OPINION: College Algebra should not be required for non-math related degrees


I’ve been in college for four years. I have struggled with several classes, but managed to get through them. However, one class that always seems to be a pain is college algebra. 

I started my academic journey at Butler Community College. Before attending Butler, I decided to only take the ACT once in high school. 

My ACT score was low in the math portion. Therefore, I had to take a placement test so I could be placed in a math class that was appropriate for my skill level. According to ontocollege.com, in Kansas the average ACT score is a 21.5 and the national average score is a 20.7. Also, the average math score on​​ the ACT nationally is a 20.4 At Butler, in order to get directly placed into College Algebra you have to receive a 21 on the ACT. 

This is frustrating when you look at the national average. Therefore, high school and college students are spending money to take the ACT and get a specific score just so they can get into a class that is unnecessary t0 take. 

I was placed in fundamentals of algebra through a math software program called Hawkes. Each class is five weeks long and has three portions. I am currently in the second sequence of college algebra. 

Math has always been a struggle for me but I have acknowledged the fact that I do need math to be a successful adult. However, I do not need the complexity of college algebra to be a successful journalist or have a career in a communications related field. 

Looking back on when I began classes at Butler, I remember thinking the fundamentals of algebra was the most efficient way for me to earn a math credit in college because it provided problem solving skills and some basic math that I may need to use in the future. 

Classes you take in college should be tailored towards your degree. I should not be wasting thousands of dollars trying to complete a class that will not be necessary for me in the future. 

I have had to waste money on re-taking five week modules just to get to college algebra, which is ridiculous in itself. 

I’m actually a student at Wichita State but due to the high amount I have to pay per credit hour, I still am finishing up my math classes at Butler. 

General education classes in college do help you succeed and I understand that. My composition one and two classes have helped me learn how to write letters, how to research properly and how to examine accurate sources. 

A solution to this problem would be making certain degrees take college algebra if they need it in their future career, while offering a personal finance class for other degrees.  This way, everyone is still taking a math class but one that is useful to their path in life.  Personal finance is practical and needed information that still includes math.

This goes to say that there are more than just classes like college algebra that are not necessary to take. I do not need to take classes like music appreciation or art appreciation either. I’m not saying these classes shouldn’t be taught and I respect the teachers that are currently teaching them or have in the past. I just don’t think they are necessary for everyone to take. 

I will continue to finish out my general education requirements including college algebra, but maybe a change in the general education system in university academics will make a change in the near future.