Math competency changes may be in store for Simpson

by Noel TreibelStaff Writer

The Math Department has proposed making a few changes in the math competency requirements for students.

The new competency will allow students to apply their skills into other areas of life.

Old competency requirements consisted of a score of 20 or higher in the math section of the ACT exam or completion of the intermediate algebra course, Math 110.

However, the new requirements propose students having a math ACT score of 20 or higher or the student needs to complete Math 130: College Algebra or a new course, Math 105.

“It has not passed yet,” said Professor of Mathematics Martha Allen Waggoner. “We anticipate it will pass.”

Along with changing course requirements for the competency, the Math Department is planning to completely rename the competency.

“Another very important change is the name of the competency,” Waggoner said. “It is currently called math competency, and it requires an understanding of algebra. The new competency will be quantitative literacy competency, and it requires an understanding of quantitative analysis, not algebra.”

These changes have been developed on behalf of the needs of math students on campus. Simpson professors were surveyed on how math would be used in other courses to make these students successful. From these surveys, the Math Department developed changes that will help students in every area.

“We modeled this based on the needs of our own college,” Waggoner said.

Along with the survey, the Math Department received input from other departments about skills that students would use in other classes and what other professors wanted students to learn from math classes.

“They’re trying to prepare students for life beyond college and grad school,” said senior Jean Clipperton, a math major and math undergraduate assistant. “They’re trying to prepare students to succeed. They want students to be prepared to take the GRE and be prepared to succeed in life. (The new math competency) will be more beneficial to the students than the current course.”

Richard Spellerberg, professor of mathematics and Math Department chair explained that about one out of three students haven’t met competency for mathematics. The new competency requirements will stray away from the algebra base and focus on more of the elementary math, such as working with data and spread sheets.

“This should have more relevance for students,” Spellerberg said. “It should help students who have not met competency.”

The new competency requirements have not been passed yet and there are some steps that need to be taken before it will take effect. The new requirements have to go through a committee and then through the faculty for approval.