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Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (San Francisco, CA, Jan 16, 2010)

The author of this paper argues is mathematics indispensable and are pre-requisites needed in mathematics courses? that the answer to one question is, yes, and to the other, no; however, the response to the questions is inverted in this sentence. Such responses might surprise some people; but, the author shall argue that learning requires doing; only through inquiry is learning achieved, and mathematical thought is one that must be focused on the process of deriving a proof, constructing an adequate model of some occurrence, or providing connection between and betwixt the two. The questions were posed in two provocative papers, Do We Need Pre-requisites? (1997) and Is Mathematics Necessary? (1997), which the author has read (seemingly) every year and has provoked much reflection. The answers to the questions will lead to a discussion of the Committee on the Undergraduate Programme (CUPM) 2004 Recommendations (2004). The paper is organised in the following manner. In the first part of the paper the author reviews the literature and offers a synopsis of the major points that are addressed in the paper. In the second part the author argues the main points: we need pre-requisites in mathematics courses; but, mathematics is not a necessary area of academia for all students. In the third part of the paper the author discusses the CUPM 2004 Recommendations and their relationship to the questions. Finally, the author proposes questions he believes should be addressed before the next set of CUPM Standards are produced. (Contains 2 figures and 94 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Mathematics, Role, Core Curriculum, Minimum Competencies, Mathematics Instruction, Needs Assessment, Prerequisites, Relevance (Education), College Instruction

Autor: McLoughlin, M. Padraig M. M.


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