University System Weighs Gutting Math Standards After Students Keep Failing Algebra

by Alexa Schwerha


The Kansas Board of Regents is considering stripping specific university math requirements after it was found that a significant percentage of college freshmen fail algebra, NPR affiliate KCUR reported.

The Regents, who oversee the system’s six public universities, are considering implementing the Math Pathways approach which matches students to a math course based on their major instead of mandating algebra for all incoming students. While many universities require that all freshmen pass algebra as a prerequisite for graduation, one in three Kansas students reportedly fail the course, which could delay a student’s graduation.

Daniel Archer, vice president of academic affairs for the Kansas Board of Regents, said that algebra is not always necessary for many students. Only 20 percent of majors require higher-level math beyond algebra, KCUR reported.

“We’re sending the majority of students down the college algebra road, which is really not necessary,” Archer said. “It’s not practical. It’s not really needed. And it’s not relevant for their fields.”

The Math Pathways approach offers students the option of taking alternatives to algebra such as statistics and quantitative reasoning, according to its 2018 brief. Its summary claims that algebra is a “gatekeeper to higher education for students not majoring in a math-heavy field.”

The program aims to “accelerat[e] students’ path through developmental math and enables them to take different paths through the math curriculum depending on their course of study.”

“You’re trying to base (course requirements) on the skills that are needed in that … professional career,” Archer continued. “If you’re going to major in political science, you’d be far better suited to take a stats class.”

Regent Wint Winter said that revising the math standards should be a top priority, reported KCUR.

“It’s incumbent on us to be aware of all the roadblocks that are out there for students … reasons why they’re leaving, reasons why they’re not graduating,” he said.

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girad, however, said that the university does “not have the bandwidth to do everything.” He stated that universities are already reworking educational frameworks and conducting a system-wide review of programs and degrees.

“We just keep layering on project after project, and these are not one-and-dones,” he claimed.

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Alexa Schwerha is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Algebra Class” by Yan Krukov.




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11 Thoughts to “University System Weighs Gutting Math Standards After Students Keep Failing Algebra”

  1. OutsideInsider

    The powers that shouldn’t be want us dumb, dependent, and depraved. It is all coming together for them…

  2. Cannoneertwo

    Competence in math could lead to competence in engineering, or science. If scientists think for themselves, they could run afoul of the beliefs of the insurance agents and retired elementary school teachers and washed up athletes who run things…. and that won’t be good.

  3. stpaulchuck

    I agree with the alternate math path for some majors. Statistics is a definite requirement for many majors.

  4. keann

    Parasitic generations mock but still consume what they inherited but didn’t create and couldn’t re-create. They have never been more confident in their abilities with little reason for that confidence. Thank you public federal education systems and universities. If we returned to grading standards of just 25/30 years ago there would be mass flunking. Nice piece by VDH today.

  5. Ferd

    Algebra is basic math. You can’t expect a kid to do statistics and “quantitative reasoning” without a fundamental understanding of basic math principles, and that’s what algebra is. Maybe those kids just don’t belong in college. Or maybe they need a remedial program.

  6. ChaimD

    If your kid (or you) are having trouble in Algebra, you should check out the Algebra lessons by a man named Sal Khan on I think just about anyone could follow his methodical explanations.

    Khan Academy has a nearly complete, accredited High School course catalogue (including AP Courses) and many technical courses are taught at the college level.

    Best part, it’s free. But, I encourage everyone to donate regularly since it is such an amazing resource to educate anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world.

  7. Justine

    And what will these moron’s use Algebra for ?? The last few generation’s have been so dumb down that it will take hundreds of years to recuperate from this abomination that we call a public education. Take your stupid kids to the library that is where you’ll find a classical education. And most of all unhook your kids from the world of the chip.

  8. Russ Crouch

    Lowering standards is a sure way to have students less able to compete in the job market, and make this country farther behind. How about teaching the student starting with the first year in school. STOP have social issues at the front of what is taught.

  9. Phillip Preston

    Substitute “Drinking and Partying 101” and most of these dumb bunnies will still fail. Good job Teacher’s Union!

  10. John Medina

    Great. Engineers who can’t do math. Let’s see how that works out.

    1. JRin

      You don’t need to be qualified in any particular field to get employment in that field. You only have to be a member of a protected group.