Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pre-Calculus, the next topic in need of reform?

Jack Rotman did (or is doing) an interesting presentation at the 2015 Michigan Mathematics Meetings looking at Pre-Calculus reform. He draws an analogy to the current Developmental Mathematics reforms (alternative pathway, career-ready, etc.), shares some data on Michigan's approach to Pre-Calculus, and asks that big question "Are Pre-Calculus classes really preparing students for Calculus?"

I think its pretty safe to say that most states are in a similar situation regarding Pre-Calculus where colleges and universities have different requirements. In academia I know we don't like comparing institutions, but when students are transferring between different institutions (especially with costs going up) a certain level of state-wide consistency is beneficial to everyone. Students learn material that actually prepares them for the next course/future content, dropout rates lower (as a consequence of having to take less classes), completion times lower, etc.

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