For many learners, mathematics requirements become roadblocks to personal and professional development. Here, we conduct detailed analysis of a one career person's mathematical knowledge, experience, and career requirements…
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Nevertheless, disciplines requiring advance quantitative analysis have often been much more of a challenge for Joe than most other courses. Areas of significant difficulty have traditionally been algebra, chemistry, and statistics.
So far, Joe has passed a number of quantitative courses but has expressed that in many of them he did so experiencing significant academic difficulty. During his college career, he has successfully completed a number of such courses including vocational math, college algebra, introductory chemistry, trigonometry, two courses in physics with laboratories, calculus for business and social science, C programming, and finite math. Joe admitted to having taken the prerequisites to some of these courses numerous times. Nevertheless, he maintains certain career goals. Thus, these career goals constitute his need for gaining greater mastery over quantitative challenges. Joe's goals included completion of a master's degree in management information systems by fall of next year. The remainder of this curriculum includes at least four math related courses. Joe also plans to enter medical school by August of 2011. To qualify, he must include four chemistry courses with labs by that time. In all, Joe needs 8 more classes in math and science.
Because of the level difficulty in these courses, the plan of action is two-pronged. One prong is to divide up the course evenly throughout the remaining semesters. In this way, a sum of difficulties may be broken down into more manageable chunks. This is one way in which the tasks may become easier for this learner. The other prong in our plan is to have Joe take as many of these classes at night at his local community college as he can. Night classes tend to be less intense and meet less often than day courses, and community colleges usually have fewer students per class than a four year institution. This affords students the opportunity to access the instructor more readily than in the event of serious comprehension trouble. These two ways combined should lend a certain amount of mitigation of the challenges that are inherit in these courses, especially for someone like our subject who needs to develop habits to meet these requirements squarely.
Our recommendations mirror his career goal requirements. It is recommended that he takes a course in Financial or Managerial Accounting, Microeconomics, Introductory Finance, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry as well as Business and Advanced Statistics to meet these needs. As stated in our plan of action, these classes should be divvied up between summer of 2009, fall of 2009, spring of 2010, summer of 2010, fall of 2010, spring of 2011, and summer of 2011. That would boil down to about one class per semester. One quantitative class per semester should be sufficiently uncomplicated to achieve the ends satisfactorily.
There are a number of cognitive skills at play in the practice of quantitative analysis. One is simply counting. All mathematical functions are derived from the rules of the number line. Next is logic, logic constitutes the use of concrete rules to manipulate facts and figures. Another is measure. By measure we mean to apply the counting and its derivatives as well as logic to observe our natural world. Perhaps a more abstract concept is that of extrapolation - where we take our measures and through statistical analysis or algebraic
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