Most colleges and universities have a general education mathematics requirement with some, including WIU, allowing a gen ed logic classes to satisfy that mathematics requirement. I am most interested in discussing the issue of mathematical reasoning standards for general education--specifically logic classes and students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
My main concern is with students who have intellectual disabilities. These disabilities are things like dyscalculia or acalculia, but also IQ levels that are in the 70s. As an educator, I am struggling with methods of teaching and evaluating students who have genuine intellectual disabilities and can’t do the work necessary to pass my class with a grade of ‘C’. The ‘C’ threshold has become a bigger issue for me in the last year since the replacement course grade standard was changed from a ‘D-’ to ‘C’ to be in line with the mathematics course requirement.
Of course my university has a disability resource center. The center provides accommodations for many disabilities, but what I can’t discern, and am looking to others for guidance on, is how to accommodate students who have intellectual disabilities that prevent them from proficiency in general education mathematical reasoning skills courses, like logic.
How to provide accommodations for intellectual disabilities is a big question as it goes to the heart of what a college or university education is since it seems to be giving up on one of the hallmarks of a university education: mathematical reasoning. Wayne State has taken the discussion from the university level and pushed it down to departments to decide the mathematical reasoning requirements for a degree program. In some ways that seems wise. But if more applied programs like Fashion Design or Dietetics eliminate mathematics general education requirements, that has real consequences for society, resource allocation at universities, and program structure (of which I have written about before).
Illinois is promoting initiatives like: “the goal that Illinois [will] have 60 percent of adults (25-64 years of age) with a college degree or credential by the year 2025. This goal is the North Star that guides all of our budgetary and strategic decisions.” (page 10) Other states have similar goals, and with this expansion of access to higher education, the number of people with intellectual disabilities will rise in our classrooms. I am agnostic as to the beneficial consequences of these kinds of enrollment and graduation goals, but do realize that it will impact my classroom, and to a greater extent than elite colleges and universities.
So how do others teach and assess students with intellectual disabilities in classes that satisfy mathematics general education courses? Comments are open.