Syllabus for Intermediate Algebra
Prerequisites: Minimum of C or better in Elementary
Algebra (MATD 370, or equivalent) OR placement test
score (T-Compass, T-Asset, SAT, TASP, etc). If you have nothing on record, you must pass the pretest.
Textbook and Other Materials: Intermediate Algebra, Sullivan/Struve, 2nd Edition. You can access the
chapters from the textbook covered in the first few days before
you buy your text (password acc0390). The MyMathLab course ID is professor09225 (access code included
with new text). You need graph paper (no ragged edges) and a NON-graphing calculator. ALL electronic
devices (music players, cell phones, pagers, mini-computers, palms, etc) must be powered off and put away.
Grade: Grade point information is on the schedule page. Your grade is based on total points earned (including
bonus points) and a “minimum” grade on the final. Your current grade at any time is total points earned divided
by how many possible to date.
Attendance: Being in class is critical to your success. You can miss a maximum of 4 classes. Arriving late or
leaving early is a partial absence. Be early and save these for emergencies, not convenience. They are like sick
days; you don’t get any extra. You are responsible for the sections you missed and must complete the
assignments (DVD videos are available in the library). Schedule changes will be announced in class or posted
on the door. Plan on arriving 30 minutes early in case of traffic. Use this time to review your notes or see me in
the office for questions on the homework. WARNING: Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in
withdrawal by the instructor. See "Withdrawal" under ACC policies.
Homework: Assignments are listed on the schedule and the problem lists are on the web page. You earn 3
points if complete and turned in before the quiz (plus 2 bonus points for the Quiz Review). You can turn in late
assignments (up to the next test) for one point off. Show all the steps for credit , not just the answer. All
graphing must be on graph paper. You can earn 10 bonus points for the Test/Final Reviews. There are enough
bonus points for a full letter grade. If you need extra practice on the most difficult problems, send me the
problem numbers and how many of each you want.
Quiz/Test/Final: Must be on time. Show all the steps for credit, not just the answer. There are no “make-ups”.
If you know you will be absent, see me about taking it early. If you want extra time, make an appointment to
start early. Quiz and Test problems are from the homework. Quizzes have 3 (2 points each), and tests have 25 (4
points each). The final is written by the math department and consists of 25 problems (6 points each) from the
final review. You can replace your lowest test score with your score on the final (if it is higher). You must score
a minimum of 60% on the final (plus enough points for a C) to pass the course.
Withdrawal: You must discipline yourself to be on
time and complete your assignments. Any student missing
more classes than allowed (including partial misses) will be withdrawn unless it is coordinated AHEAD of time.
You MUST save these for real emergencies. TSI WARNING: TSI mandated students (state requirements not
complete) who have excessive absences, will be withdrawn in accordance with math department policy, and
may result in automatic withdrawal of ALL college courses. You will have a hold placed on your registration
for the following semester. The Hold will require that you register for the next semester in person with an
advisor or counselor and that you work with the Developmental Math Advisor during that semester. Final
responsibility for withdrawal rests with the student.
Reinstatement: Students who are withdrawn will not be reinstated unless they have completed all course work,
projects, and tests necessary to place them at the same level of course completion as the rest of the class.
IP and Incomplete Grade: IP stands for “in progress” and is a benefit for students who have worked hard but
don’t earn enough points to pass. Your grade is “postponed” until you repeat the course the following semester
(maximum 2 times per course). To get an IP you must complete the homework, have good attendance, and seek
outside help if needed (office hours or tutoring, be sure to log in at the lab). An incomplete is rare, and only
given if a student has taken all exams, is passing, and has a personal tragedy occur after the last withdraw date.
Classroom Behavior: Direct ALL questions to me so everyone can benefit. All talking needs to be between the
student and the instructor, one at a time. This allows all students to listen and learn without distraction. TURN
OFF PAGERS and PHONES or any other electronic devices. Classroom behavior should support and enhance
learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having
the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being
withdrawn from the class.
Academic Freedom: Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good. The common good
depends upon a search for truth and upon free expression. In this course the professor and students shall strive
to protect free inquiry and the open exchange of facts, ideas, and opinions. Students are free to take exception
to views offered in this course and to reserve judgment about debatable issues. Grades will not be affected by
personal views. With this freedom comes the responsibility of civility and a respect for a diversity of ideas and
opinions. This means that students must take turns speaking, listen to others speak without interruption, and
refrain from name-calling or other personal attacks.
Scholastic Dishonesty/Penalties: Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered
include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and
unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall
be the result of their thought, work, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited
to, tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group ; classroom
presentations; and homework. Students who violate the rules concerning scholastic dishonesty will be assessed
an academic penalty that the instructor determines is in keeping with the seriousness of the offense. This
academic penalty may range from a grade penalty on the particular assignment to an overall grade penalty in the
course, including possibly an F in the course.
Students with Disabilities: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical
or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the
Office of Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes.
Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester. Students who are requesting
accommodation must provide the instructor with a letter of accommodation from the Office of Students with
Disabilities (OSD) at the beginning of the semester. Accommodations can only be made after the instructor
receives the letter of accommodation from OSD.
Course Purpose/Rationale: This course is designed
to prepare students for various college-level science and
mathematics courses. After succeeding in this course, students may enroll in a number of courses in science,
mathematics, and various technical areas. These include General College Physics, General Chemistry,
Magnetism and DC Circuits, AC Circuits, Manufacturing Materials and Processes, Math for Business and
Economics, and College Algebra. This course is taught in the classroom as a lecture/discussion course.
Instructional Methodology and Description: This course is taught in a classroom as a lecture/discussion
course. It is designed to develop the skills and understanding contained in the second year of secondary school
algebra. Topics include review of properties of real numbers, functions, algebra of functions, inequalities,
polynomials and factoring, rational expressions and equations, radical expressions and equations, quadratic
functions and their graphs, solving quadratic equations, and exponential functions .
Computational: Evaluate a function using function notation. Find the domain of a function. Perform
elementary arithmetic operations with functions. Perform division of polynomials. Perform elementary
arithmetic operations with rational expressions that require factoring up to and including the sum or difference
of cubes . Simplify a complex fraction , including one with negative exponents. Simplify an expression with
fractional exponents . Simplify a radical expression, including rationalizing a monomial or binomial
denominator. Perform elementary arithmetic operations with complex numbers.
Equation and Inequality Solving: Solve an absolute value equation. Solve a rational equation, including one
with a quadratic expression in the denominator. Solve an equation with one radical. Recognize an extraneous
Using Forms and Formulas: Graph a function, such as a simple absolute value or rational function, by
completing a table and plotting points . Solve a quadratic equation with real or non-real solutions. Find the
midpoint and the distance between two points. Complete a square to rewrite an equation for a circle in standard
form and identify its center and radius. Determine if a formula, correspondence, table or graph represents a
Graphing: Graph a linear inequality on the Cartesian plane. Graph a system of linear inequalities on the
Cartesian plane. Graph and analyze a linear and quadratic function. Sketch a quadratic function, written in the
form f(x)=a(x-h)^2+k, using transformations. Sketch a circle from its standard form.
Applications: Represent English descriptions of numerical relationships in algebraic form. Solve application
problems including, but not limited to, linear and quadratic models, direct and inverse variation, and those
requiring 2x2 systems of linear equations.
How To Succeed in Math
The Problem - Students who fail are not “bad at taking tests”. They are simply not well prepared. That bad
feeling you have while cramming the night before is from lack of practice, AND you know the clock is running
out. You can’t cram math; it takes too many hours. You must master it in small pieces, one after the other.
Everyone has “anxiety” when they are not prepared. The good news is you can excel at ANY academic subject
or job skill if you work hard and prepare. This requires dedication, discipline, and lots of practice. A determined
attitude is over half the battle.
First, show me how to do it the first time. This can be a person, textbook, video, software, or the web. Most
students need a teacher. However, there is a mountain of free help available. Don’t just copy the board in class.
Keep up with the discussion and ask questions. Keep asking until you understand how to solve it. Your notes
must have all these steps on “how to solve the problem”. The steps are listed in the textbook, plus some of my
own “Lesson Notes”, but you need to rewrite these in your own words. Use the homework to identify the
specific steps you need. When you need to get help or look something up (notes, textbook, tutor, etc.) write it
down in detail for future reference. Do not list examples only. Instead, write some instructions to yourself on
“how to solve”. You are gathering the notes you will need to prepare for the test. I will show you how to check
your answers without using the key.
Second, prove to yourself you can do it on a test (no notes, no help, no answer key). This is the step most
students skip. It does you no good to look over all your homework solutions and expect to remember them all.
You would need a photographic memory to do that. You must be able to look at a blank problem and solve it
alone, just like on a test. This is what the Reviews are for. When you get stuck, it tells you what information you
have forgotten. Go ahead and look it up again, BUT this time write it down on a separate “sheet”. I call this a
memory sheet. You are finding out the very things you will forget. When finished solving a problem, do not use
the answer key, practice checking it yourself like I showed you in class.
Third, find a way to remember it. You can spend hours and hours repeating the practice but most students don’t
have the time. It is much more efficient to memorize the notes (assuming you followed step 1 and 2). If you
completed the Test Review AND wrote down the information you forgot, you are probably OK if you take time
to memorize. To be sure, find the hardest problems and do them again, especially the word problems. I can send
you extra; just email me the problem numbers. Don’t stay up all night before a test. Extreme fatigue will cause
you to forget most of what you stayed up for.
Fourth: how to pass the test.
1. Read the instructions and entire problem carefully, BEFORE starting.
2. Use a strategy like the lesson notes.
3. Write down all steps on the paper, and use your calculator.
4. Use lots of (((parentheses))) especially when “plugging it in” or “canceling” things.
5. Work vertically down the page.
6. Check your answers like I showed you. If it is wrong, cross it out, then come back later.