My nephew, who will be a senior at George Washington High School this fall, wants to be a veterinarian. So I asked him what courses he will be taking this fall. He described his schedule as “pretty chill.” No math or science courses, a senior English course, and a few electives.
I advised him, “If you are serious about becoming a vet, you need to be taking science and math courses. Do you realize that if you don’t take a math course your senior year, when you take the placement exam to get into college at either GCC or UOG, you might test into developmental math, because you won’t have done any math for a full year, and you might forget those formulas?”
I told him it happens all the time, and that developmental courses do not count toward your college degree. Our latest Fact Book stats for 2016 had 96 percent of incoming freshmen placing into developmental math courses. English has fared a little better, with only 65 percent placing into developmental English courses (when I first arrived at GCC eight years ago, it was 83 percent).
An even better deal than taking math at George Washington next year would be for my nephew to take MA110 Finite Mathematics at GCC, and get a “C” or better in the course, because then, under GCC’s Dual Enrollment Accelerated Learning (DEAL) program, it will count as MA301 Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry at GW.
Yes, that’s right. Under GCC’s DEAL program, public high school students and students in some private schools on island can earn college credit AND get credit for their upper level math and English high school courses. Which means they will graduate from high school with college credit, AND it will allow them to graduate from college earlier. We hear politicians talking about creating pathways to college all the time. At GCC, we’re way past the talking stage. We’re already doing it.
In the public schools, the DEAL program covers these GCC courses: EN110-Freshman English, MA110-Finite Mathematics, and MA161A College Algebra & Trigonometry I. If a student enrolls at GCC to take one or more of those courses while still a junior or senior in high school and makes the grade, they will be awarded credit for LA411 – Advanced Placement Language & Composition, MA301 – Trigonometry and Analytical Geometry, and MA401-Elementary Functions, respectively. At Father Duenas Memorial School, EN110 earns a student credit for their EL09 Composition course, and MA161B College Algebra & Trigonometry II earns credit for FD’s MA104 Pre-Calculus course. At Notre Dame High School, EN110 earns credit for their Composition course. College credit and high school credit simultaneously.
When I first came to GCC in 2009, some of our faculty had just completed a grant-funded study recommending that students in high school be REQUIRED to take four years of math and four years of English, regardless of whether they chose a college track or a career track in high school. The recommendation was made to the Guam Department of Education, which does require four years of English for both tracks, but still only three years of math for the career track. We see the difference between public school and private school students in the placement testing, because in the private schools, students are required to have those four years of math. It makes a huge difference, as our placement test numbers are showing.
It makes a difference in the workplace, too – even—if if the student doesn’t plan on going to college. Four years of math, four years of English. It’s a necessity. Requiring anything less of any high school student on this island is a disservice to the student and to our island’s workforce.
Jayne Flores is a longtime island journalist and the Assistant Director of Communications & Promotions at Guam Community College. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.