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Re-Envisioning Mathematics Pathways

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  1. Re-Envisioning Mathematics Pathways North Carolina Math Curriculum Improvement Project Kick-Off Event August 30, 2012 Amy Getz Charles A. Dana CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

  2. The structure of the college mathematics sequence... If you needed math, you needed Calculus...

  3. The structure of the college mathematics sequence... If you needed math, you needed Calculus...

  4. The structure of the college mathematics sequence... If you needed math, you needed Calculus...

  5. The structure of the college mathematics sequence... If you needed math, you needed Calculus...

  6. The structure of the college mathematics sequence... If you needed math, you needed Calculus...

  7. More and more courses built to support a sequencebased on the skills need for Calculus

  8. The problem was... The proportion of students going to Calculus was shrinking College Board of Mathematical Sciences 201 Survey of Undergraduate Mathematics: Community College Enrollments by Course

  9. When will I ever use this? People started looking for real evidence...

  10. Failure rates started rising And for a while we didn’t worry about it... We were maintaining rigorous standards

  11. Failure rates started rising And for a while we didn’t worry about it... We were maintaining rigorous standards • They were adults and responsible for their own failure

  12. Failure rates started rising And for a while we didn’t worry about it... We were maintaining rigorous standards • They were adults and responsible for their own failure • If we had to do it, why shouldn’t they?

  13. But some people start asking the question... Should we block access to higher education to someone because they do not master a skill that does not further their educational goals?

  14. This is not to say that students shouldn’t take math... But is the algebra needed for Calculus the most appropriate math for everyone?

  15. You mean all math isn’t algebra? The new vision for college mathematics Multiple pathways that are rigorous and meaningful to students’ programs of study and lives... • STEM (leads to Calculus or technical programs with a need for algebraic manipulation) • Statistics • Quantitative Literacy (QL) or Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

  16. What is Quantitative Literacy? QL prepares students with the skills needed to be an informed, thoughtful and discerning citizen and consumer in a world saturated with quantitative information.

  17. What is Quantitative Literacy? Despite is occasional use as a euphemism for statistics in school curricula, quantitative literacy is not the same as statistics. Neither is it the same as mathematics, nor is it (as some fear) watered-down mathematics. Quantitative literacy is more a habit of mind, an approach to problems that employs and enhances both statistics and mathematics. (2001). Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy. Prepared by The National Council on Education and the Disciplines, Editor: Lynn Steen.

  18. What is Quantitative Literacy? In math, what we need is “quantitative literacy,” the ability to make quantitative connections whenever life requires (as when we are confronted with conflicting medical test results but need to decide whether to undergo a further procedure) and “mathematical modeling,” the ability to move practically between everyday problems and mathematical formulations (as when we decide whether it is better to buy or lease a new car). Garfunkel, S. and Mumford, D. (2011, August 24). How to Fix Our Math Education. The New York Times.

  19. What is Quantitative Literacy? Quantitative literacy insists on understanding. This understanding must be flexible enough to enable its owner to apply quantitative ideas in new contexts as well as in familiar contexts. Quantitative literacy is not about how much mathematics a person knows but about how well it can be used. Deborah Hughes Hallett (2003). The Role of Mathematics Courses in the Development of Quantitative Literacy. in Quantitative Literacy: Why Literacy Matters for Schools and Colleges. National Council on Education and the Disciplines. p. 91. http://www.maa.org/ql/pgs91_98.pdf

  20. What is Quantitative Literacy? Quantitative literacy is simple math used in complex situations.

  21. Content of QL Courses Mathematics in service of context • Numeracy and fluency with numbers • Proportional reasoning • Basic algebraic skills • Modeling • Descriptive and Inferential Statistics • A consumer of statistics less than a creator • Interpreting and evaluating quantitative information embedded in text

  22. Contexts that are important to the general population • Personal Finance • Health Literacy • Statistical information as presented in the media • Social and political issues

  23. Is this college material? Do college students have these skills? 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) • Measured quantitative literacy defined as “the knowledge and skills needed to identify and perform computations using numbers embedded in printed materials.” Percentage of people proficient or above: • Bachelors degree: 31% • Graduate courses or a graduate degree: 36% (2007). Literacy in Everyday Life: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. National Center for Educational Statistics. p. iii. http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007480

  24. For more information about the Dana Center’s Work: • Amy Getz: getz_a@austin.utexas.edu • General information: www.utdanacenter.org • Higher Education work: www.utdanacenter.org/mathways • Contact the Dana Center Higher Education Team at mathways@austin.utexas.edu