made aware of this early, the student has an increased chance of graduating on time and entering their desired post-secondary institution as soon as possible.

How do you assist students with the transition from grade 10 to grade 11 mathematics? Please share your story in the comments.

Transition Planning for MEL4E Students to the Workplace


In this course, there are three units:


  1. Data Management
  2. Personal Finance
  3. Applications of Geometry


Once students in this class graduate, they are likely to begin work or may take post-secondary courses in a non-mathematics related field.


Despite not working in STEM fields, they will most likely still be required to use the three major math skills that have been touched on in this course.


Unfortunately, there will no longer be a caring and supporting educator helping them understand the math if they are still confused and unsure of the concepts. Often times, their employer may not be sympathetic to their lack  of skill development or mistakes as their teachers were. Sadly, people sometimes get fired or simply held back in their careers because of too many unintentional errors.

For example, a store salesperson can experience severe punishment if a major clerical error loses money for the company. A builder’s assistant may not be rehired if they make too many measuring errors and cost the builder money in lost materials. The CRA audits and sometimes penalizes people who do not file or improperly file their taxes. Even self-employed people can experience financial ruin or a negative reputation if they do not manage their finances and products/services properly. These are just a few of problems that people with low mathematical skills and poor work habits experience.


All we can do as educators is make students aware of the competitiveness and sometimes unforgiving nature of the work world, while continuing to encourage them to practice and reflect on their math skills wherever possible and seek help from trusted sources.


Not all employers/clients will be understanding like a teacher. Companies and businesses exist to make profits. Social Services have checks and balances and must show accountability to remain funded. Most supervisors will weed out those who present a risk to productivity, profits and accountability in order to cover their own tracks. Some people get set up to fail unintentionally because of poor hiring practices/management. Students who learn self-advocacy will be most likely to remain afloat and thrive in such environments.


Conferencing with the student and parents/guardians is a good way to get them involved in supporting their teen’s positive decision making skills and mindfulness.  Involving a guidance teacher may also assist them in terms of career building skills. If possible, involving local business owners/managers may help students to understand what is expected of them once they are finished their studies. However, at the end of the day, the student is the one responsible for their success.However, at the end of the day, the student is the one responsible for their success.