Postsecondary general education mathematics: theory and practice

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International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology




Many students who take a mathematics course as part of their post-secondary education are not enrolled in a mathematically-intensive degree program. This poses a challenge to mathematics departments that, for example, value and privilege more traditional mathematics curriculum: should students in such courses be taught differently than those in more traditional mathematics courses? What should constitute the curricula of these courses and who should teach them? How might the local institutional context influence the courses that are ultimately offered? This paper sketches a theory intended to help frame responses to these questions. We then present an example of this theory in action, in the form of a general education mathematics course for first-year, underprepared students. The ongoing design, teaching, and evaluation of this course might inspire further revisions to general education in mathematics at the undergraduate level. We present the motivation for the design of the course, a summary of what was ultimately enacted, and our reflections of this ongoing event. Our intention here is not to present our course and an evaluation of its ‘success'–however that might be conceptualised–but rather to display a rigorous vision for post-secondary general education mathematics.


equity, general education, inclusion, Postsecondary, undergraduate mathematics education


Mathematics and Statistics