Path to stats closed off


Andre Cubit speaks against the cancellation of Math 27 in an LMCAS student meeting last Monday.

Sean Tongson

Students looking to take Statistics will now have to endure a more arduous journey to get there.

Math 27, a course known as “Path to Stats,” and used as a prerequisite for Math 34 (Statistics) is being canceled and is no longer scheduled for the Spring 2013 Semester.

“We could not guarantee that our statistics course would continue to be articulated with all the CSU schools beyond this summer, so we had to back off on offering Math 27 this spring,” said LMC Math Professor Michael Norris.

According to CSU policy, only Math 30 or Math 910 (Intermediate Algebra) may be used as an official prerequisite course for Statistics. While Math 27 wasn’t similar in content to Math 30, Professor Tue Rust noted that the level of depth, breath, and rigor was comparable to Algebra 2.

“It was a great, well-taught course,” said Rust. “The reason it was successful was because students didn’t have to take three classes to get to statistics. We believed it was equal in terms of depth to a Math 30 class.”

A study conducted from 2003-2006 illustrated the importance of this class, due to the assessment scores. Out of the Math 12 students enrolled, only five percent completed Statistics in that three-year period. With the creation of Math 27 in Fall 2009, completion rates rose two-to-seven times beyond what they had been from 2003-2006.

“In Fall 2009, there were 507 students who attempted pre-algebra,” said Rust. “By the end of 2011, only 42 (8%) successfully completed Statistics. In 2010, out of 120 students, 71 completed transfer level Statistics, experiencing a 700% increase. Even students who took Math 30, only 30% of them completed Statistics, whereas Math 27 students completed Statistics at a 60% rate. No matter how you look at it, this course was doing a great job.”

In addition to proving a boost to completion rates Math 27 has proven to be a popular option with students.

“Math 27 is helpful because this class is moving me along quickly to get to my general education and closer to Math 34,” said student Sandy Chamee Her. “This class will help me reach my career prerequisites classes faster so that I will be able to transfer within shorter number of years.”

The potential for the course was recognized by other community colleges, which Rust said contributed to its current predicament. He said other junior college’s noted the success of Math 27 and wanted to use similar classes. They called their local CSU for permission to use the class, which is where problems started.

“That was the first time the articulation officers learned about that,” said Rust. “When they learned what we were using for our equivalent to Algebra 2, they said the contents of the classes didn’t match, saying the only official prerequisite for Statistics is Algebra 2. As a result, Math 27 was grandfathered in for this semester, but is now a useless class since it no longer satisfies the prerequisite requirement.”

Now, students will be forced to revert to the old algebra track in order to complete the prerequisite course for Math 34. Math 27 was seen a course that was not only faster, but did a better job of preparing students for Statistics than Algebra 2.

“I think it’s sad that many students will not be able to follow in my footsteps,” said LMC student Todd McKinney. “Math 27 has helped me achieve my goals of transferring to a four-year college after this spring semester. Without the help of Math 27, I would have been forced to take extra classes that were of no use to me.”

With Math 27 not on the schedule next semester, students will be forced to utilize one of three options. If a student directly assesses out of Math 30, students are eligible to take Statistics right away. If students assess into Math 25 (Beginning Algebra), they can take MathPath (Math 25 and Math 30 both in the same semester) or Math 910, an accelerated combination of Math 25 and 30. Lastly, if students successfully complete Algebra II in high school, they are eligible to take Statistics regardless of their placement score.

While the move of eliminating Math 27 is widely seen as unpopular, Norris indicates that a modified version of the course may return in the future.

“That does not mean that our Math department is not working in a number of directions to try to make Math 27 in some form into a viable option for students again in the future,” added Norris. “We’re looking at a number of options at what to do. Modifying Math 27 is one possibility. It’s also possible to incorporate some ‘Path to Stat’ material into an Intermediate Algebra course.”

Norris’ colleague Rust added, “CSU officers are having conversations to find a way to make this class work. Even (Student Senate President) Rich Copenhagen listened to us, and wanted to work further on this. What we have to ask ourselves is, are we okay with 95% of students not completing Algebra 2 or Statistics? They are making it more difficult for the students to succeed.”