With Good Reason

Up to Speed: Remedial Math and Community Colleges
August 10th, 2013

Courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives

For every ten students who go to community college for an associate’s degree, only one graduates in three years.  Stan Jones, president of Complete Colleges America says it’s time to overhaul the community college system.  Math professor Randy Cone (Virginia Military Institute) says that his students are less math-literate today than they were fifteen years ago.  He’s looking at new ways to bring students up to speed for college level math.  Plus: Have you ever wondered just how big your feet would need to be to allow you to walk on water, or how about the amount of time lost in a person’s life for every cigarette smoked?  Physicist Lawrence Weinstein (Old Dominion University) answers these brain teasers and many others by using a process called “guesstimation.” Also: David Wright (Tidewater Community College) uses some of the gravity-defying rides at Busch Gardens amusement park to teach the principles of physics.  He says an understanding of basic physics helps make sense of the world around us.

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Remediation is designed to help those students who aren’t quite up to speed.  But in community colleges around the country, remedial courses might be hurting more than they help.  Allison Quantz has the story.