Mathematics Department

Baskets of colorful fruits

Mathematics is a multifaceted subject of great beauty and application. The study of math explores some of the deepest questions and puzzles that have ever been encountered and equips the student with a universal language used to study quantities and relationships in all fields. Through the study of mathematics, the student develops both the ability to think logically and abstractly as well as the problem-solving and computational skills necessary for success in any field of study. The department of mathematics offers degrees in Mathematics Associate of Science and Mathematics ADT Associate Degree for Transfer.

The department believes that all people have the opportunity to experience mathematics, not just as a series of apparently meaningless technical procedures, but also as something beautiful. The mathematics faculty hope to:

  • Provide our students with the mathematical power necessary for a productive creative life.
  • Help our students master fundamental skills at a level sufficient to sustain our present technology-based society.
  • Influence the mathematical curricula in our country so that it is current and reflects present intellectual and technical needs, and the new findings in cognitive science.
  • Provide a vigorous intellectual center for mathematical life of West Valley College.

The Mathematics Department at West Valley College offers a wide variety of courses that include pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, finite mathematics, discrete mathematics, applied calculus, mathematics for liberal arts, and mathematics for elementary school teachers. Many courses we offer are transferable to four-year school. In addition, we have several acceleration options that allow students to better advance on their pathway. The department operates its own resource center. In the Mathematics Resource Center, located in SM – 5, we offer free tutoring, a textbook and calculator library, and Macs and PC’s for the students to work on their math homework. It is staffed with student tutors and faculty. We have 17 full-time faculty, some who have just recently graduated with their mater’s of PhD degree, and some have been here for 30 years.

Our faculty are very active in the mathematics education community. Most of us regularly attend conferences so as to keep current trends in teaching and learning. From time-to-time, several members give presentations on mathematics or teaching and learning at local, state, and nationwide conferences. Nearly all mathematics faculty belong to at least one professional organization such as the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, California Mathematics Council Community Colleges, and the Mathematical Association of America. We look forward to helping you along your pathways to reach your career and transfer goals.

Math is not a spectator sport, you learn math by doing it!


  • A professional and innovative staff committed to providing the best possible mathematics education, including the use of computers and multimedia presentations in the teaching of mathematics.
  • A comprehensive mathematics curriculum addressing the needs of both the transfer student and the non-transfer student.
  • A math resource center providing free tutoring and alternative models of instruction and support for students.
  • A technology-mediated alternative for students in arithmetic and algebra.

Career Options

  • Actuary
  • Appraiser
  • Assessor
  • Auditor
  • Biometrician
  • Budget Analyst
  • Casualty Rater
  • Computer Programmer
  • Controller
  • Demographer
  • Doctor
  • Econometrician
  • Engineering Analyst
  • Epidemiologist
  • Financial Analyst
  • Lawyer
  • Management Scientist
  • Mathematician
  • Operations Researcher
  • Public Opinion Analyst
  • Statistician
  • Surveyor
  • Systems Analyst
  • Teacher
  • Urban Planner

Math Resource Center

Download the tutoring schedules for Spring 2018

The Math Resource Center (MRC), located in Science and Math 5, offers free tutoring in all levels of mathematics. The MRC is staffed by math instructors and peer tutors. Computers are available for use in the Math Resource Center for students to do homework, view lecture notes, and work on projects.

You must be enrolled in a mathematics class at West Valley College to obtain free tutoring in the Math Resource Center. Tutoring is available on a drop-in basis only. Follow the instructions below to register for free math tutoring in the MRC at West Valley College:

  1. Log into the WVC Portal.
  2. Click on the Student button.
  3. Click on Registration and then click Add or Drop Classes.
  4. Select the current term in the drop-down box and click Submit.
  5. Scroll to the Add Classes Worksheet section.
  6. Enter the current section number for LRSV 110M in the first empty box.
  7. Click Submit Changes.

For more information about the Math Resource Center, please contact Alyson Butcher at (408) 741-2590 or by email Alyson%20Butcher.

Math tutoring is also available at the Tutorial/Success Center adjacent to the WVC Library.

Math Placement Exam

You should take your placement test seriously. Preparing for the placement test will save you lots of time and money. Remember, your score on the placement test will determine which math class you are eligible to enroll in. Placing in the right courses will help you achieve your education goals faster.

All students who started on or after Fall 2014 must take a placement test before registering for classes. To schedule a placement test, you must have a valid student ID number. Visit the Assessment Office web site for more information on how to schedule your assessment test.

After scheduling your assessment test, make sure you take some time to review the topics that you will be tested on. Below are some free resources to help you prepare for the math placement test at West Valley College.

  • Math Placement Review
    A 10-part video series on preparing for the math placement test. Topics covered include: combining similar terms, exponent rules, binomials, factoring trinomials, solving linear equations, graphing points, finding slope, simplifying radicals, and more.
  • Accuplacer Web-Based Study App
    A web-based study app featuring practice tests in arithmetic, elementary algebra, college-level math, reading comprehension and sentence skills. Focus on the elementary algebra portion to practice for the math placement test.
  • Sample Test Questions
    Test yourself with sample test questions. Download the PDF sample questions file and turn to page 10. Try the 12 problem question set.

American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges Contest

The annual national contest sponsored by the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) consists of two rounds: one round in the fall semester and one round in the spring semester. Students can participate in the first round, the second round, or both rounds. Each round consists of 20 multiple-choice questions on a variety of mathematical topics. A background in math of at least precalculus is required. Questions come from a wide range of topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, number theory, probability, combinatorics, and statistics. The questions are not typical mathematical questions, but rather fun and intriguing puzzles. To qualify in the contest, the student must be a West Valley College student without any kind of a college degree.

The top five scores in each round form the West Valley College team score. The college, then competes informally with other community colleges around the state and the country. Members of the team receive certificates to honor their accomplishments. On the national level, the person who has the highest combined score on both rounds receives a $3,000 scholarship from AMATYC. For more details, see the rules and tips sections below.

The following link gives you access to some past AMATYC contest problems.

The contest is timed at 60 minutes. Read each problem very carefully before and after solving it. Questions are multiple choice, although occasionally there may be a short-answer question. Scoring is as follows: 2 points for each correct answer; 0 points for an answer left blank; and minus 0.5 point for a wrong answer.  Do not try to answer all the questions on the test (unless you know how to do them all in the time allowed). Since incorrect answers count as negative points, it is best to leave the answer blank if you do not know how to do the problem. Do not spend too much time on one problem as that can easily eat away at the time. Always try to tackle the easier problems first, but beware if the problem seems too easy.


Below is a list of past team champions since 2000:

2017 West Valley College
2016 West Valley College
2015 West Valley College
2014 Los Angeles City College
2013 West Valley College
2012 West Valley College
2011 West Valley College
2010 Los Angeles City College
2009 Los Angeles City College
2008 Pasadena City College
2007 Lost Angeles City College
2006 Pasadena City College
2005 William Rainey Harper College
2004 Los Angeles City College
2003 City College of San Francisco
2002 Johnson County CC
2001 Brookdale CC
2000 DeAnza College



  • Desmos allows you to graph data, graph equations, explore transformations, illustrate many mathematical quantities, and let you be creative.
  • History of Math Topics offers articles on the history of math developed by Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Arabic, Chinese, Indians, Mayans, and Americans. In addition, you can preview various a few branches of mathematics.
  • Just Math Tutorials allows student to view numerous videos in arithmetic, algebra, calculus, discrete mathematics, linear algebra, and differential equations.
  • Math is Power 4U provides students with videos and mini-lessons on topics from arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and statistics.
  • Number Empire has calculators that enable you to solve equations, compute derivatives and integrals, matrix calculations, perform statistical computations, conduct numerical analysis, classify numbers, etc.
  • The Number Pi continues to be one of the most intriguing numbers in human history. Feel free to explore some of it properties and interesting facts. How many digits of pi do you know?
  • Prime Pages presents many useful properties of Prime numbers.  Many people are searching for the next largest prime. This site provides extensive information regarding prime numbers.
  • WolframAlpha has the ability to answer many mathematical questions including equation solving, graphing, differentiating, integrating, numerical analysis, and much more.
  • Women in Mathematics allows you to explore the many contributions of women in mathematics.
Last Updated 4/9/19