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Chances are understanding calculus in high school will most likely not affect career

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 11:57 a.m. MDT

Belba Bangoura solves an equation during math class at Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Elizabeth Stuart

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BOSTON — Math isn’t as big of a deal on a future career as a high school teacher makes it sound, according to a recent study by a sociologist at Northeastern University.

Less than 25 percent of Americans report using math more complicated than fractions and percentages during their careers.

In the workplace, 94 percent use some math for the job. Those percentages only decrease about 10 percentage points through add/subtract, multiply/divide and fractions categories, but only 22 percent use anything more advanced.

Those who use the most advanced math in careers are not white collar workers. A little more than 40 percent of advanced blue collar workers use any advanced math compared to the 35 percent of upper white collar, 18 percent of lower blue collar and about 8 percent of low white collar.

Rather than suggesting less advanced math be taught in high school, it points out possible questions of whether educational road blocks are put in front of students without a practical application, according to an article by The Atlantic.

High school students planning on attending a vocational program can also be made aware that what they are learning in class (like complex algebra, calculus, statistics, and trigonometry) really will be more helpful in their occupation.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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