Washington University Engineering Says Northwest Missouri’s Calculus and Physics is “Equivalent” to Theirs

There is an article in today’s NY Times that mentions Randolph College and some of the problems they, and others, are having filling freshman slots.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/education/in-a-recovering-economy-a-decline-in-college-enrollment.html?pagewanted=all

I commented and will include that at the bottom of this post.  But first this.

Randolph College is one of the schools affiliated with Washington University’s 3-2 Engineering Program.  (See my earlier post about that program and the links to Wash. U.’s website.)  Wash. U. has a list of courses at Randolph that they have “…evaluated as equivalent to a WUSTL course, [and] you do not need additional authorization to take the course…[for transfer]” (See Step 1 at  http://engineering.wustl.edu/ess/transfer-courses.aspx )  If you go to http://registrar.seas.wustl.edu/EVALS/evals.asp you can find a list of all the colleges whose courses they have evaluated.  For example, go to r, find Randolph College, and you will see that many of Randolph’s are “equivialent to” Wash. U.’s engineering courses.

Also, Northwest Missouri’s Calc. II and III, Physics I and II, and Comp. Sci. I are “equivalent to” Wash. U.’s.  How many of Northwest Missouri’s freshmen score above 30 on the Math ACT? About 6% or about 78 students.

From my experience teaching mathematics, I do not believe that calculus or physics at a school that claims to be as good as Wash. U. claims it is, should be equivalent to those courses at all the schools that Wash. U.’s Engineering School lists.  But if you look at Wash. U’s site you find a surprising number of courses, from a surprising number of schools, that, according to Wash. U.’s Engineering School are “equivalent” to Washington University courses.  So, is Washington U.’s Engineering School trying to tell their students, “Even,though our Freshman admissions are highly selective, don’t worry about working too hard.  Our courses are “equivalent” to almost any other school’s cousres, selective or not.”  I will have more to say about this in a later post.

Here is a copy of what I wrote on the NY Times site.

“It would be naive to think that economic pressure will make education cheaper.  It might make degrees cheaper, but when colleges start competing for customers, many of those customers just want the degree and/or can be led to believe that they are getting the education they need.


Listen to Clark Kerr at the end of the tough decade of the 70’s: “..This shift from academic merit to student consumerism is one of the two greatest reversals of direction in all the history of…higher education…”


You mention Randolph College.  They are one of the affiliate schools in Washington University in St. Louis’ 3-2 engineering plan.  According to Wash. U.’s website, going to Randolph, making a B+ average, and having Randolph “certify” you as having aptitude for engineering seems to almost guarantee you admission to Wash. U.’s program.  That is quite a deal given that Wash. U.’s Spring 2013 “Engineering Momentum Magazine”  says that its “admitted” engineering undergraduates have an average Math SAT of 762 and, according to about.com, a 610 Math SAT puts you in the top 25% of Randolph’s students.  (When I called Wash. U. and asked if they could tell me the SAT of the “enrolled” engineering students, they said they were not allowed to give that out. Remember that Clark Kerr wrote his comment in 1980.  Maybe, he saw something.)


Not to pick on Wash. U.,  Columbia U. also has a 3-2 program. Links to these programs and websites, with my comments, can be found at inside-higher-ed.com”

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