New alternate math class

A one semester, six-unit math course designed to replace Math 120 for non-STEM students will be offered at Skyline starting Spring 2013 semester.

This class, currently called “879 – Path To Statistics”, is much faster than the three courses a mathematically in experienced student would have to take just to qualify for the transferable classes. Anyone who qualified for Math 811 can qualify, which means anyone who took the placement test.

The course is intended to help students who would normally need to take at least a full year to fulfill the same requirements; students who need to get in and out of prerequisite math courses as quickly and painlessly as possible.

“If I can just get two-in-one [classes] done in one semester, that’s obviously cost-effective and it’s quicker,” said English major, Jasmine Healey who would have liked a class like this offered when she took her Math classes a year ago.

This accelerated math course is intended to reduce the number of “exit points” between semesters, as math instructor Soodi Zamani explains. Exits points are the places between connected math courses where students may or may not continue on to the next level of instruction after passing their class. The current system in place, if taken from lowest Math 811 to any minimum transfer course typically yields only a five percent student passing average.

“By making the class better, we’re improving your chances by maybe 5 percent,” said Mathematics professor, Jon Freedman who will be teaching one of these classes next semester. “By eliminating one step in that sequence, you’re improving [the chances] by maybe 15-20 percent.”

Don’t be fooled, however, as this isn’t just a fast-pass through college math. Miss Zamani explained that the six unit class is “still heavy, but has a tighter focus” on concepts that typically aren’t needed for a statistics class. For example, Math 110 and Math 120 must cover materials that potential Engineers or Chemists might encounter in calculus or trigonometry. This Pathway class doesn’t need to cover such topics; it only needs to cover the information that you’ll be seeing in statistics.

“It prepares you not only for statistics, but a little bit better prepares you to use mathematics in life” said math instructor, Rick Hough when asked about his perspective on this new course.

This is a similar sentiment shared by many math instructors towards this new course. This course isn’t meant to be just a math class, but a way to teach cultural literacy to students so that people can go out into the world and understand the math that’s relevant to being a human being in our society. Freedman went on to say, “statistics is the
one part that’s ubiquitous” and can be applied to many different professions and interests.

This course wasn’t just designed for Skyline College either; it’s a national initiative to see whether these classes will be effective in getting students who don’t need algebra the math that they’ll still need in everyday life.

However, this means that this class is not intended for science, technology, engineering or math majors, but more so for liberal arts majors trying to move on to a four year university.

One other stipulation of the class is that it currently does not fulfill community college requirements for an AA degree. This is important to realize for students who would like to get an Associates Degree while also fulfilling transfer requirements.

However, the class can also instantly prepare a student who tested into low math for the transferable Statistics class while skipping over the three classes normally required.

There will be two different courses offered for this class at Skyline College in the Spring. One will be taught by Soodi Zamani every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:10-10:00am and Jon Freedman also every M/W/F from 10:10-
12:00pm.

(The new alternate math class (Math 879) in this article is a prerequisite course for Math 200 – Statistics. The combination of Math 879 and Math 200 satisfy CSU transfer requirements. Students who have passed Math 811 or who place into Math 110/111 are eligible to take the new pre-statistics class. The class is designed for non-STEM (Science, Technology, Math, Engineering) and non business majors. On its own it does not satisfy AA or AS degrees.)

 

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