Math course added as college algebra option

By Emily Ladd
On January 28, 2013

As of this semester, students will now be able to take Quantitative Reasoning as opposed to College Algebra, to fulfill their general education requirements.

ASU, along with four other state-supported universities, piloted Quantitative Reasoning during Fall 2012. This was a part of the states higher education mathematics re-design to help students meet the requirements needed to obtain their degree.

The intent is to remove barriers to graduation, said Department Chair Debra Ingram. We recognize College Algebra may be a barrier to some students.

Students and faculty have been somewhat upbeat about the alternative course. It has given many students who may have had a hard time with College Algebra a positive outlook
Students have been optimistic that this class is offered to them to satisfy that particular General Education requirement. The faculty has also been really supportive. Certain departments, like Criminology, have even advised their students to take Quantitative Reasoning, especially the students who may have struggled in College Algebra, Ingram said.

Kent Gibson of the Mathematics and Statistics Department is currently teaching the course.

(He) is a really easy-going professor who is more interested in the students than just getting through the class, Becky Kelley, a studio art major, said.

Kelley explained that she attempted College Algebra in the fall semester only to drop the course for the sake of maintaining her GPA. She took advantage of the alternative course, Quantitative Reasoning, by enrolling in it for Spring 2013.

Quantitative Reasoning is definitely a better option for me. The professor explained that it wasnt that we as students werent as smart as those in College Algebra. It was just that we think differently, Kelley said.

Quantitative Reasoning has been labeled as more traditional in that there are conventional homework assignments as opposed to the online- based coursework in College Algebra. The curriculum is meant to be more relevant for majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Fine Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies departments with the exception of BSE degrees.

I can see where students who do not do well with online work could really benefit from the new option that is mostly an in-class course. I did have some friends that took College Algebra last semester who struggled and would have really enjoyed another option, freshman Aimee Rowlett said.

The decision to substitute Quantitative Reasoning in place of College Algebra is only available to students majoring in non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines and those who are not working toward a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) degree. Quantitative Reasoning can also be used as a repeat course for College Algebra for students who have not already met the 18-hour repeat maximum.

I understand that non-STEM students may not do too well with the college algebra outline, and that is why I think that the university having this new option is a great idea, Rowlett said.

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