Math department changes requirements

For some students planning to transfer from Bellevue College, the completion of intermediate algebra is no longer a degree requirement. While Math 099 was previously necessary to satisfy the intermediate algebra requirement for the associate of arts and sciences DTA degree, the policy has changed. Students who are looking to pursue majors that do not require mathematics can now satisfy the algebra prerequisite for math 107 and math 130 with math 098 and can focus more time on courses relevant to their intended bachelor’s degree.

For some students, this is a relief. Jessica Salbador, a student at BC, said, “I think it’s a good thing. Now students who didn’t enjoy math and didn’t need it for their degree don’t have to deal with the added pressure of getting through an algebra class they find difficult.”

The topic of policy change had been brought up intermittently, beginning in 2007, when a committee at the state level began to discuss options for non-math majors. According to Science Division Adviser Sandy Walkenhorst, the fact that some students experienced a “road block” in mathematics when it was not relevant to their degree caught the attention of the math community, including the Washington State Council of Presidents and the Joint Transfer Council. “Not everyone needs advanced math in their career,” said Walkenhorst.

Ultimately, the prerequisite policy change was decided upon in November 2012, but the provost did not sign off on the change until April 2013. Walkenhorst said “The problem is some schools don’t agree with it.” In a comment as to why a decision was made in favor of the prerequisite policy change, Bellevue College Math Chair Dana Updegrove said: “Math 107 was designed as a terminal math class. That is, it was for students who would not need to take any further mathematics to satisfy their intended major … The level of mathematical sophistication of Math 099 is way beyond what is needed for Math 107 or Math 130.”

The policy change does not affect those students pursuing a business DTA, some other degrees at Bellevue College or students who have taken intermediate algebra in high school. In addition, while the prerequisite changes for Math 107, Math 130 and Philosophy 120 have already been made to reflect Math 098 in place of Math 099, the new policy does not officially go into effect until winter quarter 2013.

For students who wish to transfer to the University of Washington, it is suggested that they still complete Math 099, regardless of the changes to the AAS-DTA at Bellevue College. Updegrove remarked, “I would advise all students to check long before their intended date for graduation that they are on track to satisfy all their degree requirements.” More information can be found online at the Academic Advising New AAS-DTA QSR Requirements website