Friday, February 12, 2016

College Algebra Stumbling Blocks

VISITOR: Thank you for your prompt reply. I attend school at  University online and I am in my sophomore year. Thus far I have completed 40 credit hours. My present class is Math 221 (Introduction to Algebra) and the next class is Math 222 (Intermediate Algebra). I am pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Business leadership with deals mainly with psychology, communication, conflict resolution and motivation. These math classes are part of my general education competencies. 

My plan is to start my own business, and algebra will not even be necessary because my work will involve observance, communication, and creative strategies, which I do very well. However, it is a college requirement; and as I told my advisor, I fear this may be the end of my college pursuit. 
I wrote my advisor another note today, because on my last one he advised me to "work harder" or spend more time (as if that will help). I know that these will not help as this has been a problem since my high school days. Anything that involves memorizing steps or sequences is lost quickly because I have a terrible short-term memory at best, and if I do not understand what I am writing, then even if I write it, I am not going to retain it. How can one retain what they do not comprehend? I wish they understood.

In my email today I told him about dyscalculia and asked if he had heard of it. I will be able to determine the next step upon hearing from him. I am however going to try to drop this class or get an incomplete as you suggested. 


Are Math 221 and Math 222 the college level classes, or are they remedial (not counted toward your degree)? The course numbers look college-level, but the titles do not. 

Please explore the links I sent before so that you know your rights. 

Ask your advisor to refer you to the university's ed psych dept to get tested for a math learning disorder. You must take action immediately.  

Go to and sign up for a free trial to see if you can benefit. If it works for you, you can ask for an incomplete in Math 221, and an academic adjustment letting you cover the course content in the ALEKS self-paced computer system. The prof will get a login to monitor your progress and set topics, and you'll get an agreement up front that he will use your ALEKS percentage to record your grade for the course. Many universities use ALEKS, so it is not a foreign idea. 


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