More MSU Students Taking Math Classes at LCC

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Taking tests: it's a begrudgingly accepted part of college life, and it’s no different for students at Lansing Community College.

What is different is that among any group of students taking math at LCC, there could be some Michigan State University students.

"LCC is seeing growth in students that are not ready for college-level mathematics,” LCC Math Department Chair Todd Troutman said Wednesday.

Some of the students are adult students using basic classes to get back up to speed. However, some MSU students fresh out of college are among those attending LCC math courses.

Troutman's math colleague at MSU, Director of Undergraduate Math Studies, William Brown has some insight as to why it's happening.

"I think students might be concerned with the level of competition at MSU. They feel it might be easier at LCC," Brown said.

That is to say some students don't feel ready for a college-level math environment.

Other possible reasons include a lower cost and smaller classes.

Separately, LCC teaches three sections of math courses specifically designed for and restrict to MSU agricultural technology students.

Still, MSU Dean of the College of Natural Sciences George Leroi says the math skills of his incoming class are a concern.

"The high school GPA is up. The math skills of students are up. The fraction of students not at college level math is down a bit, but it's still too high," Leroi said.

In fact, 50 fewer MSU students are taking below-college-level math on campus this year than last, but that number could be canceled out by the growing numbers taking basic math at LCC.

Regardless of how those numbers balance out, Leroi says K-12 math education in Michigan needs to be improved. He's studying ways to teach math more effectively in Ingham County, among other places.

It's something that, combined with new statewide high school math requirements could mean fewer college students taking basic math classes.

But of course, there will always be tests.