Monday, November 07, 2005

Fluency in Algebra

Mathematics Education Reform: Toward a Coherent K-12 Curriculum

Stanley Ocken

Professor of Mathematics

The City College of the City University of New York
October 2, 2005

What sort of preparation is important? Math students need to read textbooks, attend lectures, and succeed on exams that are dense with equations, formulas, and algebraic expressions. Algebra is the universal language of mathematics. Students aiming at careers that involve college mathematics need to be fluent in that language. If they aren’t fluent, they won’t succeed in their math courses and will have to change their career plans. And that happens far too often.

How true this is. I was appalled at the number of pre-calculus (mostly trigonometry) students who asked me today how to divide pi-over-four by one-half. Ouch.

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