OT: Dovetailing on MSU's largest class ever, they remove math requirement for degree

Submitted by chuck bass on June 6th, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Thousands of MSU students couldn't pass remedial math (9th-10th grade algebra?), so rather than not accepting such weak students in the first place, MSU is just getting rid of university-level math requirement for degrees. Wayne State made a similar move a couple of years ago.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/2018/06/06/michigan-state-university-gets-rid-remedial-math-msu-developmental-lcc/664895002/

Comments

Bando Calrissian

June 6th, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^

Lest I cast the first stone, recalling how I struggled to pass the online math test required of anyone who wanted to pass what was essentially high school pre-calc during my senior year at Michigan... Ended up bailing into the lowest-level, easiest stats course I could find. I couldn't hack it.

In other words, don't always assume otherwise smart people have it in their brain to pull through basic math as a matter of course. And don't leave the math requirement until the end if you're decidedly not a math person.

bgoblue02

June 6th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

Listen - i don't expect everyone to get through calc, linear algebra for dif eqs; but having enough basic math to balance your check book, understanding compound interest and amortizing loans feels like an absolute MUST. 

Now you could say that colleges don't teach that now and I agree, but change it to be life math instead and make it absolutely required.  

bgoblue02

June 6th, 2018 at 4:54 PM ^

eh not quite; it sounds even more remedial:  

"Students whose majors don't involve heavy math or science can now take quantitative literacy classes, in which lessons focus on real-life applications of math such as calculating millage rates or converting different units of measurement"

I mean converting units of measurement is what you have Alexa for; millage rates are the most basic of multiplication / division.  Both of those are FAR more basic "life" math. 

Teaching someone that there is a difference whether an extra payment goes towards principal (like a mortgage) or is a pre-payment (like student loans) and what the financial impact of that is way more important than converting cups to ounces. 

Mike Damone

June 6th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

They are offering "Math Pathways", or per the article, "Alternative Paths" to fulfill graduation requirements.

"Students whose majors don't involve heavy math or science can now take quantitative literacy classes, in which lessons focus on real-life applications of math such as calculating millage rates or converting different units of measurement."

This is just fucking sad!  Let's be accommodating to those losers who can't do Algebra!  Love the direction university administrators are heading these days...

They are going to get the reputation back as a "Cow College" or "Moo U", as we used to say back in the day...

FauxMo

June 6th, 2018 at 11:54 AM ^

I could have told you they were bad at math. They think one Brandon Gibbons = dozens of forcible rapes and other sexual assaults... 

CaptChuck

June 6th, 2018 at 11:54 AM ^

Maybe I am missing something, but the article states that they are removing the class that does not count towards their degree and replacing it with two classes that do.  Also, it sounds more like it was an issue with the class it self and the online nature of it more then anything.  I am always for piling on MSU sports, but in this case it sounds like they are correcting problem with a better solution.

Mike Damone

June 6th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

Read on, Captain - when they start talking about "alternative math pathways", it is college speak for "let's be politically correct and understanding to those students who don't understand math, but do have a checkbook (or more likely, parents with one) and can write the correct dollar amount in the box".

They are using Lansing Community College as a benchmark.

Pile on - they deserve it.  

CaptChuck

June 6th, 2018 at 12:09 PM ^

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this is a good thing, just the fact that it is taking a bad situation and making it slightly not as bad.  And we all know admitting there is a problem is the first step in correcting it.  However a four year university should never model their programs after community colleges, they need to be better then that.  And if the student's struggle with a better prepared remedial class, then maybe a four year university is not for them.

oriental andrew

June 6th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

Nice job of posting half the story, making it seem like they're doing away with the math requirement altogether. 

In fact, they're dropping the primarily online remedial math course and replacing it with two new math classes which are done in person. Also, the remedial class didn't count toward grad credits, while the new classes do. 

chuck bass

June 6th, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

The article states "pass rates for in-person sections of the class were similar."

Read between the lines. Admissions standards were just lowered to admit their largest class ever, now they're lowering degree requirements to keep bottom quartile students enrolled and inflate graduation rates. Next announcement will be a big % increase in cost of attendance. Cash-strapped diploma mill.

SinCityWolverine

June 6th, 2018 at 5:34 PM ^

I think having everything in-class helps a lot. It's easier to grasp the concepts and it's better to have a fixed time for the freshmen who haven't been able to develop time management skills yet. That class can be a huge road block for a lot of people. I've seen a fair amount of kids drop out because of a similar course at UNLV. If switching it to two classes makes it easier to learn, then that's good for the students and not just the bottom line (but it will help). Those bottom quartile students still have about 40 other classes to get through so they will still fail if they're not cut out for college. 

SFBlue

June 6th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

This is a really bad trend. When math skills that should be learned in high school are deferred to college, but then abandoned altogether, I think it detracts from what it means to be college educated. You need to have a basic understanding of math to grapple with credit cards, mortgage, savings, and dozens of other important decisions. 

NittanyFan

June 6th, 2018 at 1:04 PM ^

Serious question --- isn't it possible to get a BS (in some LSA majors) from the University of Michigan without getting any credits in Mathematics?

That's how I read the "Quantitative Reasoning" requirement.  You need credits from courses in the "quantitative reasoning" but it doesn't require any of those credits be in Math/Statistics.

I actually don't think that's overly unusual either.  Penn State, school I know best --- to get a undergrad degree there is a "Quantification Courses" requirement but those classes need not be Math or Statistics.  

 

PopeLando

June 6th, 2018 at 1:43 PM ^

Mmm that's probably a no for a BS. For a BA, my experiences suggest that taking Calc 1 is in fact the EASIEST method of satisfying the quant requirement at Michigan. 

For instance, I only took Calc 1 (a decision O regret to this day). I also took statistics,  econometrics, statistics of economics,  accounting,  etc. Those classes fulfill the quant requirement, but they are hard. Very hard.

I also took an Astronomy class for natural sciences, but it would have counted towards quant as well (I think...it's been over a decade). The math required in that class was also hard - to my memory, harder than calc.

Long story short, you'll hear a lot of whining from some LSA artsy types about needing math...but life needs math. A lot of it.

bgoblue02

June 7th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

I don't know if its possible to get a BS without taking a math, or a hard math like class (phsyics, etc).  

I can't remember the exact amount but I am pretty sure to get a BS vs. the default BA I think you have to have 60 credits of classes that are BS classes; which are your maths, stats, sciences and Econ.  Of the science world you have:

Physics - Lotsa math, and probably a calc requirement

Chemestry - Never took any college classes but I have to assume there is math in there somewhere 

Biology - Maybe this is your best shot?  I don't know how math heavy biology is, but perhaps there is a way that this would satisfy your BS without a true quantitative class.

Econ - 1) lots of math involved, I am pretty sure a calc requirement, and 2) defaults to a BA so you would have to add something, probably more math classes if you wanted a BS 

So sure, I bet its possible to do, but I think the amount of credit math you would have to do to make it work, would qualify as a math class.  

bgoblue02

June 7th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

I don't know if its possible to get a BS without taking a math, or a hard math like class (phsyics, etc).  

I can't remember the exact amount but I am pretty sure to get a BS vs. the default BA I think you have to have 60 credits of classes that are BS classes; which are your maths, stats, sciences and Econ.  Of the science world you have:

Physics - Lotsa math, and probably a calc requirement

Chemistry - Never took any college classes but I have to assume there is math in there somewhere 

Biology - Maybe this is your best shot?  I don't know how math heavy biology is, but perhaps there is a way that this would satisfy your BS without a true quantitative class.

Econ - 1) lots of math involved, I am pretty sure a calc requirement, and 2) defaults to a BA so you would have to add something, probably more math classes if you wanted a BS 

So sure, I bet its possible to do, but I think the amount of credit math you would have to do to make it work, would qualify as a math class.  

bronxblue

June 6th, 2018 at 2:36 PM ^

Honestly, I don't blame them.  These remedial math courses are almost universally taught poorly, especially online.  They are taught in a very particular way that can make seemingly-simple material hard to follow, and so I don't blame people who aren't inclined to like the material anyway further confused by a muddled instructions about it. 

MSU has a lot of problems (covering up numerous sexual assaults, teachers trying to fuck Basset hounds, the general Sparty-ness of the establishment), but I credit them for moving away from the online course and breaking it into two classes that people have to do in person.

gustave ferbert

June 6th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

Does anyone remember the movie "Up the Creek"?  A combo "Porky's" and "Animal House" movie where if a group of students win a boat race, they get degrees of their choice??

This reminds me of that. . .