college algebra, developmental mathematics, embedded remediation, quantitative literacy, regression, social justice
Courses in developmental and introductory mathematics are changing. Because nearly all students need mathematics coursework to graduate from a postsecondary institution, yet institutions consistently struggle to ensure that students of all demographics succeed in credit-bearing mathematics courses, student success in such courses may be viewed as an issue of social justice. In particular, there is a need for institutions to provide pathways through college-level mathematics courses that meet the needs of students with a wide array of incoming mathematical knowledge and skills. In light of questions about pedagogy, pass rates, and effects on degree completion time, some institutions have moved away from requiring students to enroll in non-credit-bearing developmental mathematics courses. At Michigan State University, college-level courses in both Quantitative Literacy and College Algebra now directly enroll students who previously would have placed into Intermediate Algebra. Accompanying this shift in access are changes in course structure and content; during the 2017-2018 academic year, some course sections included an extra class meeting to help students bridge gaps in their requisite skills. While the corequisite model is an intuitive approach to supporting student learning, essentially increasing time on task and identifying needed requisite skills “just in time,” these quantitative analyses show little evidence for these course sections improving students’ course grades. In this context, the role and type of corequisite, supplemental instruction that best supports learning for a diverse group of students in introductory undergraduate mathematics courses remains in question. We discuss potential reasons for these results in light of existing reports on corequisite models and situate the results in the context of what social justice and equity might look like for corequisite models of introductory mathematics coursework.
Matz, Rebecca L., and Samuel L. Tunstall. "Embedded Remediation Is Not Necessarily a Pathway for Equitable Access to Quantitative Literacy and College Algebra: Results from a Pilot Study." Numeracy 12, Iss. 2 (2019): Article 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5038/1936-4622.214.171.124
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