Oklahoma public higher education institutions are offering three new college-level mathematics course alternatives to the traditional College Algebra course: Quantitative Reasoning, Functions and Modeling, and Elementary Statistics. The new course alternatives are a result of recommendations from the State Regents’ Mathematics Success Group to make mathematics more relevant to all students’ studies.
The new general education mathematics courses incorporate the type of math students need for their respective majors. Students gaining experience in alternate math pathways that support statistics, quantitative reasoning, or modeling will be able to directly apply these skills in their major, future jobs and lives.
“Each public college and university has implemented its own variant of multiple mathematics pathways,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These options, which provide an alternative to college algebra as the default introductory math course, build from each institution’s history, program offerings and priorities.”
Rather than requiring all students to take the same math course, faculty are tailoring the “right math” with the “right major” so students can pursue a math course sequence that will better prepare them to apply the math content learned in their chosen careers. The Mathematics Success Group and campus faculty view the new math course alternatives as a “win-win-win” — students win by learning the aspects of math they need to be competent in their career fields; employers win by having employees who better understand how to apply math content within their industry; and institutions win by assisting students to successfully complete their degrees and enter the workforce faster.
In November 2015, the Charles A. Dana Center of the University of Texas invited Oklahoma to join five other states to receive support and consultation in pursuing math pathways for the state system through the Math Pathways to Completion grant project. With a designated Dana Center liaison and structured assistance, the Oklahoma Math Pathways Task Force reviewed state data, trends and opportunities related to math pathways. Oklahoma completed the project in November 2018 with the development of four gateway mathematics courses, co-requisite course models, reformation of assessment and placement policies, and initial steps toward the development of coherent mathematics pathways across postsecondary institutions.