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Points of Interest

QR a Viable Alternative to College Algebra

This Points of Interest shows that non-STEM students have a higher success rate in an alternative gateway math course, such as Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning, than in traditional college algebra.
April 29, 2020
Vilan Odekar
Tags: Accurate Placement, Refinement, Student Supports, 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., 4. Streamline remediation options., 7. Prioritize the student experience., Transfer and Course Applicability

Historically, college algebra has been the gateway math course required for most majors. In recent years, however, community colleges have been experimenting with alternative gateway math courses for non-STEM majors. One college that is leading the way is the University of Cincinnati (UC) in Ohio. UC created an alternative math course called the Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning (FQR) that is more aligned with a student’s program of study and is proving to be highly successful with its students.

From the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2019, UC students in most race/ethnic groups showed an increase in pass rates in FQR as compared to the standalone college algebra course. LatinX and multi-race students saw the largest gains, 12 and 13 percentage points respectively. This Points of Interest shows that non-STEM students have a higher success rate in an alternative gateway math course, such as Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning, than in traditional college algebra.