GENERAL
EDUCATION MATHEMATICS REQUIREMENT IN

The
Preamble and Attributes below were approved unanimously by the Statewide
Mathematics General Education Subcommittee,

PREAMBLE:

During the 21st century our nation will depend on an ever stronger mathematical competence among its citizenry if our nation is to compete successfully in the increasingly technologically sophisticated global world. Students in courses in physical science, biological science, social science, engineering and architecture are required to have a facility with no less sophisticated mathematics than calculus and probability. Moreover, lawyers, social workers, business managers and executives, and medical professionals, among others, increasingly need to be able to interpret data, think logically and deductively, have a sense of numbers that make sense in various contexts, and apply algebra where appropriate. These are some of the qualities of what is often called quantitative literacy, and they apply to everyday living, such as in estimating a tip at a restaurant or evaluating credit card rates. Thus a major goal of mathematics training is to prepare students for success in other disciplines, as well as in mathematics and in everyday life.

It
follows that mathematics serves as a foundation for a student's future as an
educated person and a person in the workforce.
Although some high school students have such a mathematical maturity
when they graduate from high school, many don't, and it remains for them to obtain
it in college. In fact, the real
achievement of general education mathematical literacy should not be expected
to be achieved merely by one college mathematics course. It comes only from the general education
curriculum at the college level. Moreover, with the broadening use of, and
reliance on, quantitative methods in all kinds of subjects, it is increasingly
critical that faculty across all of the disciplines be encouraged to use
mathematics and statistics and data analysis in their courses when appropriate. One cannot expect students to achieve
mathematical maturity unless they are constantly called on to use the
mathematics that they have learned.

There
are many diverse college mathematics courses that can provide mathematical
maturity and literacy. Among them are
college algebra, statistics, mathematical modeling (also called finite
mathematics), and "liberal arts" mathematics. However, these courses can only be considered as
appropriate for college credit if they are of college caliber. Both 2-year college and 4-year mathematics faculty in

ATTRIBUTES:

Upon successful completion of such a course, which needs to have as a prerequisite a level of mathematical maturity including Intermediate Algebra (in college) or the traditional Algebra II (in high school), the student should be able to:

(1) interpret
mathematical models given verbally, or by formulas, graphs, tables, or
schematics, and draw inferences from them,

(2) represent mathematical concepts verbally, and where appropriate, symbolically, visually, and numerically,

(3) use arithmetic,
algebraic, geometric, technological, or statistical methods (as needed or
appropriate) to solve problems,

(4) use mathematical
reasoning, e.g., to solve problems, to formulate and test conjectures, to judge
the validity of arguments, to formulate valid arguments, and to communicate the
reasoning and the results,

(5) estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness,

(6)
recognize and use connections within mathematics and between
mathematics and other disciplines.

HOW TO
USE THIS DOCUMENT:

A
college-level mathematics course should reflect

The six
attributes given are very general. This
is because they must apply to many diverse college-level mathematics courses,
not just a single such course. As shown
in the tables accompanying the four course discussions, most of the examples
encompass several of the attributes.
Taken as a whole, these problems define the level of mathematical
maturity expected in a college-level mathematics course. The problems listed are not meant to define
all syllabi for the corresponding course; rather they are merely examples that
reflect the six attributes listed for the course. Typical outcomes for the courses are also
given, as guidelines.

Finally,
the document has been ratified overwhelmingly by the Statewide Mathematics
Group, and represents its best effort to address the request of the Intersegmental Chief Academic Officers to address the issue
of appropriateness of Intermediate Algebra (or its equivalent) as prerequisite
to a college-level mathematics course.
If you have questions, you may address them to the chair of the
Statewide Mathematics Group: Professor Denny Gulick,
Department of Mathematics,