Trigonometry/Precalculus Course Syllabus

Chris Thiel, OFMCap, MDiv, MS - (818) 790-0325 x638

This course will cover chapters 4-9 of the textbook. The review of the prerequisites of this course (Chapters 1-3) will be incorporated when appropriate in the first and third quarters. At the end of the course will be a cumulative review to assist the student's performance on the placement exam at the College or University they will attend in the fall. Use the links below to see the schedule of topics:
Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4
Trigonometry (4)
Functions and Their Graphs (1)
Analytic Trigonometry (5)
Topics in Trigonometry(6)
Systems of Equations and Inequalities(7)
Matrices and Determinants(8)
Polynomial and Rational Functions(2)
Exponential and Logarithmic Functions(3)
Sequences, Series and Probability(9)
Financial Math
Cumulative Review for
Calculus Readiness Exams

Homework Assignments



Tests are administered after covering a significant body of work, usually after each chapter of the text. Sometimes however, a large chapter is divided into two parts, with a Test for each part of the chapter. Tests integrate topics into your problem solving skills, and you are usually only permitted 60 minutes to complete.

Classroom Projects

Projects are assigned to encourage the communication of mathematical insights and to help deepen your understanding of a particular topic. Projects take on a variety of forms including online quizzes and activities, making web pages, videos, posters and presentations. Projects are either 5 or 10 point assignments.


Each class might include individual or group worksheets, board work, demonstrations, or questions on an activity (computer activity, project or video). The homework assignment page has links to videos, in case this is more useful than the textbook, but it is important to prepare for class so most of our time can be used to work on the more difficult exercises.

Your classwork score may be lowered by not having the previous homework, notes, pencil or textbook out at the start of class, or failing to bring your book, paper, pencil and calculator to class. Please turn off your phone and/or wireless device(s) and put them in your book bag outside the classroom.

If you were absent, you must bring your yellow re-admit slip to the next class, (since an unexcused abscence counts as 0% for all assignments due on that day).

Quarter Exams

There is a special schedule during "Finals Week" to allow for a long, cumulative examination of your mathematical skills. To help your test taking skills, the test employs the "SAT" style of questioning. There are only thought provoking questions, and an average student only answers half of them correctly. These exams are therefore graded on a curve, based on the average and standard deviation of those taking the exam this year.

Extra Credit

The grade for this course is based upon mastery of the curriculum, so there are no extra credit assignments.

Classroom Discipline

  1. DO NOT DISRUPT CLASS Mobile communication devices must be in your backpack stored in the designated area. For the sake of the majority of the class, those who disrupt a class lesson by talking, disturbing someone, or throwing any object will not be tolerated. Disciplinary measures may include written assignments or cleaning of the classroom. Chronic or severe disruptions warrant a phone call home and/or a detention.

  2. DO NOT ABUSE SCHOOL PROPERTY You are responsible for your work place and will be held accountable to keep your desk and its environs clean. Feet should remain on the floor, never on the desk. All four feet of the desk must also remain on the floor. Be gentle when using a school computer. If you are banned from the use of the computer, all computer based assignments are replaced with extensive written assignments.

  3. DO NOT ABUSE YOUR TIME Take advantage of the group work sessions. This is the time to do your talking---so long as you get the work done. Abuse of this privilege will result in individual loss of the privilege as well as the disciplinary measures mentioned above. Consult the student handbook for the consequences of talking without permission during quizzes or tests. As per the student handbook, students are responsible for work missed due to absence the day they return. If you are present and a quiz or test is scheduled, you must take it. It is a good idea to have the contact information of several classmates to see what material and assignments were covered during your absence. If you miss a quiz you cannot gain any points for it. If you know you will be absent for a test, you may schedule to take it before the actual test date if prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. In the case of an extended illness special arrangements should be made with the Academic Vice Principal, Mr. Trujillo.

  4. LIVE UP TO YOUR GOOD NAME You are expected to exhibit the attributes of a St. Francis Golden Knight: courteous attention, gracious cooperation, and dedicated study. Each can readily be seen in the thoroughness and orderliness of your work, as well as how you offer, ask and accept help from others.


Scores are weighted according to their category:
NON-TESTING 15% (Department requires 15-20%)
Classroom Work 5% Based upon the completion of worksheets, calculator, computer lab and classroom activities. You must bring a textbook, calculator, paper and pencil to each class.
Homework 10% Grading is based upon doing assignments according to the description above.
TESTING 70% (Department Requires 60-70%)
Homework Quizzes 5% short quizzes from past and present textbook problems on days without tests or weekly quizzes, and WebWork online homework problems.
Weekly Quizzes 15% longer quizzes, based on combining ideas from the homework.
Chapter Tests 50% Hour long tests that integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills.
FINAL 15% (Department requires 15-20%)
Quarter Exam 15% 90 minutes, comprehensive exam, usually with a section using the calculator, and another section that prohibits the use of a calculator.

To conform with math department policy, each assessment category is "weighted" (rather than using raw points). This means that to dramatically improve an overall grade, a student must dramatically improve the average grade in one or more of these categories.

It reminds me of how the Presidential election works, using the electoral college instead of popular vote. If all the candidate's supporters are in the same state, it isn't as effective as having supporters in different states, since to with the election, you have to win over a lot of big states. Similarly, it would be best for a student to do well in as many categories as possible, especially the categories that are worth more.

Edline automatically does the following calculation:

.05(average classroom work) + .1(avg homework) + .05(avg hw quiz) + .15(avg quiz) + .5(average test) + .15(avg exam) = overall percentage
Click Here To Download a Spreadsheet

Edline then converts this percentage into letter grades strictly as follows:

90% to 100%
A to A-
80% to 89.99%
B+ to B-
70% to 79.99%
C+ to C-
60% to 69.99%
D+ to D-
0% to 59.99%

(While plusses and minuses are indicated on the grade report, they are ignored and not used in computing the student's grade point average (GPA).

Are you Ready for Calculus?

At the turn of the century (2005), some (like J. Kilpatrick and R. James Milgram at Stanford) claimed that over 40% of graduating seniors in California were not prepared enough to enroll in college level mathematics courses. Before enrolling in a Mathematics class at the UC, Cal State and Cal Poly schools students must take a an Entry Level Mathematics exam (ELM) and at most University of California campuses they require passing a Mathematics Diagnostic Test (MDT).

You can link to the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project web page here. Half way through the year you should be able to pass the Math Readiness (MR) test, which is what would be required to enrolled for the Precalculus Course at a four-year university. At the end of the year, you should be able to pass the Calculus readiness (CR) test, which is what would required before enrolling in Calculus at a 4-year college or university.

Before attempting them, get at least two (2) sheets of blank paper (no calculators allowed) and allow yourself one hour in a quiet place. Unlike an AP or SAT exam, try not to guess. The idea is to find out which skills you need to improve, and you don't want a lucky guess to hide an area of deficiency. At the end of the test it tells you which of six (or eight for the CR test) areas of math each question is evaluating.

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