News — 28 April 2017

By Konnor McIntosh @easymoney_mac

A change will be coming to Las Positas in the fall of 2017, and it has nothing to do with the endless construction you see around campus. If you are a person who places in college-level math upon your arrival at Las Positas, this change will not affect you either. The math department at Las Positas has decided to get rid of classes that split up the curriculum over two semesters, citing low success rates by students.

While it may not seem like this is a major change, many students who place into these courses when taking the entrance exam are either behind on their knowledge of math or need to take it to build a more solid understanding of intermediate and advanced algebra concepts. Many take them because they didn’t take math their senior year in high school and feel like splitting it up over two semesters makes it an easier refresher rather than just forcing it into one semester.

For Las Positas student Sarah Bettencourt, not taking math her senior year of high school wasn’t an issue because the two semesters of Math 65 helped her transition into college level math.

“I found it to be helpful because I hadn’t taken math in a calendar year and I felt like I had enough time to get help from professors to catch up,” she said.

In addition she mentioned how the structure of the class left time for concept review.

“In one semester of math courses, you may get one or two days of review before the final exam for nine to ten chapters of material, but for these classes you can get two full weeks of review in some classes for three to four chapters. I felt well-prepared going in.”

From an administration perspective, they felt changes were necessary based on a variety of factors: low enrollment, too low of a course-load and a supposed low success rate for students in these courses. In an email sent to students and faculty, Math Emporium

Coordinator Jennie Graham listed numerous alternatives for students who are applying in the fall 2017 semester and were planning on taking either the A or B section of a course. She suggested they take Math 50 (which is your standard core intermediate algebra class) or the current Math 55 course in one semester (which is titled “Intermediate Algebra”).

“If your major does not require higher level math beyond the Math 50 course and something like statistics, Math 50 would be a great option for you,” Graham said. “Math 55 helps prepare you for higher-end courses like business calculus or trigonometry, and with that comes a different variety of ways to take the class.”

Despite this variety, it appears that splitting one course into two semesters is not included in those plans.

The first option is a normal lecture course with the instructor leading the course at their pace accompanied by homework through the “MyMathLab” program. The other option is taking an “Emporium” class, which means that you will guide yourself through the material using “MyMathLab,” with the assistance of your instructor, instructional assistant and a peer tutor.

This course allows you to personalize what you need to work on throughout the semester without the stress of feeling rushed. If this sounds familiar to the Math X self-paced course, it is because the Emporium class will now be replacing the Math X classes. These two options will only be available for Math 55, not Math 50.

While this may throw a wrench into many students’ plans, Graham encourages students to talk with their counselor regarding which course is right for them as they move towards transferrable math courses. More information can be found on the Emporium courses at or emailing Graham at


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Paris Ellis

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