Department of Mathematics

some math pictures
Math 59


All students with scores below 380 on the Entry Level Mathematics Exam (ELM) are required to enroll in MATH 59.

Bulletin Description

Algebra I with Pre-algebra Support (4) Equivalent to first year high school algebra. Covers same topics as MATH 60, but with extra time for review of basic concepts needed for success in algebra. Units and grades earned do not count towards graduation requirements.

Course Objectives

Algebra is a language used to represent mathematical relationships. The purpose of an Algebra 1 course is to introduce the use and rules of this language and develop your skills in working in the language. There are two main goals for this course:
  • Students start develop their ability to use algebra to represent problem situations and to explain their reasoning.
  • Students develop basic skills in solving equations and graphing and in working with algebraic expressions.
The purpose of the course is to prepare students to succeed in future mathematics courses, first in MATH 70, second in courses that fulfill the quantitative reasoning requirement, and third in the mathematics courses that follow those.

Evaluation of Students

Evaluation will be based on the problem sets, class participation, two midterms, and the final, and possibly quizzes. Problem Sets may include problems worked on in class and as homework.. Students are expected to attempt every problem on every assignment, and if they cannot complete a problem, explain where they had difficulty. Class participation includes working on selected problems from the problem sets with other students and presenting results to the whole class. Quizzes may be given occasionally, announced or unannounced. The percentages below represent the approximate weighting for grading.

Problem Sets: 30-40%
Class Participation: At least 10 %
Quizzes: 0-10%
Midterms: About 30 %
Final Exam: About 20%

Course Outline

For this class we will work on the list of topics below. We may not work through the text in the order that it is written. Some times we will start with a problem or set of problems designed to find out what you already know.

Topics Number of Weeks
Operations with Real Numbers 2
Equations, Inequalities, and Problem Solving 3
Graphing Linear Functions 3
Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, and Factoring Polynomials 3
Solving Equations involving Rational Expressions 3

Textbooks & Software

Bittenger, Ellenbogen, and Johnson, Elementary and Intermediate Algebra, 3rd edition

Math XL is an internet-based tutorial/testing system that covers all topics in the textbook. A password that allows you to access Math XL comes with the textbook. Another web site,, has additional on-line help.

On reserve in the Leonard Library Reserve Room: textbooks and videotapes of lectures keyed to each section of the textbook.

Free Tutoring: All Math 60 students can obtain free tutoring on campus from the Community Access and Retention Program, the Learning Assistance Center, and the Mathematics Study Room.

SF State Home