This Guide is written for students who are taking or plan to take precalculus mathematics courses at Colorado State University, for parents of CSU students and prospective students, for secondary teachers and counselors whose graduates may attend CSU, for CSU faculty who advise students, and for anyone else who is interested in or curious about Colorado State’s Precalculus Program.

Precalculus courses intended to prepare students to take other university courses that use mathematics, and include College Algebra, Logarithmic and Exponential Functions, and Trigonometry.

Students who take precalculus mathematics are an academically diverse group. They have different backgrounds, aptitudes, attitudes, and goals. The CSU Mathematics Department became convinced that these students were not well served in traditional classrooms where, in spite of these differences, everyone is expected to learn in similar ways and at similar rates. This led to the development of the current Precalculus Program.

The instructional design of these courses is based on a mastery program, meaning that students will achieve a minimum level of proficiency with each topic before proceeding to the next.  Students are not limited to a single attempt on any assessment.  Instead, students can earn as many additional attempts as needed to master the material through demonstrated study and practice.

Over its development, the Precalculus Program has evolved into a flexible instructional system that gives all students the opportunity to master precalculus mathematics by providing choices of content, an array of learning resources, variability in credits and deadlines, and individual support and. In 1996 the University recognized the quality of the Program by awarding Dr. Ken Klopfenstein, a former director, the N. Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation.  Then, in 2007, the College of Natural Sciences awarded Dr. Paul Kennedy, then co-director of the Program, their Excellence in Teaching Award for Teaching Innovation in recognition of the design and development of this online instructional platform.  In 2008, Dr. Kennedy was honored  by being selected as a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar.

The Guide to Taking Precalculus Courses is available online in PDF format (requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader).