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Quantitative Literacy (Math 104) FAQ

What is this course about?
Math 104 (Quantitative Literacy) focuses on algebraic and numeric skills in a context of applications and problem-solving to prepare students for Stat 121 (Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences) or Math 100 (Contemporary Mathematics). Topics include quantitative relationships, algebraic reasoning, functional reasoning, probabilistic and statistical reasoning, and incorporate quantitative communication skills and technology.
Why develop this course?
Currently many students have difficulty passing Math 106 (Algebra and Elementary Functions), or had to take a series of courses (LRC 099 and Math 106) which were previously a prerequisite requirement for Math 100 (Contemporary Mathematics) and Stat 121 (Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences). Math 104 (Quantitative Literacy) is focused on applied foundations of mathematics rather than algebra, and will prepare students for a GEP course in the following semester.
Who should take this course?
Students who 1) place into a developmental math course when they take the math placement test and 2) are pursuing a major that does not require calculus or an algebra-intensive course. Some examples of majors that do not require any calculus or algebra-intensive course are Africana Studies, American Studies, Ancient Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies, Dance, etc. Please note that this list of majors is not exhaustive. Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for details on major requirements.
How will students know if they need to take Math 104?
Incoming freshmen students take a math placement test at UMBC. After Math 104 is approved as a regular course, students who place into developmental math will receive a message about the new math pathway, alerting them that this new pathway might be for them. For the upcoming semester, Fall 2016, many students have already taken the placement test. Students who placed into developmental math will be contacted via email close to orientation appointments. Students will hear about Math 104 from their orientation advisors. We are also working to communicate with departmental advisors to make sure they know this option may be useful for their students. Here is the placement test language for future semesters: UMBC has a new math pathway for students who need a review course and intend to pursue a major that requires only a general education mathematics or statistics course. The pathway is not intended for students entering majors that require calculus or an algebra-intensive course. If you are a first time college freshman in the coming semester and are interested in a major in social sciences, liberal arts, communications, or arts, this course may be for you. Come to orientation to find out more.
How many credits is Math 104?
3 credits.
Does Math 104 count toward the 120 credits required to graduate?
How will Math 104 benefit students, as opposed to the current pathway?
Students pursuing a major that does not require calculus are sometimes stymied by the algebra prerequisite to enter GEP courses. This new pathway will specifically serve students who place into developmental math, but do not need any calculus for their major.
Is Math 104 a new GEP?
No, this course serves as a prerequisite for Math 100 (Contemporary Mathematics) or Stat 121 (Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences), which are both GEP courses.
What are the math GEP courses, anyway?
  • CMSC 203 (Discrete Structures)
  • Some FYS (First Year Seminar) courses (see course descriptions for details)
  • Math 100 (Contemporary Mathematics)
  • Math 131 (Math for Elementary School Teachers)
  • Math 150 (Precalculus Mathematics)
  • Math 151 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)
  • Math 155 (Applied Calculus)
  • Stat 121 (Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences)
What if a student changes his or her major to one that requires calculus after taking this course?
Math 104 will serve as a prerequisite for Math 106 (Algebra and Elementary Functions), so students can easily move back to the calculus-readiness path if they choose to.
What if a student initially believes he or she will need calculus, and then changes to a major for which calculus is not required?
Math 106 (Algebra and Elementary Functions) will still be a sufficient prerequisite for Math 100 (Contemporary Mathematics) and Stat 121 (Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences), so students can easily move on a GEP math course after passing Math 106. If a student first takes and passes LRC 099 (Introductory Algebra) and then decides to pursue a major that does not require calculus, he or she can then take Math 104. Especially strong students from LRC 099 may exercise the option to bypass Math 104 using Credit by Examination (essentially just taking the final exam for Math 104).
Do students HAVE to take Math 104 if they are pursuing majors that do not require calculus?
No, students can place directly into a GEP math course such as Math 100 or Stat 121. Math 104 is only for students who place into developmental math (AND do not need calculus for their majors).
Will Math 104 work as a prerequisite for Math 215 or Math 155 or Math 150?
No. Math 104 is only a prerequisite for Math 100 and Stat 121. See the course catalog for prerequisites for other courses.
How does this new course fit impact students who place in LRC099 (Introductory Algebra)?
Students who place in LRC 099 may opt to take Math 104 instead of LRC 099. Math 104 is available to all students who place into developmental math. However, if a student has declared a major that requires an intensive algebra course or a calculus course and he or she has placed into LRC 099, that student should take LRC 099, then Math 106, then whatever other courses are required for their path.
How will the course content for Math 104 differ from Math 106?
The course outcomes for Math 104 and Math 106 are listed below for comparison. There is some overlap of material, but a primary difference between the courses lies in the presentation of material. Math 106 is an intensive algebra course that focuses on abstract reasoning and mathematical notation; Math 104 is an applied course focusing on how students will use mathematical tools, and therefore has less of an emphasis on abstract reasoning and notation.

Course outcomes for Math 104
Upon course completion, the students will be able to:

  1. Use number concepts to describe quantitative relationships in a variety of contexts.

  2. Communicate, interpret and explain mathematical concepts using appropriate symbolic notation and vocabulary.

  3. Manipulate and solve equations, using appropriate mathematical techniques and technology.

  4. Solve word problems in various contexts and interpret results by using mathematical concepts with appropriate terms and units.

  5. Solve systems of two equations graphically and algebraically, and interpret the results in an appropriate manner.

  6. Recognize whether a linear or non-linear mathematical model is appropriate, and use the appropriate model to represent the relationships between variables.

  7. Summarize and interpret data using graphs, tables, technology, and statistics (including measures of central tendencies and dispersion).

  8. Collect data and use information from the data to make reasonable conclusions by employing appropriate numerical and algebraic concepts such as fractions, ratios, decimals and percents.
Course topics for Math 106
Upon course completion, students will demonstrate mastery of the following topics:

  1. System of equations (2 or 3 variables)
  2. Exponents
  3. Polynomials—Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication
  4. Factoring
  5. Rational Expressions (Simplification, Multiplication and division, Addition and Subtraction, Complex Rational expressions, Equations and Applications)
  6. Radicals (Rational exponents, Simplification, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and division, Equations)
  7. Quadratic Equations and graphs (Different methods of solving quadratic equations–Factoring, Square root property, Completing the square, Quadratic Formula; Applications; Graph—Parabola)
  8. Functions (Domain and Range, Functional values, Graphs and transformations, Operations with functions and composition of functions, Inverse functions)
  9. Logarithmic and Exponential Functions (Graphs, Properties, Equations and Applications)