(Advising comments by
Professor Margaret Latimer, Dept. Chair Mathematics, Germantown)
Based on what I have seen,
students fall very roughly into the following categories:
Six categories of math students:
A. Absolutely convinced
they will never do anything that needs math AND not strong in math
and/or hate math :( (Art history major, English major....)
B. Absolutely convinced
that they don't want to have anything to do with math or don't know what
they want to do, not strong in math, but just maybe there's a major out
there (fashion design?) that might use a bit of math.
sure what they want to do and are pretty neutral about math, or may even
like it (I swoon). ("...had an awesome pre-calculus teacher my senior
year..." but placed into intermediate algebra.)
D. Know they need math (business
majors, ed majors) but not strong in math/don't like it
E. Know they need math
(business majors, etc.) and placed into intermediate algebra because
they've been away from algebra for a year or more, or they "just didn't
do anything in high school."
F. Need math (engineering,
math, physics, chemistry...) like it or not.
All of the students should
understand that MA103 will give them more options.
That said, I see advising
students as follows:
MA101 OR MA103?
Any student with a C in
MA091 should be encouraged to take MA101, even if their goal is a PhD in
physics. (If there are extenuating circumstances and a student takes
Fast Track. etc.....there may be exceptions.)
Categories A and B - take
MA101, with the caveat that if they change mind/major, they may need
MA103, but will find it a much easier course if they have passed MA101.
C - depending on accuplacer or MA091 grade, and their motivational,
organizational, and procrastinational coefficients (we're working on
quantifying those), these students should be encouraged to take MA103.
Low-range of MA101/3 accuplacer or B in MA091 and struggled for
that....should go to MA101.
Categories D, E, and F need MA103.
Again, low-range accuplacer or weak in 091....the best advice
may be to take the two semester approach.
I do think taking MA101 and passing it, then continuing to
the taste of success, fresh, will be a good idea for some students. Failure
doesn't tend to inspire any math student. The flip side - and
my concern - is that a significant percentage of MA103 will be the same as MA101.