One thing that came up in the conference I just attended had to do with the question of how much math should a student prepare them better to attend college and to ensure the greatest chance of success.
The major response to this questions is for students to take higher level math classes during high school. It is recommended that students take at least Algebra II.
If a student takes at least Algebra II in high school, they do better in college and increase their chances of success. If they take classes beyond Algebra II, they double their chances of completing a four year degree. Imagine, we can help more students improve their chances of graduating from college by having them take trigonometry.
In addition, students need a good grade point average, at least a B or better in high school, to do increase their chances of completing a degree. So students need to do well in their math classes in high school and not just skim along with a D.
Very few of my students take the higher level of mathematics. Most end up blowing off the lower level classes so they end up with possibly Geometry as their highest class. Others decide to quit taking math after they have taken their three credits of math. In addition, too many of my students put enough effort into getting anything higher than a D.
To them, a D is fine because its passing but they continue to struggle with the next class because they have not developed a persistence needed to obtain higher grades. I keep trying to think of ways to encourage these students to do better than a D.
I think I'll start sharing this information with all my classes to help them. I don't know if it will succeed but I'm going to try.
I checked out why math is needed in real life because about half of my students are not going to college and I found 11 reasons from the Huffington Post on why students should learn math.
1. Students who are good at math will become parents who are good at math.
2. Teachers need to have a solid background in math. Some programs only require a 40 percent passing grade in math on the entrance test to get into the program. Imagine having teachers who have much understanding of math. The future teachers will be current students who need to be good at math.
3. Kids need math to see if what they are doing is making an impact in the world.
4. Students need the math if they hope to predict the long term consequences of certain actions.
5. A math savvy person can determine if a deal is good or bad.
6. If students know math, they can calculate tips properly.
7. Math can help people make healthy choices for their life.
8. Kids can learn to make choices that make saving easier.
9. You can determine how long it will take to drive somewhere.
10. Knowing math, allows someone to determine how valuable their time is.
11. Math educated people know about financial realities and most know that winning the lottery is probably not going to happen and it costs more than the price of the ticket when you have to drive somewhere to buy the ticket.
All good reasons to know math for your daily life. So now you have a basis for arguing to have all students math literate and to take higher levels of mathematics.