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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Retooled Courses Help Students Avoid a Remedial-Math Roadblock to College | Mathematics - Education Week

"Math is a notorious stumbling block that trips up students seeking college degrees. Every year, tens of thousands of young people fail to graduate because they can't earn enough math credits" reports Catherine Gewertz, associate editor for Education Week.

Calculus, Statistics, and the Future of High School Math 


The landscape is daunting: Two-thirds of the students at community colleges, and 4 in 10 of those at four-year institutions, take remedial courses. Math is a much bigger sand trap than English: Far more postsecondary students fall into remedial math than reading, and fewer move on to credit-bearing courses.

To help students across that bumpy terrain, math educators have been trying new approaches that are designed to capture high school skills and college-level content on a compressed timeline. They're teaching math through real-world problems, and reworking course content to better mesh with students' career goals.
Community colleges are using the courses to help students avoid the math pothole. But high schools are starting to embrace them, too, as a way to bolster students with shaky math skills—or low confidence in their overall academic power—and boost the chances they'll earn college degrees.

The new approach rocked Skyler Puckette's world. The Madison, Wis., student was homeschooled since early childhood. She didn't soar in her studies, and her most intense struggles were in math, she said. As she fell further behind, a high school diploma became impossible.

Making plans to get her GED, Puckette learned about a program at Madison Area Technical College that would help her earn her high school diploma and associate degree. Enrolling last fall, she placed into a course called "math reasoning," one of the new breed of math classes designed to help students like her.

The course was very different from her earlier math learning, which focused on procedures. It used real-world scenarios to engage students, asking them to apply math formulas to calculating the dosage of a baby's medication, or analyzing the racial disparities in prison populations. It required them to work in groups, a technique to eliminate the isolation struggling students can experience.
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Source: Education Week and Education Week Channel (YouTube)


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