Monday, July 01, 2013

Work and College Readiness

My stress curve skyrockets when I hear people--usually educators, who should know better--say that college readiness is career readiness; the thesis, implied or stated outright, is that all students should take as much math as possible, up to and including Algebra 2, which is a prerequisite for most 4-year universities.  This is, of course, stupid on its face, as it's abundantly clear that the vast majority of working people don't use Algebra 2 at all in their daily lives.  Heck, most teachers--and all of them have a university degree!--don't use Algebra 2 in their daily lives, so it's clear that at the very least they're being disingenuous.

So what math should a high school graduate know?
NCEE has released What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?, a study of the English Literacy and Mathematics required for success in the first year of community college. On May 7th, during a day-long meeting, key education and policy leaders joined NCEE to discuss the results of the study and its implications for community college reform, school reform, teacher education, the common core state standards, and vocational education and the workplace.
Watch the couple minutes of video called What are the key findings for Mathematics? as well as the clip called What are the implications for the Common Core State Standards?  I agree with the finding that people need to master elementary and junior high school math--fractions, decimals, proportions, etc.--much more than they need calculus.  Statistics, though, remains an important class :-)

1 comment:

Joshua Sasmor said...

And this is why my course for teachers, as well as my Liberal-Arts requirement fulfilling course (for people who only need 3 credits of math), focuses on statistics - elementary logic, counting methods (nPr/nCr), probability, descriptive statistics, and normal curves. I also cover consumer math, so they understand annuity savings and mortgages. But statistics is the core of what teachers are assessed by, so they need to understand how stats works.