Take Calculus To Fail Algebra

harpazo

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Do you agree with the statement that too often students take calculus to fail algebra?
 

LCKurtz

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Students often fail calculus because they haven't mastered algebra, if that's what you mean.
 

HallsofIvy

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What you wrote was that "many students take Calculus for the purpose of failing algebra"! I doubt that is what you intended!
 

harpazo

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What I said is that students can do the calculus part of questions but when it comes to simplifying the problem as much as possible, which involves lots of algebra, for example, they get lost and fail the algebra part of calculus. For example, if you tell calculus 1 students to find dy/dx of (2x)/(x - 2), they can do it easily. However, simplifying the fraction after applying the quotient rule involves algebra, which they have forgotten and/or did not learn well before stepping into calculus 1. I hope what I mean is clear.
 

Dr.Peterson

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I guess you're saying, "Too often students take calculus, only to fail the algebra aspects of the course". That is surely true.

I've often told students that calculus is where they will finally learn algebra (because they are forced to use it heavily without support); I don't mention the alternative, that they will fail calculus because they didn't put enough effort into the algebra.
 

HallsofIvy

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No, that was NOT what you said!

You said "Do you agree with the statement that too often students take calculus to fail algebra?"
That is not the same as "they get lost and fail the algebra part of calculus"!

(Okay, it's probably just a translation problem. In colloquial English, "to do something" would be interpreted as "in order to do something".)
 

harpazo

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No, that was NOT what you said!

You said "Do you agree with the statement that too often students take calculus to fail algebra?"
That is not the same as "they get lost and fail the algebra part of calculus"!

(Okay, it's probably just a translation problem. In colloquial English, "to do something" would be interpreted as "in order to do something".)
Read Dr. Peterson's reply.
 

harpazo

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I guess you're saying, "Too often students take calculus, only to fail the algebra aspects of the course". That is surely true.

I've often told students that calculus is where they will finally learn algebra (because they are forced to use it heavily without support); I don't mention the alternative, that they will fail calculus because they didn't put enough effort into the algebra.
Exactly. You said it better than me.
 

harpazo

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Students often fail calculus because they haven't mastered algebra, if that's what you mean.
Read Dr. Peterson's reply.
 

harpazo

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What you wrote was that "many students take Calculus for the purpose of failing algebra"! I doubt that is what you intended!
Doing the calculus part is easy. Simplifying the problem via algebra is not so easy.
 

harpazo

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Read it yourself if you don't understand what I wrote.
Stepping into calculus 1 without knowing algebra well is a big mistake. This is far too common in high schools and colleges. Students confidently walk into a calculus class only to have their spirits crushed by the reality that math has a special way of humbling us all.
 

LCKurtz

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Stepping into calculus 1 without knowing algebra well is a big mistake. This is far too common in high schools and colleges. Students confidently walk into a calculus class only to have their spirits crushed by the reality that math has a special way of humbling us all.
Why are you trying to explain this to me? You are the one who asked the question. I was likely teaching calculus before you were born.
 

harpazo

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Why are you trying to explain this to me? You are the one who asked the question. I was likely teaching calculus before you were born.
Really? Before I was born? I am 54. How old are you? As old as Father Time?
 

pka

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Really? Before I was born? I am 54. How old are you? As old as Father Time?
If one gets a PhD in mathematics in 1964, one has taught calculus since before you were born. You do the mathematics.
 

harpazo

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If one gets a PhD in mathematics in 1964, one has taught calculus since before you were born. You do the mathematics.
I'm very happy for him.
 

Jomo

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An extremely high percent of students who fail calculus do so because they do not know their algebra. I actually thought I knew algebra well until I took calculus (where I really learned it!)

I always tell students that (for the most part) the calculus part of calculus is actually simple but the algebra part is hard.

Why are you now doing calculus? Have you already mastered your algebra?
 

harpazo

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An extremely high percent of students who fail calculus do so because they do not know their algebra. I actually thought I knew algebra well until I took calculus (where I really learned it!)

I always tell students that (for the most part) the calculus part of calculus is actually simple but the algebra part is hard.

Why are you now doing calculus? Have you already mastered your algebra?
I am not doing calculus. I am not an algebra expert. I saw a professor on youtube talk about students failing algebra in calculus. This motivated me to ask others here for their point of view.
 

Jomo

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I think that if a student fails calculus because they are deficient in algebra they should not be allowed to retake calculus until they retake algebra (or learn it on their own). Of course this will never happen happen because administration and students would not be happy that a professor is insisting a student retakes a class which they already passed. The outcome is that students take calculus multiple times until they finally get the algebra. In my opinion if you are having trouble with algebra you should not take calculus just like if you are having trouble with history you should not study Spanish (to help you do better in history).
 

harpazo

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I think that if a student fails calculus because they are deficient in algebra they should not be allowed to retake calculus until they retake algebra (or learn it on their own). Of course this will never happen happen because administration and students would not be happy that a professor is insisting a student retakes a class which they already passed. The outcome is that students take calculus multiple times until they finally get the algebra. In my opinion if you are having trouble with algebra you should not take calculus just like if you are having trouble with history you should not study Spanish (to help you do better in history).
I agree 100 percent. If a student takes calculus over and over again, the school loves it because all students are walking dollar bills. I was a walking dollar bill. Of course, I only took one class three times but it was not a math class. I yearned for a better grade in that particular course and achieved my goal. This delayed my graduation by one year.

Math departments across the board should administer a department algebra exam for students going into calculus 1. The passing grade should be 75 percent or higher. Less than 75% no calculus 1. Do you agree?

I took precalculus in the Spring 1993 semester. I was not mathematically ready for precalculus but Lehman College allowed me to take the elective course anyway. The professor suggested that students in the class form little study groups. This helped a great deal.

I got an A minus. The professor was actually a graduate student working on his doctorate in mathematics. He skipped many chapters that form the heart of precalculus. We did not cover much of trigonometry, no matrix algebra, no polar coordinates, no parametric equations, no polar equations, no graphing, etc. The graduate school student converted precalculus to algebra 1. No wonder I got an A minus!! Fun days in my youth.
 
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