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Topic: Questkion about Expiration Date on Courses > course readiness tests
Replies: 3   Last Post: Jan 10, 2012 2:07 PM

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Clyde Greeno @ MALEI

Posts: 220
Registered: 9/13/10
Re: Questkion about Expiration Date on Courses > course readiness tests
Posted: Jan 10, 2012 11:32 AM
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Beth et al:

Thanks for sharing the draft.

The envisioned paper appears to be a recommendation for what colleges "should" do ... in a way that does not seem to open the gate for AMATYC to later follow through in any worthy way. Position papers of that kind are easily ignored ... which does more to diminish AMATYC's influence than to enhance it.

By focusing on time lapses, that statement appears to proffer a degree of progress toward reducing one possible factor in a very serious, but much more comprehensive dilemma.

The underlying and central issue is that, for most collegiate courses in mathematics, legitimate scholastic success (I.e. earning scores, grades, and credits ... in contrast to using pleas, bribes, tears, etc.) requires that the student *own* a certain body of knowledge and powers *before* entering the course. The horrendous rate of non-success is largely due to students enrolling in courses for which they are under-prepared at the time of entry.

Allowing under-prepared students to enroll in the course is a gross disservice to them. If they flounder, the experience will undermine their confidence, hopes, aspirations, and potentials ... if not their wallets. It could drastically affect their financial aid. It certainly affects the rate of retention.

Allowing such enrollment also is a misappropriation of precious funds. Even when students pay full tuition, that amount normally does not come close to covering the costs of serving the student. In that sense, someone else is paying the rest of the bill ... as a de facto "scholarship" for anyone who enrolls. The resulting monetary waste at some colleges is large enough to warrant federal investigation. Would the college lose money by screening its math students? Probably not ... most would enroll in the lower courses ... be successful, and then continue.

The draft attends only one possible cause for such under-preparedness ... the time lapse. Apparently, the assertion that time lapse is a major contributor to under-preparedness is far more a matter of conjecture than of evidence.

There are other possible causes of under-preparedness that are just as worthy of attention. The list of possible causes might be rather lengthy ... especially if carried out with any attempt at precise details.

Trying to address one, some, or all of the causes for under-preparedness ignores the crux of the dilemma. The central problem is of how best to reduce the rate of enrollment of students who are under-prepared.

It is worse than wasteful for AMATYC to monkey around on the perimeter of major issues. Trying to "correct" something that might or might not be an important cause is a straw man. But its pursuit also undermines the potential effectiveness of future efforts to cope with more substantial problems.

Far better if the AMATYC Committee would broaden its scope so as to more directly address the fundamental issue (rather than one of its possible causes):
what are the ills of allowing under-prepared students to enroll in a math class ... and what mechanisms might better ensure that students are duly prepared for courses in which they enroll.

The substance of the draft might thus be incorporated into the greater document. Moreover, that would open the door for AMATYC take several kinds of follow through actions ... including funded projects.


From: Beth Edmonds
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:09 AM
To: Clyde Greeno @ MALEI ;
Cc: ; Buller, Connie ; Coe, William
Subject: RE: Questkion about Expiration Date on Courses > course readiness tests

Amanda, Clyde, and Peter;

Connie Buller sent me a copy of the draft statement for the AMATYC position statement on time limits and I have attached it to this email. I am interested to hear any comments you have on the statement but also on the topic of this thread which was Amanda's original query.

I also need to correct I mistake. Because I was communicating about another topic in another thread which included Jim Ham yesterday, I mistakenly told you it was he that was composing the statement. It was/is Bill Coe whom I have CC'd for this email. I apologize for the mistake.


Beth A. Edmonds

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Johnson County Community College

913-469-8500 ext 4783

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