The typical ambitious high school student takes advanced algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus and calculus. None of that math may be necessary for the vast majority of undergraduates who don’t intend to major in science or another STEM field.
But those same students don’t have many of the math skills that professors think they actually do need. In a survey, humanities, arts and social science professors say they really want their students to be able to analyze data, create charts and spreadsheets and reason mathematically – skills that high school math courses often skip or rush through.
“We still need the traditional algebra-to-calculus curriculum for students who are intending a STEM major,” said Gary Martin, a professor of mathematics education at Auburn University in Alabama who led the team that conducted this survey of college professors. “But that’s maybe 20 percent. The other 80 percent, what about them?”
This story about high school math was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.
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