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University System Weighs Gutting Math Standards After Students Keep Failing Algebra

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The Kansas Board of Regents is considering stripping specific university math requirements after it was found that a significant percentage of college freshmen fail algebra, NPR affiliate KCUR reported.

The Regents, who oversee the system’s six public universities, are considering implementing the Math Pathways approach which matches students to a math course based on their major instead of mandating algebra for all incoming students. While many universities require that all freshmen pass algebra as a prerequisite for graduation, one in three Kansas students reportedly fail the course, which could delay a student’s graduation.

Daniel Archer, vice president of academic affairs for the Kansas Board of Regents, said that algebra is not always necessary for many students. Only 20% of majors require higher-level math beyond algebra, KCUR reported.

“We’re sending the majority of students down the college algebra road, which is really not necessary,” Archer said. “It’s not practical. It’s not really needed. And it’s not relevant for their fields.”

The Math Pathways approach offers students the option of taking alternatives to algebra such as statistics and quantitative reasoning, according to its 2018 brief. Its summary claims that algebra is a “gatekeeper to higher education for students not majoring in a math-heavy field.”

The program aims to “accelerat[e] students’ path through developmental math and enables them to take different paths through the math curriculum depending on their course of study.”

“You’re trying to base (course requirements) on the skills that are needed in that … professional career,” Archer continued. “If you’re going to major in political science, you’d be far better suited to take a stats class.”

A view of the University of Kansas campus. (Screenshot/Youtube/The University of Kansas)

Regent Wint Winter said that revising the math standards should be a top priority, reported KCUR.

“It’s incumbent on us to be aware of all the roadblocks that are out there for students … reasons why they’re leaving, reasons why they’re not graduating,” he said.

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girad, however, said that the university does “not have the bandwidth to do everything.” He stated that universities are already reworking educational frameworks and conducting a system-wide review of programs and degrees.

“We just keep layering on project after project, and these are not one-and-dones,” he claimed.

The University of Kansas, all Regents, Girad and Archer did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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4 Comments

  1. Damned liberal apologists at it again. Participation trophies, safe spaces, therapy puppies for college students that can no longer process conflict. Can’t pass a basic math course, heck, we’ll just eliminate it instead of actually teaching. We won’t hold the public “high schools”or their teachers accountable. Let’s just get on with teaching diversity (except in thought), inclusion (except white people, men, or Christians), and equity (which means whatever I want it to mean).
    This country is failing. failing it’s students, failing it’s citizens, and failing the modern world.

  2. This is why so many college degrees nowadays are worthless. The standards have been lowered so much over the years that anyone can get a degree. College Algebra is essentially 9th Grade math. If they cannot do 9th Grade math then they dont deserve to be in college. Walmart Greeter or flipping burgers at McDonalds would be a more appropriate choice.

  3. As a graduate of a Kansas high school and the University of Kansas I am appalled that such an action ins being considered. I was not a math major but successfully completed both algebra and trigonometry in college. I went into the fields of political science, business, and education during my working years. I cannot say I used my algebra skills every day but they were an integral part of my work. I first took algebra as a high school freshman and never had trouble. We need to look at the lower grades before we drop it at the higher grades.

  4. Lowering the standards has never and will never work. It starts in the elementary and middle schools. National test scores released this year show the largest math declines ever recorded for fourth and eighth grade students across the country, while reading levels dropped to the lowest level since 1992.
    The results are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “nation’s report card,” which tests hundreds of fourth and eighth graders and was administered for the first time since 2019. The results are considered the first nationally represented study of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on learning.

    The findings show math scores for eighth graders fell in nearly every state, with the average math score dropping eight points since 2019, from 282 to 274, out of a possible 500. The average math score for fourth graders fell by five points. In reading, both grades’ averages fell three points. Researchers say a 10-point decline or gain is equivalent to about a year of learning. These studies point to the pandemic’s impact on learning but we all know that if not for the lockdown’s “zoom learning” protocols parents would largely still be unaware of the horrific indoctrination and CRT and “gender fluidity” training their children were receiving. I say that this is the real reason for the dismal performance of our schools from college down to elementary school and all levels need to show a dramatic refocus on “Reading, Writing, and Math” and not political ideology.

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