Monday, April 29, 2013

Developmental Math

Here's an update to an earlier course profile.

Developmental Math Courses
 • Arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, algebra
Mostly 2 year schools
Many small sections
Students test into the course
Usually non-credit
 • Usually one term
 • 50% drop rate

A few lead instructors - full time
Many adjuncts - freeway flyers

Generally struggling in school
Many non-traditional students
Resent having to take the class
Lack basic math skills
Fear math

Key Challenges
 • Course: Ferocious drop rate
Instructors: Time, especially for individual attention
Students: Math skills, motivation, fear, time

Quantitative Literacy

Here's a brief profile of one of my favorite math courses.

Quantitative Literacy Courses
• "Math for real life."
• "The last math course you'll ever take."
• Personal finance, understanding statistics, charts, graphs, ...
• Understanding the news, reading the newspaper, ...
• Primarily 4 year schools
• Viewed as innovative
• Satisfies minimum math requirement

• Ph.D. Math professors
• Chose to teach this course

• Often weak math background
• Happy this course if offered, chose to take it

Key Challenges
• Instructors: Time, especially for individual attention
     Selling the course to the administration
• Students: Math skills, fear of math

Math for K-8 Teachers

Math for K-8 Teachers Courses
• Full year course
• Huge books, tons of material
• Taught in Education department
• 4 year schools
• Simple arithmetic through geometry, algebra
• Manipulatives
• Conceptual
• Required for education majors

• Ph.D. education (or math) professors
• Tend to like the course

• Future K-8 teachers
• Sophomores, juniors, seniors
• Math skills vary considerably

Key Challenges
• Tons of material
• Students must recognize multiple approaches
• Instructors: Understanding it all, time
• Students: Breadth of material, concepts