By Will Hoheisel
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Both students and staff at Camden County College are questioning whether all the school’s students should be required to take algebra classes.
The roots of this issue begin at the CCC Testing Center at the College Library. There, future college students take an ACCUPLACER test. This is used to determine where their general education skills lie. Depending on the grades they receive, students can do one of two things. The first is they can skip ahead to classes in alignment with their majors. The other requires a little more effort.
“It’s possible to take up to nine courses if they do not test at college level,” says Chris Gallo, an auto instructor at CCC, this week.
Among these courses is algebra.
Some students and staff believe there are benefits in tackling this subject.
“If you have a working knowledge of algebra, it can help you become more efficient,” says Jim Wallace, a liberal arts and science major.
“It helps you not only (with) the skill set you’re learning, but also it opens your mind to (critical) thinking,” says Gallo.
In addition to these comments, Dorothy Brown, a basic skills math instructor at CCC, provided a statement from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It states, “Algebra provides a systematic way to investigate relationships, helping to describe, organize and understand the world.”
However, others have different opinions about the necessity and impact of algebra.
Amanda Shelanskey, a business administration major, says she was expecting college classes at CCC to be “more directly towards what you’re trying to major in.” In her case, algebra was a subject she tackled in high school, and she didn’t feel the need to take it again.
John Pesda, a history teacher at CCC and director of CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility, believes the extra algebra courses students take doesn’t impact just them.
“I think that’s a waste of student time and of college resources,” he says.
Despite these complaints, both Shelanskey and Pesda have personal solutions to the issue.
“I … think it could definitely be useful for students that didn’t have to take it in high school or didn’t do well in it,” says Shelanskey.
“I believe that any student who wishes should be able to take algebra, because algebra is the stepping stone for higher mathematics,” says Pesda.