## Issues for Community Colleges

by Bobby Righi, Seattle Central Community College

In the setting of the community college, articulation is
complicated by the fact that students come from diverse
mathematical and educational backgrounds. We are in the position
of having to articulate an incredible number of factors.

Many students have been out of school for a while or did not take
much mathematics when they were in school. For these students, effective
articulation provides a context in which they can learn mathematics they
need for their job or personal enjoyment. They do this, most
commonly, while working, raising children, and sometimes
supporting extended families.

An increasing number of young students just out of high school enter our
mathematics program at various levels. A surprising number enter at the
level of basic mathematics or beginning algebra even after having two or
three years of high school mathematics. This reveals serious
*non-articulation* between school and college, but there are so many
factors involved that it is hard to say what the problem really is. These
young students don't seem to know what it means to know something. They
don't have the metacognitive skills to think about how they learn and to
judge when they have command of a concept or a skill. How do we make them
aware of these things?

I am interested in learning more about the mathematics used in
various careers. I know these uses are constantly changing, and
mathematics classes would be more interesting and relevant if
they were better connected to current uses. However, I don't
think that teaching specific content for specific jobs is what we
should be doing. We have to teach so as to give students the
power to read and discuss mathematics, and ask questions about
what they don't understand so they can learn new skills as
needed.

*Bobby Righi is in the Mathematics Department at Seattle Central
Community College.*

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*Last Update: *02/21/96