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What Community College Developmental Mathematics Students Understand About Mathematics

Abstract

"The nation is facing a crisis in its community colleges: more and more students are attending community colleges, but most of them are not prepared for college-level work. The problem may be most dire in mathematics. ...We know from international studies that U.S. mathematics education is mediocre at best when compared with other industrialized nations. But the fact that community college students, most of whom graduate from U.S. high schools, are not able to perform basic arithmetic, pre-algebra and algebra, shows the real cost of our failure to teach mathematics in a deep and meaningful way in our elementary, middle and high schools. Although our focus here is on the community college students, it is important to acknowledge that the methods used to teach mathematics in K-12 schools are not succeeding, and that the limitations of students' mathematical proficiency are cumulative and increasingly obvious over time."

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