Title

High School All Over Again: The Problem of Redundant College Mathematics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-22-2019

Publication Title

Journal of Higher Education

First page number:

1

Last page number:

27

Abstract

Using linked high school and college records for a national sample of students, I document the first college math courses that students take and examine how they compare with high school coursework. Detailed 12th-grade math assessment data and variation in college math course-taking allow me to estimate the extent of redundant college math experiences, when students who were identified as being able to pass a higher-level course instead took a lower-level course that they had already completed in high school. I show how redundant math is a distinct experience from college math remediation and how many students in remediation are actually in redundant courses. I also inspect patterns of math redundancy among the college-going population. Roughly one-fifth of college students take math that is redundant and likely unnecessary. This is more commonly the experience of students attending public colleges, female students, and students from lower-SES backgrounds. About 40% of students beginning college in remedial math courses do so in a redundant math course.

Keywords

College transitions; Mathematics; Remediation; Tracking; Higher education

Disciplines

Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education

Language

English

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