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Education Department Offering New Math Class Aimed At Saving Kids Time And Money

David Bitton / Oklahoma Watch
Senior Alexa Ostmeyer, 18, does schoolwork during an AP calculus class at Cushing High School.

The State Department of Education is introducing a new math class for high schoolers that's aimed at reducing the need for math remediation in college.

Almost 40 percent of Oklahoma college freshman have to take a remedial math class for which they receive no credit, and the state Department of Education estimates this costs students and families millions of dollars.  

The new College Career Math Ready class, available next school year, will help kids brush up on their skills before college, and will hopefully save them time and money. 

"This class mirrors what they would be taking if they were taking remediation in college," said Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

The course is designed to support students who intend to go to college, have completed their basic math requirements: Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, but do not have an adequate ACT Math subject score. The state department says seniors with scores in the range of 13 to 18 on their ACT math score are encouraged to take the class, which will be considered an elective, and will not count toward required math credits to graduate. 

Hofmeister said most kids don’t take math their senior year, because they’re not required to.  But she thinks that year-long gap before college can be detrimental to them. 

Beyond costing them money, kids who start college in remedial math classes are much less likely to graduate. 

Levi Patrick, the Director of Secondary Mathematics at the state Department of Education said only 9 percent of community college students who start college by taking remedial math end up graduating with a two-year degree. In four-year programs, only 30 percent of students who start college in remedial math classes graduate. 

The state department is also introducing another non-required math class that focuses on statistics. This is a higher level math class for kids who have completed all their math requirements, who still want to take another math class, but don’t want to take pre-calculus or trigonometry. 

The new classes won’t cost schools any extra money, but teachers will have to go through a free training session that will be provided in June. Hofmeister said schools have already shown a lot of interest.

Beyond this new class, Hofmeister hopes new academic standards and new assessments help bring up student achievement in math as well.

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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