Monday, December 12, 2016

Michigan State Drops Algebra Requirement

This summer, Michigan State announced that they will drop college algebra as a general-education requirement, replacing it with quantitative-literacy classes:
Michigan State University has revised its general-education math requirement so that algebra is no longer required of all students. The revision reflects an increasing view on college campuses that there is no one-size-fits-all math curriculum -- and that math is often best studied in connection with everyday life...

Now, students can fulfill the requirement by taking two quantitative literacy courses that place math in a real-world context. They also still have the option of taking algebra along with another math course of their choice -- whether a quantitative-literacy course or a more traditional course like trigonometry.


  1. There are arguments for and against this policy. College algebra (really high school algebra) as a terminal math course (for non STEM majors) really is a waste of teacher and student time. QR actually calls for more thinking. I must admit to my prejudice: see, read preface and first chapter at MAA web page linked there.

    1. I might agree on the "terminal math course" assertion, but otherwise I will have to disagree. If we're giving high school, and now college, diplomas to people who cannot (as you say) accomplish high school algebra, that's a sign of our society's exploding lunacy. As far as I can see, QR is an excuse to (a) reduce the required level of math to what should be around 3rd-grade, and (b) mask the fact that many college students can't even do that by wrapping it in required "group" work.