Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On a randomized control trial at CUNY on replacing remedial college algebra with introductory college statistics:
[T]here is a significant and fairly large (16% without covariates in the model, 14% with) difference in odds of passing the course for those randomized to the intro stats course compared to the elementary algebra course...

I will hold with Hacker in suggesting that this does represent a lowering of standards, and that this is a feature, not a bug. That is, I think we should allow some students to avoid harder math requirements precisely because the current standards are too high. Students in deeply quantitative fields will have higher in-major math requirements anyway.

Yep. And statistics is more directly useful for non-STEM majors who, for example, want to understand the news.

I also found it interesting that "support workshops" for remedial college algebra students didn't measurably improve pass rates in this study. I'm not sure what to make of that. I suppose it's consistent with my anecdotal, non-randomized-control-trial experience that more conscientious students are both more likely to pass and more likely to take the time to get help from tutors and/or their professors on a regular basis.


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