Monday, 19 November 2007

The Unique Effects of Including History in College Algebra

via Scout Report:

A team of mathematicians at Black Hills State University {...} decided to investigate what the effects of including historical modules in college algebra might be in regards to students' understanding and mathematical communication.

The result - 'Over the last three years at BHSU, great strides have been made in improving student outcomes in College Algebra with the inclusion of history in the course.':
1. increase in following enrolling (triagonometry) - 5 students in 2003 and 2004 to 20 students in 2007
2. significant improvement on test problems where mathematical vocabulary and notation have created difficulty for students in the past.
3. 10% increase in the College Algebra passing rate since 2005 has come since the addition of the historical modules

The faculty feels that including historical development of mathematics is of key importance and believe that the full benefits of history inclusion have yet to be reached.

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