A proposed curriculum in mathematics based upon a study of the mathematics curriculum (1964-65) at Sandwich High School, Illinois
Ehren, Kenneth Walton
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In this study ths problem was two-fold. First, the problem was to determine the mathematical needs and abilities of the students at Sandwich High School, Illinois. Once these quantities were determined, the problem was to outline a mathematics curriculum for the high school. In order to determine the needs of the students at Sandwich High School, a questionnaire was administered to freshmen and sophomores concerning their future plans with regard to (a) enrollment in other mathematics courses before graduation from high school and (b) their occupation after graduation from high school. A questionnaire was also sent to selected graduates of Sandwich High School regarding the effectiveness of the mathematics curriculum in preparation for their occupation (i.e. further education or employment) upon graduation from high school. Since two years of mathematics were required for graduation from Sandwich High School, the abilities of freshmen were determined with regard to algebra (for those students in general mathematics) and geometry (for those students in algebra). This was done by administering the appropriate aptitude tests to the freshmen. The chief findings of this study were (1) a sharp increase In the number of freshmen, compared with the sophomores, who plan to major or minor in mathematics in college, (2) graduates who had enrolled in college mathematics requested the addition of calculus and/or analytic geometry to the high school curriculum most often, (3) a request was made by a respondent to include a study of sets in algebra as preparation for certain college mathematics courses, (4) requests from certain graduates for general improvement of the general "climate" of the course in general mathematics, and (5) some freshmen scored below the "cut-off value" which was recommended by the authors of each of the aptitude tests used. The following conclusions were drawn from the results of this study: (1) a limited number of freshmen should be exempted from the two-year mathematics requirement for graduation or else diverted into some other type of course (e.g. general business); (2) solid geometry should be eliminated from the curriculum as a separate course as a means of adding some "advanced" mathematics to the curriculum of the high school; (3) analytic geometry and calculus should eventually be added to the mathematics curriculum; (4) a study of sets should be added to the curriculum at the beginning of Algebra 1, as recommended by certain mathematics educators; (5) all courses, especially general mathematics, should include practical applications of the concepts learned. This paper concluded with a series of recommendations based on the conclusions reached in this study, results of this study, and the viewpoints of authorities which were found in the literature. These recommendations include a brief outline for a four-year mathematics curriculum for Sandwich High School.