Precalculus Math I

AMTH A111 Fall 1998


Gloria W. Allen, M. Ed


Ruth Patrick Science Education Building

Office Hours:

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday by appointment.

Open Door Policy:

Anytime that I am in the office and not in class, a scheduled workshop, meeting, etc., I am available. However, it is best to call for an appointment.

Office Phone:

641- 3592 (or leave a message with the office secretary, Angela Taylor, at 648 - 6851, Ext. 3313)


Course Credit:

3 Semester Hours

Meeting Times:

MWF 8:00 - 8:50 AM


Administration Building, Rm 232


Required Texts:

  1. Demana, F., B.K. Waits, S.R. Clemens, and G.D. Foley, 1997, Precalculus: Functions and Graphs, Third Edition. Addison - Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. New York, NY.
  2. TI - 83 Graphing Calculator Resource Manual, by Demana, Waits, Clemens, and Foley.

Optional (but strongly recommended) text:

by Darryl K. Nester, Third Edition.


Required calculator:

Texas Instruments TI - 83 graphics calculator, available in the USCA Bookstore. (If you wish to use another graphics calculator, you must check with me to make sure that your calculator is ok. If you are purchasing a calculator for this course, it definitely should be a TI - 83. Other calculators will not necessarily have the capabilities we need.)


Other special supplies:

A straightedge (such as a short clear plastic ruler) will be needed to draw lines; you could use a driver's license or ID card. There will be many handouts given in this course. You will need to keep these organized. I strongly recommend that you keep these handouts in a three-ring binder reserved for that purpose. There is a three-hole punch in the Math Lab which you can use to prepare handouts for inclusion in a binder.


Materials to be covered:

Selected sections from Chapters 1 - 5 of the primary text with one or two initial assignments from the Resource Manual. All assignments will be included on an assignment handout, which will specify exactly the material covered. Although study from the text is certainly important, the material emphasized in the course will be gone over in class and given on numerous handouts. Thus studying the text will not replace class attendance.



Grade of C or better in AMTH 102 or 99, or placement at level A on the USCA Mathematics Placement Test. The student is expected to have a good command of the algebra skills covered in AMTH 98 (or 101) and 99 (or 102); these skills are commonly covered in high school algebra I and II. Mastery of (as opposed to merely exposure to) this background material is required.



If you have a learning or physical disability which might affect your performance in this class, please inform your instructor as soon as possible or the Associate Dean of Students for Admissions and Special Services in order to verify your status and to provide you with appropriate assistance.


Course Objectives:

To learn the algebra concepts and skills beyond those dealt with in AMTH 101 and 102 which are needed for the successful study of calculus and other science, mathematics and engineering courses, including the ability to communicate using the language of mathematics, both symbolic and verbal. Emphasis will be on the study of mathematical functions; graphs and how to use graphs to solve problems; and the solution of applied problems expressed in English.


Group Work:

There will be approximately three to four take home tests, which are to be done in teams of two. It is important that both members of each team understand all of the work. The purpose of this teamwork is to make sure that everyone discusses orally the mathematics in this course with another interested person, and to help students establish study partners to help each other. Some of the in-class work might also be completed in groups. The in-class tests and the final exam will be done individually.


Expected student competencies to be acquired:

In order to complete this course satisfactorily, the student must demonstrate the ability to produce well-written correct solutions for problems like those assigned for homework in this course. This includes the ability to write problem solutions using clear and coherent arguments with correct standard English and correct mathematical notation and terminology. Many of the problems we consider will require extended chains of reasoning, longer than you may have encountered before. You will be graded on how your solutions are written as well as on the correctness of your final answers. You will, of course, be provided with detailed examples to follow as models for your own solutions.


Study time:

You should plan your weekly schedule to include at least two to three hours study time outside of class for each hour in class (refer to Student Handbook, page 78); this amounts to 6 to 9 hours of weekly studying the textbook, going over class notes and handouts, and writing solutions for assigned exercises and take-home work in this course. This is of course a great deal of time, but this study time is critical for success in the course. If you are not willing and able to make this commitment, you should wait to take AMTH 111 another semester when you are willing and able to make this commitment.



Students are expected to attend all classes. Seven absences of any type (excused or unexcused) will preclude credit for the course. All absences will be considered unexcused in the absence of promptly supplied documentation to the contrary. Please note that if you are not present, then you are absent; thus if you add the course late, you start with absences. The standard for what is excused will be that which is applied in the world of work; so for example, if your car is unreliable, I will expect you to make another reliable arrangement. Each instance of lateness counts as one-half of one absence. Come to class on time and do not leave early. Anything else is rude and disruptive.


Tests and Grading:

There will be two or three short quizzes, five in-class tests, three or four take-home tests, and one comprehensive final exam. Tests will be announced one week in advance. Take-home tests will be distributed a week in advance. You may compute your quiz/test average at any time by adding up your scores and dividing by the total possible scores.

A separate assignment handout will contain all the homework assignments. Please keep in mind that you are to write complete solutions for homework problems, not just rough notes or short answers. Homework will be collected as a check on how you are keeping up. Tests, quizzes, and the final exam will consist of problems similar to assigned homework. You will be graded on how your solutions are written as well as on the correctness of your answers. (Refer to the Mission Statement on page 1 of the USC-Aiken Bulletin: One of the goals of USCA is to develop the ability to communicate effectively using numerical, notational, and other symbolic systems.)

If you take all of your tests, your final exam score will replace the lowest of your tests scores (provided your exam score is higher than your lowest test score).



Attendance, Homework and Class Participation


Quizzes and Tests


Final Exam:

50% if it raises you average, 20% otherwise.

Term average:

90 - 100%


88 - 89%


80 - 87%


78 - 79%


70 - 77%


68 - 69%


60 - 67%


Below 60%


Incomplete cannot be substituted for a low grade. If you stop attending class without going through the official drop procedures, your grade will be "F".


There will be no make-up tests or quizzes, regardless of the reason for the absence. Missing test or quiz grades will be filled in with the grade you make on the final exam (appropriately scaled in the case of the quizzes).