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Supporting Transitional Math Students through Math Labs . Nanci Barker Carroll Community College. A Presentation at the 16th Annual AFACCT Conference January 2006. Trends in Transitional Students.

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supporting transitional math students through math labs

Supporting Transitional Math Students through Math Labs

Nanci Barker

Carroll Community College

A Presentation at the 16th Annual AFACCT ConferenceJanuary 2006

trends in transitional students
Trends in Transitional Students
  • McCabe found that half of the students entering community college enroll in one or more developmental courses but only half successfully complete (2003)
  • Kozeracki found 55% of community colleges reported the number of students in developmental courses increased over the past five years (2002)
  • McCabe, R. H. (2003), Yes we can! A community college guide for developing America’s underprepared. Phoenix, AZ: League for Innovation in Community College.
  • Kozeracki, C. A. (2002), ERIC review: Issues in developmental education. Community College Review, 29(4), 83-100
  • The national rate of successful completion for developmental algebra courses is 50% (Journal of Developmental Education, Winter 2004)
  • Yet, developmental algebra students surveyed by Weinstein reported spending more time than their peers on homework (2004)
  • (2004). A new algebra approach for struggling students. Journal of Developmental Education, 28(2),40
  • Weinstein, G. L. (2004). Their side of the story: remedial college algebra students. Mathematics and Computer Education, 38(2), 230-241.
per the community college survey of student engagement 2005
Per the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (2005)
  • More than half (53%) students are academically underprepared, i.e., taking transitional courses
  • 53% reported “often” or “very often” working harder than expected to meet their professors expectations (43% of academically prepared students reported)
  • Available at
ccsse student results continued
CCSSE Student Results (continued)
  • Helped them “quite a bit” or “very much”
    • 60% to solve numerical problems (44% academically prepared)
    • 70% to think critically and analytically (61% academically prepared)
  • Encouraged them “quite a bit” or “very much”
    • 75% to spend time studying (64% academically prepared)
    • 28% to cope with nonacademic responsibilities (20% academically prepared)
ccsse conclusions
CCSSE Conclusions
  • Academically underprepared students
    • Exert more effort
    • Experience greater academic challenge
    • Utilize more support services
    • Report more academic gain
ccsse reports
CCSSE reports
  • Colleges that develop strategies to retain these students
    • Offer students the opportunity to be successful in college
    • Level the playing field for these students
ccsse reports8
CCSSE Reports
  • Students who successfully complete developmental courses are productively employed
    • Professionals 16%
    • Mid-level white-collar or technical positions 54%
    • High-skill blue collar workers 20%
    • Low skill jobs- only 9%
why math labs
Why math labs?
  • Research shows higher student interaction results in greater success
  • Assist students to pass their transitional math courses
    • Guided practice
    • Professionals to answer questions, to interact with students, to offer help
    • Tutoring software
    • Exam study materials
  • Each student registers for a weekly lab
  • Students complete practice and receive help
  • Grade included as component of course
    • Average of 10 labs
    • Count as unit test in course approximately 11.75 to 12.5% of course grade
evolving structure
Evolving Structure
  • Pretest, practice then graded
  • Practice on tutorial software then graded
  • Practice then graded
  • Moving toward all practice
  • Large number of course sections
    • Progress varies among sections
    • Avoid initial instruction in the lab
  • Large Number of Labs
    • Staffing
    • Consistency
    • Grading
  • Missed Labs
    • Special make-up lab times
    • Mastery and Make-up
    • Dropping one or two grades
  • Efficient use of resources
    • Attrition
    • Scheduling to meet different needs
    • Cost
  • Students perceptions generally positive
    • “Agree or strongly agree” Labs are beneficial
    • Range from 72-83% Students grade labs as “A” or “B”
    • “Agree or Strongly agree” Lab Instructors provide timely and supportive help
  • Open ended evaluations consistently include positive comments about the help received
  • Former transitional students comment that they wish labs were available for their college level math courses
evaluation challenges
Evaluation Challenges
  • Changes in course content or placement scores
    • Limited ability to compare results over different terms
    • No base period without labs
  • Lab grades compared to course grades
    • Initially lab grades higher
    • Recently lab grades have actually lowered some students’ grades
  • Although outcome data is hard to determine, students think math labs are beneficial
  • We plan to look for more ways to evaluate outcomes and improve the labs