Colleges work to solve the remedial math placement problem
- Increasing efforts from community colleges and four-year institutions to reassess the value of remedial math courses, took center stage in a recent article in The New York Times, which cited changing demands for certain fields of industry and changing realities in student demographics.
- A recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that 25% of strongly-prepared high school graduates took at least one remedial math course in college, but were more likely to persist to graduation if they skipped remediation.
- Campuses are responding with micro-courses to refresh math skills, or replacing these courses with other math classes based upon the degree they may be pursuing. The College Board is also reconsidering its metrics for measuring math proficiency, beyond a common exam score.
There is a continuing struggle for college educators between tradition and the value of holistic preparation, and the needs of today's workforce. In the same way that the looming extinction of cursive handwriting has become a legislative issue for states like Indiana, there is a growing sense that advanced algebra is no longer a requirement for professional expertise or life skill.
College leaders are in the best position to determine the industrial and social need for algebra or advanced mathematics while meeting the liberal arts mission. Assessing the placement, cost, credit accumulation and graduation rates of students taking these courses can quickly determine their future on a campus, or in higher education outright.
- New York Times Trying to solve a bigger math problem
- Chicago Tribune Indiana Senate signs off on cursive bill, which faces a House test