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S/O American Families— Wondering about how the 2 yrs of CC works


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14 minutes ago, Condessa said:

They also have an incredibly low standard of academics at the cc.  As in students regularly submitting written work below the level I would accept from my middle schooler.  Dh has to spend the beginning of every term (in a second-year criminal justice class) going over such basic writing requirements as 'You must use complete sentences with punctuation'.  He has been told by several of his students that he is the hardest teacher they've ever had.

 

I think this is the main source of my skepticism of the usefulness of free cc.  Yes, there are definitely students there making good use of opportunities to pursue their goals.  But there are also quite a lot who simply didn't know what else to do next, so they wound up at cc.  They would have been much better served with public funds providing them a satisfactory K-12 education than being used to remove costs of a couple of aimless years at cc.

I taught juniors and seniors at a four-year college--I realized that when I told them they needed a complete sentence they didn't know what I meant.  I handed back papers and asked them to circle the subject and underline the verb of each sentence. I told them if they didn't have both a subject and a verb before a punctuation mark they didn't have a sentence.  I got things like "and" and underlined as a verb and "the" and "very" circled as subjects.  Only about 5% of the class could identify a subject and a verb consistnely in the sentences they had constructed.  (I was not asking them to diagram a sentence from Proust.)  Many of them had no clue what I was even talking about.  

This was not an English class--this was finance.  I was getting "sentences" like "Being that interest rates were high, because of them being bigger.  This is becuase the were higher.  Causing it to be bad."  We couldn't even get to what a paragraph might look like.  

(Yet many of these students had A's in freshman comp from jump-start, dual enrollment programs.)

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Not in CA, but some general comments. I am an academic advisor at a 4 year uni who advises incoming freshmen as well as transfer students. Some degree programs simply cannot be structured so that the

A high school do over is exactly what some kids need though.  Remember that many high schools are really bad, which isn’t really a students fault.  Only about 1/3 of high school graduates graduate wit

I agree with the ethical issue regarding who is grading the homework.  I also have ethical issues regarding requiring a student to provide information to a third-party--email address, contact informat

1 hour ago, Matryoshka said:

You really think all these people are going to stop going to the 4-years for CC?  Has that happened in TN where it's already free - no freshmen or sophomores at the state Us?

Nope. Tennessee promise pays the community cost at those universities so you can still use it at the 4 yr school but you have to cough up the difference.  This is what my dds have done.

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1 minute ago, fairfarmhand said:

Nope. Tennessee promise pays the community cost at those universities so you can still use it at the 4 yr school but you have to cough up the difference.  This is what my dds have done.

That’s very interesting because it helps those like my dd who went into that very rigid lock step program. Except my kids have all had nearly all of their tuition covered by scholarships. Do scholarship recipients still get credited that money? 

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14 minutes ago, popmom said:

That’s very interesting because it helps those like my dd who went into that very rigid lock step program. Except my kids have all had nearly all of their tuition covered by scholarships. Do scholarship recipients still get credited that money? 

yep. But TN promise will not kick in if a student already is fully funded by other programs and scholarships. In other words, you won't get a check from the TN promise program if you go over your tuition amount. 

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43 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Nope. Tennessee promise pays the community cost at those universities so you can still use it at the 4 yr school but you have to cough up the difference.  This is what my dds have done.

But that isn't what Biden is proposing. That would be better at least.

 

If people think that that big of a program won't shift students and restructure schools I don't know what to say. Will it be 100%. Of course, not. Will it be a large number, I would think so. 

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Btw, ive been very impressed with how Tennessee promise works. Their mandatory meeting meetings cover basic basic stuff...what is a credit hour, here’s how you budget your time, here’s when to sign up for classes...very basic but if a kids a first generation college student, they may need it spelled out. Boring for the rest of us, but I can see the benefits. They are doing everything they can to set the students up for success. 

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6 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Btw, ive been very impressed with how Tennessee promise works. Their mandatory meeting meetings cover basic basic stuff...what is a credit hour, here’s how you budget your time, here’s when to sign up for classes...very basic but if a kids a first generation college student, they may need it spelled out. Boring for the rest of us, but I can see the benefits. They are doing everything they can to set the students up for success. 

I was a first gen college student and a class like that would have been helpful.  I knew the basics but some things I had to figure out the hard way.

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3 hours ago, Condessa said:

They also have an incredibly low standard of academics at the cc.  As in students regularly submitting written work below the level I would accept from my middle schooler.  Dh has to spend the beginning of every term (in a second-year criminal justice class) going over such basic writing requirements as 'You must use complete sentences with punctuation'.  He has been told by several of his students that he is the hardest teacher they've ever had.

 

I think this is the main source of my skepticism of the usefulness of free cc.  Yes, there are definitely students there making good use of opportunities to pursue their goals.  But there are also quite a lot who simply didn't know what else to do next, so they wound up at cc.  They would have been much better served with public funds providing them a satisfactory K-12 education than being used to remove costs of a couple of aimless years at cc.

Just to add to how widely things vary, I went to a small, private college.  Other than the math they pushed me into, which I didn’t have the background for, the first semester classes were simple.  I had a history class where all tests were multiple choice and T/F. With no homework.  In 1995. (And I’m talking OBVIOUS choices. A.) Blue B.) 1635 C.) coal or D.) Infants. )

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4 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

But what is their recourse?  I mean, they’re here.  They’ve attended those lousy schools.  Or they’ve attended good schools but had undiagnosed learning disabilities that impeded their effectiveness.  Or they got turned on to drugs and didn’t do much in high school.  CC is a point of reentry for all of those kinds of folks, and it’s very helpful to have it cheaply and readily available here in CA,

Oh, I am not doubting that there is a place for cc as a reentry point for all kinds of students.  I am approaching it from the attitude of, going forward, is using gov funds to make 2 years of cc free for everyone the most effective use of those funds to help the most students, or is there a way to make the same dollars do more to help far more people.  

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6 hours ago, Bootsie said:

Dorms are supposed to be self-funding at any state universtity I have known; so higher tuition wouldn't be covering dorm overhead.  

I know many state Us that do not have stadiums, so they do not have the overhead associated with that.  Some CCs do have stadiums--in fact some CCs have scholarship athletics.

If it is overhead from research labs (which I am assuming has an academic impact) that makes the difference then are the two institutions really providing equivalent educations?

My hunch is that the real difference lies in CC's hiring individuals with less credentials on average, paying them less on average, and having higher workloads for those individuals.  Is that what we want to encourage?  

I don’t know how the teaching workload couldn’t be different at CCs vs universities due to the general difference in research expectations. As for less credentialed, at least in my experience, it doesn’t always follow that more credentialed people are better teachers. In fact, most of the famous research professors I had in grad school were terrible teachers. I do think low paid adjuncts are an issue just about everywhere, but I also know several people who have done it because that is what they wanted. They did not desire a tenure track position. And they were all excellent teachers.

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2 hours ago, Frances said:

I don’t know how the teaching workload couldn’t be different at CCs vs universities due to the general difference in research expectations. As for less credentialed, at least in my experience, it doesn’t always follow that more credentialed people are better teachers. In fact, most of the famous research professors I had in grad school were terrible teachers. I do think low paid adjuncts are an issue just about everywhere, but I also know several people who have done it because that is what they wanted. They did not desire a tenure track position. And they were all excellent teachers.

This is why I am having trouble getting my head around how people are saying that CCs in their area have class sizes of 30.  A CC prof who was teaching 5 courses per semester (which is a HEAVY load) would have 150 students/semester or 300 per year.

It is hard to do a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but I know faculty at 4 -schools are full- time but not tenure track who have no research expectations.  They are all teaching more than 300 students per year.  In those cases the only way to have the per course educational costs be lower at the CC than at the 4-year college is for the CC profs to be paid much less.  

(I do know tenure track and tenured professors who have teaching loads that are equivalent to that or higher; that gets a bit messier comparison because is it equivalent to teach 30 intro history students and 30 graduate students, etc.)

I would agree that more degrees does not necessarily make someone a better teacher.  I do think it students get a better educational experience when, on everage, their professor has some connection with the school, the curriculum, and their colleagues, than being taught by a professor who is running around to several different campuses, teaching a lot of classes, and barely making minimum wage.  That does not have to do with the person's teaching ability, it simply has to do with being scattered and pulled in a number of directions.  

If, as a society, we think that two-years of CC is significantly cheaper than that same student attending a 4-year college for the first two years, I think it is helpful for us to tease out where the cost saving is really coming from.  If it is that CC profs are paid significantly less than those at 4-year colleges, are we OK with that?  

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I think we have failed to fix high schools. CCs are functional here, so they are new high schools so to speak. It’s generous to call them colleges, since so much of what they offer (but not all) is really remedial, but they are excellent places for academically motivated high schoolers. 

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13 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I think we have failed to fix high schools. CCs are functional here, so they are new high schools so to speak. It’s generous to call them colleges, since so much of what they offer (but not all) is really remedial, but they are excellent places for academically motivated high schoolers. 

I think this is true but also a sorry state of affairs. Perhaps we should just get rid of high school all together and go straight to community college from 8th grade. 😕 

 

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On 5/2/2021 at 11:36 PM, popmom said:

I think I read this correctly...that California already has 2 years of free CC? I am curious how this works. Did 4 year institutions in California have to make changes to accommodate these students coming out of their 2 yrs of CC? One of my daughters majored in graphic design. It is a lock step program from day 1 semester 1. If dd had done 2 years of CC prior, it would have been a HUGE waste of credit hours and would not have lessened the financial burden by much at all. Also, she would have been at a severe disadvantage in being accepted into the program —it’s highly competitive and only 15 students are accepted into 2 cohorts—one that starts summer semester of sophomore year and one that starts fall semester of sophomore year. Not a single student in dd’s cohort transferred in from another school. 

Graphic design isn’t the only program that works this way. Nursing, engineering, communication disorders are just a few others I’m aware that operate similarly at this university.

My experience having had 3 kids in college so far is that this is becoming more the norm. Whereas when I was in college, the first 2 years were less specific—and it wasn’t a big deal to change your major. Also made it a lot easier to transfer in from other schools or CC. 

Is the 2 years of CC for getting a 2 yr degree? Or is it in order to transfer on to get a bachelors degree? Or both??

I guess I’m not seeing the benefit—especially in my state where CC is very inexpensive as it is. I would love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this. Especially if you’ve personally benefited from it. I’m really hoping my youngest will go the CC route. And she wants to major in psychology which is one of the programs that I think is still relatively compatible with the CC route.

It is different in every state. Sometimes it's different at each c.c. in the same state. 🙂

We were in California. My dc did c.c. instead of high school, beginning when they were 14yo. Older dd took a side trip to cosmetology school through the c.c., graduating from that when she was 17. She worked for a couple of years, then went back and finished her AA, and transferred to a state college as a junior to earn a BA in English Lit. Younger dd graduated from the c.c. with several AAs; she did not go on a 4yr college, although she also had enough credits to transfer as a junior.

I graduated my dc on their 16th birthdays, because they were more than finished doing anything at home.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bootsie said:

This is why I am having trouble getting my head around how people are saying that CCs in their area have class sizes of 30.  A CC prof who was teaching 5 courses per semester (which is a HEAVY load) would have 150 students/semester or 300 per year.

It is hard to do a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but I know faculty at 4 -schools are full- time but not tenure track who have no research expectations.  They are all teaching more than 300 students per year.  In those cases the only way to have the per course educational costs be lower at the CC than at the 4-year college is for the CC profs to be paid much less.  

(I do know tenure track and tenured professors who have teaching loads that are equivalent to that or higher; that gets a bit messier comparison because is it equivalent to teach 30 intro history students and 30 graduate students, etc.)

I would agree that more degrees does not necessarily make someone a better teacher.  I do think it students get a better educational experience when, on everage, their professor has some connection with the school, the curriculum, and their colleagues, than being taught by a professor who is running around to several different campuses, teaching a lot of classes, and barely making minimum wage.  That does not have to do with the person's teaching ability, it simply has to do with being scattered and pulled in a number of directions.  

If, as a society, we think that two-years of CC is significantly cheaper than that same student attending a 4-year college for the first two years, I think it is helpful for us to tease out where the cost saving is really coming from.  If it is that CC profs are paid significantly less than those at 4-year colleges, are we OK with that?  

I agree that adjunct professors being low paid and having to teach at multiple campuses to make ends meet is not ideal for anyone involved. It likely is more prevalent at CCs, but it’s my understanding that even the highest ranked universities in the US use adjuncts. 
Besides many of the reasons already listed for CC being cheaper than universities, universities also have grad students, and sometimes even undergrads, serving as TAs and often doing quite a bit of teaching. That is one way that many more students can be in one class because smaller sections or labs are taught or supervised by students. Universities also often have much more support staff. My husband has taught at a variety of colleges, from CC to two Ivies and in between. Teaching at the large universities was far less work for him because he had grad students to do all of the grading, monitor exams, hold additional office hours and run lab and recitation sections and paid staff members to set up labs and lab demonstrations. None of that existed at the CC and much less of it at the LACs. But those are the types of things that cost more and also enable faculty to have time for research and mentoring grad students. Not to mention the types of science labs and equipment that are needed for upper level courses as opposed to intro level classes. 

Edited by Frances
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, frogger said:

I think this is true but also a sorry state of affairs. Perhaps we should just get rid of high school all together and go straight to community college from 8th grade. 😕 

 

Homeschoolers are doing just that here. 😂

I always smile about this because most of these kids are taking algebra, precalc, basic intro courses... I mean they are basically taking high school equivalents. Most of general Ed requirements (Igetc as called here) look to me very much like a version of high school. 


There are most definitely very serious minded kids there as well working at a college level amd taking courses intended for majors, but in my area (sure this is very different in large cities), those kids are a small minority. 
 

I will say though for a lot of kids trapped in very crappy high schools, CCs could be an answer. We obviously can’t fix high schools at this point. I have given up on that. 
 

but yes, colossal amount of tax dollars are being wasted in every corner. 

Edited by Roadrunner
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Homeschoolers are doing just that here. 😂

I always smile about this because most of these kids are taking algebra, precalc, basic intro courses... I mean they are basically taking high school equivalents. Most of general Ed requirements (Igetc as called here) look to me very much like a version of high school. 


There are most definitely very serious minded kids there as well working at a college level amd taking courses intended for majors, but in my area (sure this is very different in large cities), those kids are a small minority. 
 

I will say though for a lot of kids trapped in very crappy high schools, CCs could be an answer. We obviously can’t fix high schools at this point. I have given up on that. 
 

but yes, colossal amount of tax dollars are being wasted in every corner. 

Here the community college doesn’t teach the intro classes very well.  2 different math classes were all online with Pearson and the teachers in both classes said they a) could not explain the answer format the program wanted and b) couldn’t over ride grades from the program that they couldn’t explain.  I’m afraid trying to outsource pre Calc to the community college has ruined math for my kid who loves programming and now doesn’t want to get the CS degree he wanted previously because of the math required.  😞.  He could do the work even with the crappy Pearson software but got so frustrated with getting “that answer is correct but in the wrong format” and failing things with teachers who were apparently powerless against their computer overlords.    And we have CC that are well regarded.  
 

 

Edited by HeartString
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1 hour ago, HeartString said:

Here the community college doesn’t teach the intro classes very well.  2 different math classes were all online with Pearson and the teachers in both classes said they a) could not explain the answer format the program wanted and b) couldn’t over ride grades from the program that they couldn’t explain.  I’m afraid trying to outsource pre Calc to the community college has ruined math for my kid who loves programming and now doesn’t want to get the CS degree he wanted previously because of the math required.  😞.  He could do the work even with the crappy Pearson software but got so frustrated with getting “that answer is correct but in the wrong format” and failing things with teachers who were apparently powerless against their computer overlords.    And we have CC that are well regarded.  
 

 

This concerns me. I'm hoping to use our local cc for some lab sciences, but how will I be able to assess the quality of the courses ahead of time? 

I met an instructor who is leaving our cc to teach at a high school this fall, so I'll start by asking for her opinion, I guess. I think she's more expert on education policy than science, though. It's difficult. 

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9 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Most of general Ed requirements (Igetc as called here) look to me very much like a version of high school. 

I agree. That’s why school districts here promote the free middle college program which lets public high school students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree. They take 3 dual enrollment classes per semester that fulfills both IGETC and the UC a-g requirements. 
 

The community college which my kids and I take classes from even gives free VTA passes (collaboration with VTA) so we don’t even need to pay for our bus and train rides to and from community college. 

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1 hour ago, elroisees said:

This concerns me. I'm hoping to use our local cc for some lab sciences, but how will I be able to assess the quality of the courses ahead of time? 

I met an instructor who is leaving our cc to teach at a high school this fall, so I'll start by asking for her opinion, I guess. I think she's more expert on education policy than science, though. It's difficult. 

Personally I wouldn’t touch anything remedial at a CC. 
 

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8 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Personally I wouldn’t touch anything remedial at a CC. 
 

My kids took a high school level chemistry w/lab class at CC for DE and the instructors (lecturer and lab professor) were both excellent.  The lecturer has a Ph.D. and ended up writing letters of recommendation for my daughter.

ETA - they also took pre-calc at DE and had great instructors.  Both are in CS (one graduated already, one in college). 

 

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3 minutes ago, Kassia said:

My kids took a high school level chemistry w/lab class at CC for DE and the instructors (lecturer and lab professor) were both excellent.  The lecturer has a Ph.D. and ended up writing letters of recommendation for my daughter.

ETA - they also took pre-calc at DE and had great instructors.  Both are in CS (one graduated already, one in college). 

 

I said personally 😉

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11 minutes ago, Kassia said:

My kids took a high school level chemistry w/lab class at CC for DE and the instructors (lecturer and lab professor) were both excellent.  The lecturer has a Ph.D. and ended up writing letters of recommendation for my daughter.

ETA - they also took pre-calc at DE and had great instructors.  Both are in CS (one graduated already, one in college). 

 

I think it’s really going to vary by location. 

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2 minutes ago, HeartString said:

I think it’s really going to vary by location. 

It varies by location, but remedial courses often attract kids who struggled in those courses in high school, so teachers have to really teach to that level. Nothing wrong with it, but there is a massive difference between chem for majors and a one semester chem course at our CC even if it’s taught by the same teacher.  So it’s a personal preference of what you are looking for in a course - truly a college course or a high school course that masquerades as a college one. Now if you are going into arts, the high school one just might be enough to check a box. 

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3 hours ago, HeartString said:

Here the community college doesn’t teach the intro classes very well.  2 different math classes were all online with Pearson and the teachers in both classes said they a) could not explain the answer format the program wanted and b) couldn’t over ride grades from the program that they couldn’t explain.

He could do the work even with the crappy Pearson software but got so frustrated with getting “that answer is correct but in the wrong format” and failing things with teachers who were apparently powerless against their computer overlords.    

The CC teachers can adjust the grades. However my CS teacher has 50 students per online class and he doesn’t want to go round adjusting scores every week for the quizzes since it is usually an issue of scoring an A or A- overall.

When my kids took AP Chem with PAH/ChemAdvantage, the teacher adjusted their quizzes’ scores manually if it was a formatting bug. The WebAssign platform takes the answer in a certain format.

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31 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Personally I wouldn’t touch anything remedial at a CC. 
 

Absolutely.

And NOT because the profs aren't good - but because the students who will take a remedial math course at CC are weak math students and not peers for an advanced young student who takes college classes instead of high school.

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

It varies by location, but remedial courses often attract kids who struggled in those courses in high school, so teachers have to really teach to that level. Nothing wrong with it, but there is a massive difference between chem for majors and a one semester chem course at our CC even if it’s taught by the same teacher.  So it’s a personal preference of what you are looking for in a course - truly a college course or a high school course that masquerades as a college one. Now if you are going into arts, the high school one just might be enough to check a box. 

As a society, I wish we would address some of the real problems.  Many high schools are offering poor curriculums and educations.  The solution should not be to send the kids to CC instead.  I think it varies a lot by region of hte country, but I have seen a lot of putting high school education on to the CC--which isn't what it is really designed for.  Often those students are being taught by CC professors who are being paid far less than high school teachers.  Then the CC gets so involved in really providing high school work that it can't do what it is really designed to do.  

An arts major may not need a college level chemistry course--but let's admit that rather than masquerading around.  All of the dressing things up just cloaks the underlying issues and then the high schools, the community colleges, and the universities can't really do their jobs.  

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9 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Absolutely.

And NOT because the profs aren't good - but because the students who will take a remedial math course at CC are weak math students and not peers for an advanced young student who takes college classes instead of high school.

Here, you don’t simply *choose* to take remedial math.  There’s a placement test. Advanced students go to the appropriate math. Remedial students go to remedial math.  You can’t get into a credit math class without passing the tests.

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Just now, Carrie12345 said:

Here, you don’t simply *choose* to take remedial math.  There’s a placement test. Advanced students go to the appropriate math. Remedial students go to remedial math.  You can’t get into a credit math class without passing the tests.

yes, but my argument is still the same: a weak college student who places into college algebra which is remedial for him and an advanced 13 year old who places into college algebra which si advanced for her do not belong in the same course.

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Just now, regentrude said:

yes, but my argument is still the same: a weak college student who places into college algebra which is remedial for him and an advanced 13 year old who places into college algebra which si advanced for her do not belong in the same course.

I’m not sure I’m following.
My 4-yr state school doesn’t offer “remedial” College Algebra and “advanced” College Algebra.  You simply go and study the algebra curriculum.
What are we wanting CCs to do differently here?

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16 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I’m not sure I’m following.
My 4-yr state school doesn’t offer “remedial” College Algebra and “advanced” College Algebra.  You simply go and study the algebra curriculum.
What are we wanting CCs to do differently here?

College Algebra is probably not a good example, it’s not considered remedial for most colleges.  But pre calculus or the intermediate math that is equivalent to Alg 2 are.  A high school student taking Alg 2 (intermediate alg) in college is different from a 30 year old returning to school taking the same class. Very different student types.  
 

The biggest problem for me is that if you look at the remedial level classes, they tend not to be successful.  They also tend to be very heavily computer system driven, ALEKS is commonly used in those classes  at the college my husband went to. He was the 30 year old returning student who needed remedial classes.  Most students that need remedial classes never pass them. (My husband did, with a lot of help from me) They don’t get the attention.  

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I’m not sure I’m following.
My 4-yr state school doesn’t offer “remedial” College Algebra and “advanced” College Algebra.  You simply go and study the algebra curriculum.
What are we wanting CCs to do differently here?

I don't want the CC doing anything different - I agreed with previous poster's opinion not to take remedial math at CC.

College algebra is, in essence, a remedial course for any student who completed highschool because it does not cover anything that should not have been covered in high school. It would not be a good choice for an advanced young student who needs this level of math because the other students will all be struggling math students - otherwise they would have placed into calculus.

And the lower math courses that are remedial below college algebra cover essentially the material of 8th and 9th grade.

 

Edited by regentrude
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38 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Here, you don’t simply *choose* to take remedial math.  There’s a placement test. Advanced students go to the appropriate math. Remedial students go to remedial math.  You can’t get into a credit math class without passing the tests.

Yeah, so if you have a DE student, don't take math at the CC until they can place into the college level.  My dd did a full AS plus a ton of extra credits at the CC starting at just-turned-15, but she didn't take a math class there till Pre-Calc and Calc (well, actually Pre-Calc was a repeat because she did DO, but she needed it Business Pre-Calc for her AS and she doesn't do placement tests well - and refuses to review for them -  so in spite of making an A in Honors DO Pre-Calc she took it again).  But a remedial CC course would have been worse.

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12 minutes ago, HeartString said:

College Algebra is probably not a good example, it’s not considered remedial for most colleges.  But pre calculus or the intermediate math that is equivalent to Alg 2 are.  A high school student taking Alg 2 (intermediate alg) in college is different from a 30 year old returning to school taking the same class. Very different student types.  
 

The biggest problem for me is that if you look at the remedial level classes, they tend not to be successful.  They also tend to be very heavily computer system driven, ALEKS is commonly used in those classes  at the college my husband went to. He was the 30 year old returning student who needed remedial classes.  Most students that need remedial classes never pass them. (My husband did, with a lot of help from me) They don’t get the attention.  

I agree that the computer-based learning/homework/evaluation systems are a problem.  I think they are problematic for a lot of students, but especially students who are struggling.  From a pedagogical standpoint I think there is a major issue.  Students get a problem, see they got it wrong, get a solution to see the correct way, and then, even though they have new numbers see to "take the first number in the problem and then divide it by the middle number in the problem and then add the last number"  That isn't knowledge that is transferrable to a knew problem.  They are simply copying and aren't learning the why or the general principles.  I can show a student a problem over and over and over, but what really helps is when I have them start working the problem and see where they get off track--what are they not thinking properly about--and correct that.  

I also find that students spend a lot of time fussing with the system.  I am supposed to round to two decimal places?  Is that two decimal places at each step?  If I am working with percentages is it 0.02 or 2.35% that you mean by two decimal places?  I got the answer wrong--Did I mistype an answer?  Did I not round properly?  Did I do the problem entirely wrong?  What is different about this problem and the previous problem?  Oh-I can't go back and look and compare...

But the systems are ways we can pay someone $2500 to teach a college level course to a lot of students.  Of course, we don't add in the cost of all of those programs and the amount of times the students have to repeat the class.  So, there are a lot of hidden costs.  What looks like a cheap, efficient way of doing it on the surface is a lot more costly in the long-run.

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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

 

ETA - they also took pre-calc at DE and had great instructors.  Both are in CS (one graduated already, one in college). 

 

I have to take this back - my kids started in calculus at CC.  Dd took Algebra 2/Pre-Calc with Thinkwell and Ds3 took it at ps.  Oops!  But I do know that it is a good class at our CC.

 

1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I said personally 😉

Sorry, I thought you implied it was a bad idea overall.

 

1 hour ago, HeartString said:

I think it’s really going to vary by location. 

Absolutely!  

 

1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

there is a massive difference between chem for majors and a one semester chem course at our CC even if it’s taught by the same teacher.  So it’s a personal preference of what you are looking for in a course - truly a college course or a high school course that masquerades as a college one.  

Dd attended a CC and a 4 year university for DE.  The level of education she received at the CC was absolutely superior to her classes at the 4 year university.  And the CC professors, in general, were so committed to students.  It was very touching.  Also, many of the classes taught at our CC were taught better than at the colleges my kids went on to attend.  I'm actually thinking of the math classes at the CC - calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.  

 

40 minutes ago, regentrude said:

yes, but my argument is still the same: a weak college student who places into college algebra which is remedial for him and an advanced 13 year old who places into college algebra which si advanced for her do not belong in the same course.

Once again, I can only speak to our experience - our CC had small classes and our kids developed really good relationships with their professors because they were better students and more motivated than many of the traditional students.  Once they got to more advanced classes (engineering physics, math, higher level foreign language) there really wasn't a difference in the level of students.  

 

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My kid is considering a precalculus class at a CC over the summer so he can use it as a placement for high school. At home he is on chapter 5 of AoPS precalculus and after consulting with math gurus here, I was told he needs chapters 6 and 7  as well to call it precalc. Plus hopefully some Intro to vectors and matrices.
So basically he has a long way to go still to finish the course. Yet everything his CC precalculus covers he did already plus some.  We are dumbfounded how this CC course is considered a preparation for calculus. 
And yes, it uses Aleks 🙄

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9 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

I agree that the computer-based learning/homework/evaluation systems are a problem.  I think they are problematic for a lot of students, but especially students who are struggling.  From a pedagogical standpoint I think there is a major issue.  Students get a problem, see they got it wrong, get a solution to see the correct way, and then, even though they have new numbers see to "take the first number in the problem and then divide it by the middle number in the problem and then add the last number"  That isn't knowledge that is transferrable to a knew problem.  They are simply copying and aren't learning the why or the general principles.  I can show a student a problem over and over and over, but what really helps is when I have them start working the problem and see where they get off track--what are they not thinking properly about--and correct that.  

I also find that students spend a lot of time fussing with the system.  I am supposed to round to two decimal places?  Is that two decimal places at each step?  If I am working with percentages is it 0.02 or 2.35% that you mean by two decimal places?  I got the answer wrong--Did I mistype an answer?  Did I not round properly?  Did I do the problem entirely wrong?  What is different about this problem and the previous problem?  Oh-I can't go back and look and compare...

But the systems are ways we can pay someone $2500 to teach a college level course to a lot of students.  Of course, we don't add in the cost of all of those programs and the amount of times the students have to repeat the class.  So, there are a lot of hidden costs.  What looks like a cheap, efficient way of doing it on the surface is a lot more costly in the long-run.

I hate computerized homework systems with a passion and refuse to use them in my (large enrollment, 450+) classes.  And it's only "cheap" for the college. My DS' first semester, I had to pay NINE HUNDRED dollars for textbooks with four access codes to online systems. The cost is all put on the students.

IMO,the tuition should buy the students a well paid professor and human graders; they shouldn't have to pay extra for the privilege of having their homework graded. I really have an ethical problem with this 9aside from a pedagogical one)

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

My kid is considering a precalculus class at a CC over the summer so he can use it as a placement for high school. At home he is on chapter 5 of AoPS precalculus and after consulting with math gurus here, I was told he needs chapters 6 and 7  as well to call it precalc. Plus hopefully some Intro to vectors and matrices.
So basically he has a long way to go still to finish the course. Yet everything his CC precalculus covers he did already plus some.  We are dumbfounded how this CC course is considered a preparation for calculus. 
And yes, it uses Aleks 🙄

I think homeschoolers have higher standards.  Which is good, but also bad when situations like that happen. We aren’t using the same criteria as public schools or CCs.  Ours is better I think but it’s hard to compare apples to apples.  

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

My kid is considering a precalculus class at a CC over the summer...At home he is on chapter 5 of AoPS precalculus and after consulting with math gurus here, I was told he needs chapters 6 and 7  as well to call it precalc. Plus hopefully some Intro to vectors and matrices.
...Yet everything his CC precalculus covers he did already plus some.  We are dumbfounded how this CC course is considered a preparation for calculus.

Precalculus is not actually a preparation for calculus 1; it's just the last non-calculus course before calc.

you don't need trig identities until calc 2, vectors until calc 3, and you don't need matrices for calculus at all.
 

Edited by regentrude
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1 minute ago, regentrude said:

I hate computerized homework systems with a passion and refuse to use them in my (large enrollment, 450+) classes.  And it's only "cheap" for the college. My DS' first semester, I had to pay NINE HUNDRED dollars for textbooks with four access codes to online systems. The cost is all put on the students.

IMO,the tuition should buy the students a well paid professor and human graders; they shouldn't have to pay extra for the privilege of having their homework graded. I really have an ethical problem with this 9aside from a pedagogical one)

Thank you!  I really feel like the computer programs  and the teachers response really killed my sons desire to learn.  I did the DE for pre Calc precisely because I wanted a real teacher, not a proctor.  I have a lot of guilt.  

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9 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I hate computerized homework systems with a passion and refuse to use them in my (large enrollment, 450+) classes.  And it's only "cheap" for the college. My DS' first semester, I had to pay NINE HUNDRED dollars for textbooks with four access codes to online systems. The cost is all put on the students.

IMO,the tuition should buy the students a well paid professor and human graders; they shouldn't have to pay extra for the privilege of having their homework graded. I really have an ethical problem with this 9aside from a pedagogical one)

I agree with the ethical issue regarding who is grading the homework.  I also have ethical issues regarding requiring a student to provide information to a third-party--email address, contact information, grades, as a requirement to be enrolled in my class.

I also have qualms with the way the major publishers are pushing this.  It is not only about cutting down on the resale of textbooks.  It has been used as a scheme to reduce royalties to authors.  The textbook author's contract would be something like they get 10% of the price of each book sold--for a $100 book that would be $10.  But all of derivative products from the book pay royalties differently.  So, the publisher sellls access to a computer program with access to the books contents for $150--then it states that $145 of that is for the computer program and $5 is for the book content.  Then the author gets royalties on $5, not $100--and usually these rates are lower than the 10% the author would have received on the book.  On top of that the author is at the publisher's mercy to know how electronic copies have been sold--it isn't like the old days where you could open a book cover and get an idea from the number of print runs.  There have been lawsuits against all of the major publishers regarding these types of practices.

And, I also have problems with what they are providing as "evidenced-based research" of how great their products are.  Much of it is based on self-designed surveys with questions designed to elicit positive responses.  

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17 minutes ago, HeartString said:

Thank you!  I really feel like the computer programs  and the teachers response really killed my sons desire to learn.  I did the DE for pre Calc precisely because I wanted a real teacher, not a proctor.  I have a lot of guilt.  

It is very frustrating to me that these big fancy systems (that are expensive) are taking the place of real teachers which are so much better.

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7 minutes ago, HeartString said:

Thank you!  I really feel like the computer programs  and the teachers response really killed my sons desire to learn.  I did the DE for pre Calc precisely because I wanted a real teacher, not a proctor.  I have a lot of guilt.  

Dd is just finished Calc II at a 4-year university as a DE student.  It was her third math class to use WebAssign.  She eventually figured it out but it was a painful ride.  Luckily she had great professors who promptly answered any type of questions but had she not been at home for me to literally hold her hand through parts of it, I'm not sure she would have been successful.  I was no help for the actual content but was often called in to help decode the correct-answer-wrong-format problems.  I swear she spent more time trying to crack the code than learning the actual content.  So frustrating!  I will be watching with popcorn as she starts her official freshman year at the same school in the fall.  I am guessing she will be quite popular in the dorms since 75% of her new housemates will be taking Calc I and grappling with these issues for the first time.  I am actually VERY glad she tackled this while still in high school when we could help her so she has one less stressor as a freshman.

As for the overall topic here, I live in an area that has very limited CC options.  My experience with our CC has been terrible and that really colors my opinion of this free CC idea.  I am generally in favor of programs like this but I feel like you might as well burn the money rather than attend our CC.  Dd took one class....not "remedial"....as a DE student.  It was terrible.  Worse than terrible.  I expected more out of her in the 4th grade than this college class.  Not a single thing was graded at any point throughout the semester and she was given a grade she did not agree with, with no explanation.  I actually feel unethical about transferring the credit to her college because she absolutely did not learn what the stated outcomes on the syllabus listed.  I would chalk that up as an isolated experience but the very same school once approached me about teaching.  With no interview, they were prepared to offer me a job teaching chemistry.  I got a C in college chemistry 30 years ago.  And they were going to pay me what amounted to less than $5/hour to do it.  They were desperate.  I cannot help but wonder what percentage of their faculty are not suited for what they are teaching and I am quite certain none are being paid enough to care.

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2 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

Yeah, so if you have a DE student, don't take math at the CC until they can place into the college level.  My dd did a full AS plus a ton of extra credits at the CC starting at just-turned-15, but she didn't take a math class there till Pre-Calc and Calc (well, actually Pre-Calc was a repeat because she did DO, but she needed it Business Pre-Calc for her AS and she doesn't do placement tests well - and refuses to review for them -  so in spite of making an A in Honors DO Pre-Calc she took it again).  But a remedial CC course would have been worse.

My kids can’t take DE courses in math or sciences unless they pass the entrance test to prove they can handle college math.
They can’t take any English or English-dependent courses (history, social science, overall humanities I believe) unless they pass the entrance test to prove they can handle college English.

 

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4 hours ago, HeartString said:

Thank you!  I really feel like the computer programs  and the teachers response really killed my sons desire to learn.  I did the DE for pre Calc precisely because I wanted a real teacher, not a proctor.  I have a lot of guilt.  

And it’s now even worse with online. No more live lectures of any sort here. Some prerecorded videos are provided and the rest is a computer program. Zero interaction with a teacher. 

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17 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

And it’s now even worse with online. No more live lectures of any sort here. Some prerecorded videos are provided and the rest is a computer program. Zero interaction with a teacher. 

Does your son get the RISC survey from the community college he is taking classes from? I have been filling out the survey a few times and I think whoever is planning at the community college my kids and I take classes from do take notice on feedback.

The survey organization that they use https://www.risc.college

survey questions and sample report https://www.risc.college/sites/default/files/2018-10/gotham_college_report.pdf

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3 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

My kids can’t take DE courses in math or sciences unless they pass the entrance test to prove they can handle college math.
They can’t take any English or English-dependent courses (history, social science, overall humanities I believe) unless they pass the entrance test to prove they can handle college English.

 

We can't in our state either.  You cannot do DE at all unless you are college ready and you cannot take anything remedial.  Our CCs are pretty picky. 

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7 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

We can't in our state either.  You cannot do DE at all unless you are college ready and you cannot take anything remedial.  Our CCs are pretty picky. 

what constitutes "college math" for your CC? Calculus and up? College algebra? how do they define "college ready"?

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1 minute ago, regentrude said:

what constitutes "college math" for your CC? Calculus and up? College algebra? how do they define "college ready"?

You need to test into college algebra at a minimum.  Our DE programs encourages everyone to repeat their previous level at the college level or requires additional testing to show readiness.  But you couldn't take lower level remedial math classes as a DE student.   For English, you need to place into comp 1.   There are a number of ways to test in - ACT/SAT, Accuplacer, state testing.  Because of covid, I have old test scores for my kid starting the free state DE program in the fall.  

Most DE students here finish their math sequencing at their school.  Though some are ready to go beyond calc before graduating.  My daughter is doing pre-calc this year (10th grade) and they want her to go to college algebra as a homeschool applicant in the fall. Well, we aren't doing that.  I might have her clep through some as a review.  I have a math degree so I don't particularly dread having her do math at home or using another provider for that.    

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