California Mathematics Council Community Colleges    

Results of the Survey on Alternative Pathways

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:


  • The prerequisites of a mathematics course should be those appropriate to providing a foundation for student success in that course; 
  • The course description and learning outcomes of a mathematics course 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 required to master the content of algebra-based courses leading to calculus; and,
  • The equivalent content in intermediate algebra courses is not required to master the content for most college-level mathematics courses not leading to calculus.


Prerequisite courses other than intermediate algebra can prepare students for courses of study not leading to calculus.


Survey Results:  

     Yes Votes:  331

     No Votes:  252

     Abstentions:  161

Click Here for the list of colleges that filled out this survey form


Comments In Favor of the Statement


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 4-Yes 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 non-STEM 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.
    At our college, we have implemented an Algebra for Statistics course. 40% of students who took Algebra for Statistics in 2013 (instead of Beginning and Intermediate Algebra) successfully completed a college level math class within 1.5 years, compared to only 9% of students who took Beginning Algebra in 2013.
    This data is similar to results at other community colleges across California as published in April 2014 by The Research & Planning Group for California Community Colleges in "Curricular Redesign and Gatekeeper Completion: A Multi-College Evaluation of the California Acceleration Project". 


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 re-wording 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 non-STEM 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 4-year 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 out-of-context force-feeding 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 non-STEM 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 pre-requisite 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 whereas-statements. 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 non-stem 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 pre-stat 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. 



Comments Against the Statement


201)   Everyone is taking exception to the phrasing “most college level mathematics courses…”  If the truth is that people want a pre-stat 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 C-ID descriptor for statistics (C-ID Math 110) lists intermediate algebra as the required prerequisite, so our stats course must have an interm alg prereq in order to get C-ID approval.  <> 


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 college-level 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 non-mathematical field, but a bachelor's degree is not about job training.  It is about a well-rounded 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 transfer-level 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 transfer-level 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 open-minded 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 pre-req 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 pre-req. 

    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 pre-requisite 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 pre-requisite of Intermediate Algebra from Statistics (i.e. pathway to Stats).  The UC will not accept statistics without the Int. Algebra pre-req (from what we understand).  It seems a lot of colleges are moving towards accelerated math classes, but the majority of our full-time 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 pre-requisites 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
a certain response ... like they are trying to get around intermediate algebra for math competency.  Anyway, that's my vote ... it would have been better to discuss this at the meeting, I think.  I would like to know why they are asking the question ... I feel like my vote is uninformed.  


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 algebra-based courses leading to calculus; and,

 • The equivalent content in intermediate algebra courses is not required to master the content for most college-level 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 college-level 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 four-year 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 college-level 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 pre-Stats 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  full-time 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 non-STEM 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 college-level 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 college-level 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 pre-req 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. 






Comments from the Abstentions


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 college-level 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 K-12, then I say NAY because

1) it is too early for younger students/parents to make the choice,

2) the staffing struggle for K-12 will be exacerbated by the expanded options, and

3) the adjustment to Common Core will take K-12 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 pre-req 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". (full-faculty 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 course-by-course 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. 

Additional Comments  
Comments as a Yes

1.  For example; for Math for Elementary School Teachers, Statistics, and Math Appreciation, a solid Elementary Algebra (5 u) is sufficient.

2.   I'll respond, "Yes: The equivalent content in intermediate algebra courses is not required to master the content for most college-level mathematics courses not leading to calculus."  By this I mean, that not all of the Intermediate Algebra material is needed for Statistics, but some of it is.

Here's what I can think of at the moment:

Material that is needed for statistics:

 For linear regression, they should understand the equation of a straight line and know how to plot it.

 They need to know evaluate rational equations and expressions with square roots.

 They should understand exponential expressions, in order to understand the Poisson distribution, even

though that is optional for our course. It could be covered in the course, or they could need it in a later course on in their work.

 They need to understand the summation notion and how to evaluate a finite sum.

 Factorials and geometric sequences are used in binomial distributions.

 Distributive law.

Material that is not needed for Statistics:

 Factoring polynomials.

 Solving the quadratic equation.

 Solving radial equations for x

 Solving rational equations for x

3.   I see the can of worms this will open. I will say YES, but it will be interesting to see what prerequisite course

other than intermediate algebra will surface that can be rigorous enough to still fulfill graduation requirements in math.

Comments as a No

1.  One of the things that the prerequisite course of intermediate algebra helps develop for (say) a statistics student is "mathematical sophistication" and the ability to follow a series of technical steps to lead to a desired conclusion. The content is important, but so is the mode of thinking.

2.  I disagree. The premise of the argument is that remedial math courses should be designed based around the mathematical prerequisite of a particular math course in the student's future. This is extremely narrow. There is a minimal mathematical ability which should be assumed for college students period. Do students in classes other than mathematics never need mathematics? Does a history student never need to understand the concepts of economic inflation or dating methods for radioactive decay? Does a psychology student never need to understand the statistical basis of studies and the mathematical models used therein? Should a liberal arts major not know how to compute a percentage increase or understand the path that a ball follows when it is thrown? Just because no math course requires that a student be able to do contextual analysis of a work of literature, it doesn't mean that English shouldn't be expected of every college student in the US. Since when did a college education become a matter of learning as little as possible to get a piece of paper for which one has learned as little as possible?

3.  Intermediate Algebra is far more than an algebra course. It requires students to think analytically and problem solve that is not done in other courses.

4.  Probability is more important than logs for liberal arts students. However, a certain level of mathematics knowledge should be expected of any education person.

5.  There would need to be a predefined level of rigor for the non-intermediate algebra courses.

Comments as an Abstain

1.  I think that this is a question that ought to be asked of teacher's in non-math departments. If a student wants to major in chemistry, it seems to me possible that intermediate algebra might be a requirement, but not calculus. If this is the case, I'd go as far as to say NO to the statement. If it is not required for the essential courses in chemistry or any other discipline not requiring calculus, I'd be inclined to say YES. I am just unsure, as I am not familiar with every one of the other disciplines.

2.  There do need to be standards set.

3.  However, I feel that once all high schools create these "other" courses, then we should implement them too. Right now, most high schools are offering a traditional Alg. 2 course. If the state feels every student graduating high school needs Alg. 2 in order to be successful in any work/academic pathway after graduating, the why should we be any different? This is my gray area.

Colleges that Filled out the Survey Form

Listed alphabetically starting with the 2nd letter
Cabrillo College
Sacramento City College
Saddleback College
Taft College
Lake Tahoe Community College
Bakersfield College
Palomar College
San Diego Miramar College
San Joaquin Delta College
San Jose City College
Cañada College
Laney College
Santa Ana College
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Rosa Junior College
Napa Valley College
Hartnell College
Las Positas College
Lassen College
East Los Angeles College
Gavilan College
De Anza College
Feather River College
Reedley College
Mendocino College
Ventura College
Merced College
Berkeley City College
Merritt College
Cerro Coso College
West Hills College
Chabot College
Shasta College
Ohlone College
Victor Valley College
Sierra College
Mission College
City College of San Francisco
Skyline College
Glendale College
Allan Hancock College
American River College
Antelope Valley College
Modesto Junior College
Solano Community College
Golden West College
College of Alameda
College of Marin
College of San Mateo
College of the Canyons
College of the Desert
College of the Sequoias
College of the Siskiyous
Folsom Lake College
Columbia College
Monterey Peninsula College
Contra Costa College
Woodland Community College
Foothill College
Porterville College
Los Angeles Mission College
Los Angeles Pierce College
Los Angeles SouthWest College
Los Medanos College
Cosumnes River College
Fresno City College
Yuba College
Cuesta College
Butte College
Evergreen Valley College
Cypress College

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