Tag Archives: developmental math

Ready for Calculus

I’m working on a paper that will be submitted for publication. It mostly records and expands on my NCTM presentation in Denver a while back.


Along the way, I decided to a bit of looking into the claims I have made about the standard view of what it means. I did it the lazy way. Google search on “Ready for Calculus”. 

See for yourself. (Click on the images to be taken to original sources on the web.)

Exhibit A

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 4.11.13 PM

exhibit B

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Exhibit C

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Exhibit D

I did find one that had a different nature

The most important precalculus concept is the notion of a functional relationship between two variable quantities. This relationship may take many forms: linear functions, power functions, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, trig functions, polynomial functions, rational functions… Functions from these basic families may be combined, transformed, and inverted to produce still more functional forms. Functions also appear in various representations: formulas, graphs, data sets… You will have to be familiar with the basic families of functions, and all of their representations, in order to succeed in your study of calculus. The concept of function underlies everything that calculus considers.

This was nice, and if you’re at all interested in this topic, you should go read the essay in its entirety. (Don’t worry, it’s short.)


And now let’s all imagine how a community college developmental math program that took Exhibit D more seriously than Exhibits A—C would be different from the present-day state of affairs.



We have to call this stuff out

Strange start to the day.

First was Kate Nowak noticing the hate Vi Hart routinely heaps on math teachers. As happens at 2:04 in the video below. Note especially her tone here.

Then the following comes across my desk (click on it to see the full size version).

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 10.18.34 AM

The first line reads, “Statistics show that more students are coming from high school with weaker mathematical backgrounds than ever before.”

No citation. No argumentation. Just Statistics show.

I have replied with the following:

Wow. Gotta admit that first line is provocative.

What evidence are you basing this claim upon?
Christopher Danielson
I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, we need someone with some mad video skills to make a “Sal and Vi Hate Math Teachers” video in the spirit of “Hollywood Hates Math“. I’ll help with the archival work. Who’s in?

Diagrams, week 4

I’m not proud of this one, but it was necessary. I was explaining to a student how an assessment in ALEKS could cause her to lose topics from her ALEKS pie.

Ho hum.