In the Winter of 2015, all California Community College mathematics faculty were asked to fill out a survey asking them if they agreed with the following statement:
Prerequisite courses other than intermediate algebra can prepare students for courses of study not leading to calculus.
Abstentions: 161
Click Here for the list of colleges that filled out this survey form
101)
I agree with the AMATYC statement only because we have
talking about this idea for several years in department
meetings. Before that, I would have insisted that
everyone take Intermediate Algebra because to be educated
you need to know how to factor and solve simple radical
expressions and know conic sections. I no longer
believe this is a reasonable, although I believed it for
many years. 

102)
Example: the
Intermediate Algebra prerequisite for our [Math for Liberal
Arts (MLA) course] doesn't seem essential to master the
[MLA] material; it's only essential for [MLA] to count as
college level for transfer. 

103)
There was only one comment in support of question 4Yes
which pointed out that we teach Statway.
Instructors were told that if they had any more
comments they could email them (nobody did).
I'm not aware of any comments coming in other than
the one about Statway. 

104)
Science and mathematics students need to prepare themselves
through a rigorous study of algebra. The other
students should have exposure to exploratory data analysis,
graphical display of data, variability, and statistical
literacy concepts before entering the fast moving
Introductory Statistics course.


105) Yes, with
reservations:
We have to be careful in the last statement about
what it means by not leading to calculus.
Does this include or exclude business calculus?
What about math courses for elementary school
teachers? Or discrete or finite math?
The point of this discussion was just to be careful
about where we are going with the prerequisite idea. 

106)
I agree with the statement. Most of the content of
intermediate algebra will be of no use to any student not
headed in the directions of mathematics, chemistry, physics,
engineering, or other quantitative majors. I am confident
that these nonSTEM majors forget nearly all of what they
learn in intermediate algebra, if they learn it, and gain
even more dislike for mathematics. "We" are forced to teach
things about mathematics that they do not need, while "we"
do not not teach consumer mathematics, which is something
everyone (including STEM majors) actually needs. 

107) Yes, with
reservations:
An AA degree should have some sort of a math requirement
that is above what is required for high school graduation.
The way it is written now, it could allow for AA
degrees to be granted with less than high school level
mathematics.


108) Yes,
with reservations:
In the first line maybe it should be "can” instead of
“should”. 

109) I
agree with the statement.
Which specific math content should be required as
prerequisite for courses in other disciplines is an issue
that requires much more study and discussion.


110) I
support the Intermediate Algebra statement from AMATYC
because I
believe it supports having different pathways through the
developmental
math curriculum, which data is showing leads to greater
student success. 

111) I don't
see an issue so I agree with the statement. 

112) The
one member who said, yes, but it would depend on the content
of the “other” courses.
Again, current popular alternatives would get a “no”
vote for their lack of algebraic content. 

113) After
looking at the pipeline data, it seems obvious that the
curriculum we had wasn’t serving our students’ best
interests. 

114) I voted
yes with the following suggestion on rewording the final
statement.
Current wording:
"Prerequisite courses other than intermediate algebra
can prepare students for courses of study not leading to
calculus."
Suggested replacement:
"We support the development of alternatives to intermediate
algebra that would serve as prerequisites for college level
math courses not leading to calculus.”
I
have other thoughts about it, too, but that is enough for
now. :) 

115) Our
traditional curriculum doesn’t serve STEM students very
well; it serves nonSTEM even less well. 

116) I
am going to vote yes.
There will always be colleges with varying level of
rigor; we can not control this.
The position should not moderate itself to account
for whether or not colleges will turn out sub par graduates.
Colleges who have succumbed to the everyone gets a
trophy mentality have been around for a long and will
continue to exist regardless of how we feel about them.
Reputation and quality of graduates from the college
will be where rigor is accounted for.
If colleges embrace the position with integrity and
rigor, then it is a good policy, in my humble opinion. 

117) We have
four sections of "Preparation for Statistics" running this
semester.
Overall, the department is supportive of alternatives to the
traditional algebra sequence. 

118) I
agree with the statement.
However, I wouldn't agree to developing any
prerequisite courses until we know whether or not the 4year
colleges would accept these prerequisites.


119) Students
do not need algebra to be successful in statistics – it
seems like such a waste to make students take stuff they
won’t use. 

120) Yes, with
reservations:
All of us thought that this was pretty closely if not
fully related to stat pathways, so why not just state that
outright? 

121) I
teach Intermediate Algebra once every decade, to remind
myself how much I hate the outofcontext forcefeeding of
material that is done in a shallow manner. Requiring
this of all our students is such a waste, and the limited
benefits do not justify the enormous toll it has taken on
our nonSTEM students. 

122) I
can already tell you that all 5 agree with the statement.
I know this because, this past year, we created a
course to address just this issue.
The course teaches skills that we feel are needed to
be successful in a beginning stats course.
I
have attached the COR for you.
Students who successfully complete this course are
automatically put through the prerequisite challenge
process and allowed to enroll in Stats the following
semester, bypassing the Int. Alg. requirement.
Last semester was the first in which the new course
was offered, so we are interested in seeing how these
students do in Stats this semester.


123) I
struggled a bit with my decision. I agree with 'Prerequisite
courses other than intermediate algebra can adequately
prepare students for courses of study that do not lead to
calculus’, but not necessarily with the whereasstatements.
Nonetheless, I vote 'Agree'."


124)
I strongly agree with the position. Traditional
intermediate algebra does not prepare students for
statistics. Moreover, it is an road block for students
getting through their transfer level math requirements and
graduating. Requiring traditional intermediate algebra
should only be for Stem majors that require calculus.
Majors not needing calculus do not need traditional
intermediate Algebra. Moreover, this policy has
drastically hurt student success in nonstem majors and
plays a major role in damaging student equity, especially in
minorities. The new position of allowing colleges to
adequately prepare students for Statistics with quality
prestat courses that include basic data analysis, critical
thinking and statistical literacy allows students to not
only get through their college statistics classes at a much
higher level, but also better prepares them with real world
life skills.

201)
Everyone is taking exception to the phrasing “most college
level mathematics courses…”
If the truth is that people want a prestat class,
then we feel the statement should be clear about that.


202)
The Intermediate Algebra for Statistics will be insufficient
for the students that change their majors and want to
progress with a STEM related career options.


203) Back in the 70's students did not say in public,
"I can't do math." They realized that high school math (MATH
XXX) was expected of everyone. At that time certain
educators said that we should not  not pass children
because they haven't passed the material at their grade
level .The trend toward "You're just fine as you are" began.
Then it became acceptable, even fashionable to say, "Oh, I
can't do math."That is where we are now. I think it is very
short sighted of us to support the idea that the average
person does not need the logical thinking skills at the
level of intermediate algebra. 

204)
The conclusion of those at the table is that Ed Code
and our articulation agreements for Stat 300 render the
discussion moot. 

205) I
felt position statement was vague and therefore felt
uncomfortable with it.
For example, trigonometry does not necessarily lead
to calculus, and it certainly requires Algebra II knowledge.
This is not just about statistics. Further, Algebra II is
not that high a hurdle.
Many also felt that the current versions of
alternatives such as Statway and Quantway were not ideal for
numerous reasons, but the one stated here was since if a
student decides to become a STEM major they would need to
backtrack. I
personally would not be against creating a better pathway
that would have sufficient algebra topics to lead to either
Statistics or College Algebra/Trig so that no backtracking
would be needed if the student changed majors. 

206) Is
this a thing?
Addressing this why?
The ultimate statement goes without saying  why say
it? Is this an
effort to let students go straight from Alg. I (not siffic.
for AA) to transfer courses?
If so, then say so (in the whereas's, I guess, but
plainly please).
If it isn't, be prepared for much ado about making
transfer easier than graduating. 

207)
I voted no on the Intermediate Algebra statement from AMATYC
primarily because the wording of "Whereas #4" makes me think
this can be tweaked to eliminate Intermediate Algebra skills
as any sort of prerequisite except for calculus. None of
the wording says anything about substituting an equivalent
level of knowledge or skills, just that "they aren't
needed."
I
fully support the exploration of alternative pathways to
gather data to find out if they really can help students,
which is what we were told was the intent of the statement
when presented to us last year. The wording seems stronger
than that stated intent. 

208)
Encouraging the development of “equivalent” Intermediate
Algebra courses for Statistics pathways will significantly
impact the number of students that would potentially pursue
STEM pathways. 

209) I
disagree because:
1) I don't know what "courses not leading to calculus" are.
Statistics? Finite math? Math XXX?
Anything else? College Algebra??
2) Often completion of intermediate algebra signals a
particular level of mathematical maturity (or, perhaps, just
maturity) that is needed to complete a course such as
statistics. How else do we measure "mathematical
maturity?" I don't know.
3) Such courses as statistics or finite math are meant to be
capstone courses that satisfy a required mastery of
mathematics. Clearly just taking statistics would not
satisfy the same level of mastery of math. So either
bluntly reduce the level of math required, or require
intermediate algebra for those courses. 

210) I
believe that the AMATYC statement is aimed principally at
prerequisites for statistics, even though it doesn't say
that explicitly.
I note that the CID descriptor for statistics (CID
Math 110) lists intermediate algebra as the required
prerequisite, so our stats course must have an interm alg
prereq in order to get CID approval.
<https://cid.net/descriptor_details.html?descriptor=365&submitbtn=Go>


211)
If such a pathway is to be developed, this prerequisite
course should be at a transfer level similar to
prerequisites to get into Calculus. Not at or below transfer
levels. 

212) We
are concerned about the last statement about "...not
required to master the content for most collegelevel
mathematics courses not leading to calculus"
We feel that this course should apply to students
going into Statistics and exclude other courses such as
finite math and math for elementary school teachers which do
require many of the intermediate algebra topics. 

213) We
further have a significant shortage of qualified Statistics
instructors that will teach the course to GAISE and other
standards 

214)
Our current prerequisites are connected with our
articulation agreements and we do not wish to change them.
Besides, we think all students should have a thorough
grounding in intermediate algebra no matter what field of
study they decide to pursue. 

215) I
disagree with the statement that Intermediate Algebra (or
the equivalent) can prepare students for courses of study
not leading to calculus. My reasoning has to do with
what a successful completion of "courses of study" means.
To me a course of study always includes what is standard
high school curriculum. Without intermediate algebra,
students will not have a complete set of "courses of study"
which includes symbolic reasoning along with many other
topics. I am fine with a student not taking
intermediate algebra if they just want job training for a
nonmathematical field, but a bachelor's degree is not about
job training. It is about a wellrounded education. 

216) I
disagree. To
confuse the issue, I'm going to say, "Yes, but it doesn't
matter."
Can a student who has a class other than Intermediate
Algebra (like, say, Statways) succeed in a transferlevel
math class? Of
course they can!
HOWEVER, a college degree should mean that a student has a
minimum base of knowledge.
And, to my mind, that minimum can pretty much be
described by Intermediate Algebra.
I would be ashamed if a graduate from [my college]
couldn’t solve a quadratic equation or sketch the graph of
an exponential function.
So
yes, a student could pass a transferlevel math class
without intermediate algebra, but they shouldn’t be able to
earn a degree without it.


217) In
general, I would say the department is against this idea in
its current popular forms.
I am not sure if we could create a course here that
would be suitable to everyone’s liking that would fit into
this “alternative” to Intermediate Algebra class, but I
think there are a few who are openminded enough to at least
consider it. 

218) I
agree with programs like Statway where there is a great deal
of critical thinking.
However, this statement seems a bit too broad and
general. I
think in general, intermediate algebra works well. 

219) I
would not be in favor of lowering the stats prereq to
[Introductory Algebra],
BUT I am in favor of a two semester cohort that includes a
algebra for stats, followed by a [Statistics] class.
The grades in my [Statistics classes] are usually the
lowest of all of my classes and the students’ algebra
knowledge is usually what hangs them up.
And that is with [Intermediate Algebra] as a prereq.
I
also think that the level of critical thinking involved in
[Statistics] requires some level of mathematical confidence
and maturity.
Sometimes I just hope that the [Intermediate Algebra] takes
them a over the level of math that is required for stats,
but that they will have a confidence in their computation
and focus more on the critical thinking aspects.


220)
What is the purpose of such a course? Is it to get more
students to move on to Statistics? But at our college, we
don’t have an issue with the enrollment of Statistics
courses nor any issues with the students prerequisite
skills. 

221) I say: NO, the above statement is false.
Intermediate Algebra is the first math course that has an
established letter grade associated with the student’s
performance. Secondly, the majority of our students usually
end up taking Intermediate Algebra and then continue down an
academic path that is either math or non math related.
Either way, Intermediate Algebra develops study habits and
work ethics that can be applied to Math courses that our AVC
students will have to take to fulfill their programs
requirement. So therefore I believe that, Intermediate
Algebra “DOES” prepare students for courses of study not
leading to calculus. 

222) I
have discussed this with at least 4 others in the department
previously and all were against it, but did not respond to
this poll. 

223)
There were a lot of concerns with the statement.
Many faculty felt that while there may be some courses that
do not need Int. Algebra, it would not be wise to get rid of
the Int. Algebra prerequisite as there is a certain level
of mathematical maturity that goes along with completing
Intermediate Algebra. Another comment was that it
seems there is an ulterior motive to take the prerequisite
of Intermediate Algebra from Statistics (i.e. pathway to
Stats). The UC will not accept statistics without the
Int. Algebra prereq (from what we understand). It
seems a lot of colleges are moving towards accelerated math
classes, but the majority of our fulltime faculty do not
support this move. 

224) Prerequisites should be
the things that are assumed the student already knows in
order to follow the logic path given in the course.
Nothing will guarantee that the path taught in a course will
be understood by the student taking it. Other expected
prerequisites are ability to read and reason. So far
my observations with respect to reading and reasoning are
that many lack these skills. The idea that having
prerequisites somehow guarantee success is really nonsense
(sort of like the stuff in the letter you forwarded).
I certainly can't say yes to the statements in the letter
(they sound like they were made up by the students I
complain about) perhaps a better thing to say is "if you
don't have the prerequisites then your chances of passing
the course are diminished"... anyway with respect to this
set of statements leading to a very questionable conclusion
... I must say NO. 

225) Many were
uncomfortable with the wording in the statement. I think
everyone agreed that we support alternative courses being
developed for prerequisites of not calculus based courses.
I think there was a strong concern for collecting data and
trying new things but not saying anything in particular
works without supporting data. 

226) Be
more specific.
Say what you're trying to say. 

227) I
vote no ... but I still don't like the way it's worded ...
they seem to be eliciting 

228) Here
is my recommend wording in parentheses:
• The course description and learning outcomes of a
mathematics course determine (consider using "reflect"
instead of determine) the prerequisite level of mathematical
literacy, skills, and knowledge necessary for successful
completion of the course;
• The equivalent content in intermediate algebra courses is
generally (omit "generally") required to master the
content of algebrabased courses leading to calculus; and,
• The equivalent content in intermediate algebra courses is
not required to master the content for most collegelevel
mathematics courses not leading to calculus. (Why is this
statement even here if the second bullet addresses what is
required?????)
If you’re asking for my vote on these, then I disagree.


229) I
absolutely oppose this, as it further waters down the
meaning of a bachelor’s degree.
Being a college graduate should mean being educated
in a wide variety of subjects, not just those narrow
disciplines on one’s major.
You can go to ITT Tech for that.
Anyone who cannot pass our Math 90 course should not
get a BA, pure and simple.
Sounds harsh, but we already have too many educated
fools in this world who only know a lot about one thing.
Further, I detest the concept of “pigeon holing” students.
Two of my own children made major changes in goals
during and after college.
My history major daughter is now working (almost
through we hope) on a Ph.D in chemistry.
Allowing students at age 18 to take a course that
severely limits their future options is bad educational
policy, and just flat wrong! 

230) The
two 'no' answers said that intermediate algebra served as a
measure of mathematical maturity and that abandoning that
would mean that students might not be ready for success in
transfer level courses like statistics. 

231) We
should ask the faculty who teach science to see what it is
they need students to know in their classes.
Some students don't need calculus but they do need to
take intermediate algebra as a prerequisite for the science
classes. An
example would be someone who is going into nursing  needs
some algebra to take nursing chemistry, but how much? 

232) I
disagree with the following statement:
"The equivalent content in intermediate algebra
courses is not required to master the content for most
collegelevel mathematics courses not leading to calculus."
Therefore I disagree with the resolution. 

233) The
problem we’re facing is getting students to use critical
reading, comprehension, and thinking skills to be more
successful in Statistics. It’s not so much their lack of
algebra skills that hinders their progress towards
completion of a Statistics course. 

234) I
think that agreeing with this very rhetorical statement says
that critical thinking skills learned in sophomore level
high school math are not necessary to be successful in a
freshman level college math class.
I
think that sends the wrong message and dumbs down the
community college.
Any student taking freshman statistics at a fouryear
college would have met the minimum math requirement for
admission to the university which is likely greater than the
courses that approving this statement is allowing us to
avoid. Also,
eliminating “Intermediate Algebra” as a prerequisite was a
position favored by
counselors for many years and the Math teachers have
always opposed that philosophy  for whatever that’s worth.
Lastly, I think that agreeing with statement in some way
says that, despite anything we could possibly try to
increase the success of students in the 205/233 and/or
430/240 pathway, we as educators will not be successful and
we should allow an alternate pathway.
I
believe that having high school algebra as an expectation
for college graduates is not too much to ask and that there
are always exceptions we will need to make and to be
sensitive to. I
don’t agree with the statement. 

235) What
does this mean:
"multiple options for students to enter into collegelevel
courses"? I
don't understand the point of this.
I believe that the "mental muscles" formed when
students study algebra are essential to helping them think
critically, analytically, and abstractly.
I suppose it's possible for a course that does this
to exist, but I have yet to see one that does this as well
as algebra. 

236) What
about "finite math"? I would want algebra as a prereq for
that class. 

237) I
disagree with this statement as it leads to the adoption of
the STATWAY and STATPATH curriculum ala Myra Snell which
basically is a preStats course preparing students ONLY for
an Intro to Stats course.
Agreeing with this statement means that students can get an
AA or even a BA with less math than they would need to
graduate from High School.
Furthermore, students often change their majors/their career
paths later in life.
Not requiring them to show some proficiency in
Intermediate Algebra could hinder them in future endeavors.
For example, a student who gets a BA in Psychology but later
decides they want to get an MBA or enter a PhD program in
clinical psychology would be adversely affected by such a
position.


238) 5
out of 6
fulltime math faculty would agree with the first three
parts of the statement, but not with the fourth one. 

239) We
should not be reducing graduation standards for students who
don't plan to take calculus.
The 4 year universities have stated that the
graduation requirement is one course past intermediate
algebra and that intermediate algebra is the prereq for that
course. That
should be the standard for California community colleges. 

240) The
main concern is regarding alternative courses for nonSTEM
courses. Would they be courses from the mathematics
department and what will determine the criteria for meeting
particular math standards even a requirement of intermediate
algebra? 

241)
Although algebra is not necessary, I would like to see some
class that still has "higher order of thinking" as a
prerequisite to prepare out students for college level
courses. 

242)
I would like to vote "Yes", but unfortunately I have
to vote "It Depends".
Many (most) colleges teach a class called
"Intermediate Algebra" that does not contain the same level
of rigor as the one we teach at [this college].
In many cases, these "Intermediate Algebra" classes
are at a low enough level that I think they ARE needed for
any collegelevel course, which would lead to an answer of
"No".
A
more detailed response:
It is my belief that anyone who is described as a
"College Graduate" should be able to solve a quadratic
equation of any kind, graph relatively simple functions, and
work with any NxN system of equations.
At many colleges, that's about the maximum of what
their "Intermediate Algebra" class teaches, in which case I
think it should be required for anyone who wants to
graduate. At my
college, [Intermediate Algebra] goes significantly beyond
that, and I believe it does an excellent job of placing
students on the path to Calculus, but many of the parts of
Intermediate Algebra aren't necessary for someone who plans to take [Mathematical
Ideas and Applications] (for example).
So
if I am answering for [my college], I would vote "Yes".
If
I am answering for California overall, I would vote "No".
Bullets 1 and 3 look all right to me.
I would not support 4 because it's not just the
content of Intermediate Algebra that is required to succeed
in most collegelevel math course,
it is the sophistication level.
Students who can't think in terms of inverse
processes or don't understand the information contained in a
graph will have problems in most college level math courses.
And the courses will drift back to what we have been
trying to get away from  learning mechanical processes
without understanding them.
Since we have to go all or nothing, I will vote no. 

243) Some
members were concerned about courses like
finite math and linear algebra and how they would fit
into this position statement. 

244) If
the statement mentioned statistics, which I think is what
this is about, I would abstain, but since it doesn't, I vote
NO. 

245) My
vote is No. This would give us a total headache trying
to keep straight who does what, and what they can take, etc.
More importantly, a course like this will close doors
to students, so if they decide late to take College Algebra
or Precalculus, they would need to take Intermediate Algebra
or reassess. 

246) I
vote no. I don't feel that intermediate algebra is
somehow this insurmountable challenge for students, and I
don't like courses that only lead to one other specific
course, rather than many. 

247) It
is our department's understanding that in California, one
implication of this is that, as per Title 5, any course at
the level of Intermediate Algebra must have Elementary
Algebra as a prerequisite. 

248) I
disagree with the therefore of the statement.
Intermediate algebra (or the equivalent) should be a
prereq for all college level math courses.
My issue is with the last bullet of the whereas
section. I don’t believe that that is true. Let me clarify. By my agreeing to saying other courses than intermediate algebra being OK, it does not mean I approve STATWAY. I believe in changing some of the material currently in intermediate to material more appropriate to non STEM majors. I hope this makes my viewpoint more clear. 

249) No,
I did not like the 4th bullet.

301) I agree overall with the final statement. I abstained
from voting because of the fourth "whereas" point, as it
could be interpreted as "none" of the content in
intermediate algebra is needed for most collegelevel class
not leading to calculus. If it said "not all content in
intermediate algebra…" I would have voted yes. 

302) I
need to know what a college degree means before I can answer
that question.
It is becoming more and more evident that my previous notion
of holding a degree tells the world a person is capable of
developing proficiency in difficult tasks and wrapping their
brain around complex ideas is false.
If
this statement is intended for K12, then I say NAY because
1) it is too early for younger students/parents to make the
choice,
2) the staffing struggle for K12 will be exacerbated by the
expanded options, and
3) the adjustment to Common Core will take K12 at least a
couple of years to become satisfactory.
If
this statement is intended for post high school curriculum,
then I say YEA. 

303)
Concerns were raised about the vagueness of the language. 

304) I
abstained due to the convoluted wording. 

305)
For me, there are too many unknowns that need to be
answered before we remove math 107 as the prereq for
courses like 117 and 114. Most of the 107 algebraic skills
are not really necessary for 117 or 114 and removing the
prereq would get more students through 114 or 117. But
do we change the assessment levels for those courses also?
Will 4 year schools still accept 114 and 117 as IGETC ?
I don't know. 

306)
Agree with the final statement.
However, I do not completely agree with the whereas
statements about the content of intermediate algebra.
Also, it is important to make sure that before
prerequisites are changed that the 4 year institutions would
accept this modified prerequisite.


307)
"While I do not necessarily disagree with the 'therefore'
statement, I am not in full agreement with the last
'whereas' statement, hence the choice to abstain".
(fullfaculty member) 

308) One
response was “what did the AMATYC statement even mean??”
Apparently it was not clear to everyone. 

309) With
reference to "learning outcomes", does it refer to the 3 or
4 SLO's departments have set for each of their courses or a
broader meaning desired after completing a course. If the
position is the narrow limited SLO's that we measure, then
that has to be clearly presented to the department. 

310)
Concerns were raised about the vagueness of the language.


311)
I am not sure, so I abstain. This leaves me with very
mixed emotions. 

312)
One colleague abstained because in principle, he
wants an alternative, but would preferred cooperation with
other disciplines and mathematical guidelines.


313) One
of the Aye’s added that the issue should be decided on a
coursebycourse basis, and the same reasoning provoked the
Nay [from another person]. 

314) I
abstain because Many courses such as finite math,
statistics, liberal art mathematics for teachers, none of
which lead to calculus need intermediate algebra.


315) We,
as a department, will probably parse the meanings of the
position because it is, at least, unclear to me the premise
of the whereas is acceptable.
