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Strategies for Success : integrating effective study skills into developmental mathematics. MDTP Users Conference California State University Fullerton January 2012 Lynn Marecek MaryAnne Anthony-Smith Santa Ana College. If they only knew……… …what it takes to be successful!.

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Strategies for success integrating effective study skills into developmental mathematics

Strategies for Success:integrating effective study skills into developmental mathematics

MDTP Users Conference

California State University Fullerton

January 2012

Lynn Marecek

MaryAnne Anthony-Smith

Santa Ana College

If they only knew what it takes to be successful
If they only knew……… …what it takes to be successful!

  • What skills do you want your students to

    have as they enter your classroom?

Take a pro active approach
Take a Pro-active Approach

  • We can either grumble….

    ….OR we can do something about it!

  • We believe math content is not 100%

    of a developmental math course!

Our charge is to do something
Our charge is to DO something!

  • California Basic Skills Initiative

    • Developmental courses/programs implement effective curricula and practices for development of study skills.

    • Developmental education focuses on self-directed learning, with students engaged in actively assessing and monitoring their own motivation and learning.

  • AMATYC Standards

    • The curriculum of developmental mathematics programs should…develop students’ study skills…to enable them to be successful in other courses and in their careers.

Strategies for success
Strategies for Success

  • Activities designed to help students develop effective study skills

    • “Meta-cognitive self-assessments”

  • Worksheets with teacher instructions

    • Printed worksheets

    • Electronic versions using Online Assessment System (OAS)

Strategies for success1
Strategies for Success

  • Integral part of our developmental mathematics courses at SAC

    • Prealgebra (Math N48)

      • Integrated throughout our Foundations of Algebra manuscript

      • Every exercise set starts with a Strategy for Success – part of every homework assignment

    • Elementary Algebra (Math 060)

      • Strategies for Success bundled with all Elementary Algebra texts this semester

      • PLC to support teachers

      • Suggested schedule of use

    • Intermediate Algebra (Math 081)

      • Directed Learning Activities in Math Center

History of this project
History of this Project

  • Recognized strong need in our lowest level courses

  • Developed pieces over our teaching careers

  • Shared often with other faculty

Created so that teachers can
Created so that Teachers can…

  • Use each activity confidently

    • Needs little preparation

    • Gives background information

    • Is easy to grade

  • Integrate the Strategies into their course without using much class time

  • Get feedback, summary, grading easily using the OAS

Teacher support
Teacher Support

  • Teacher page for each Strategy

    • rationale

    • directions for use

    • suggestions for timing in the course

  • Teacher Manual available electronically at

  • Teachers can seamlessly incorporate study skills in classes

    • easily

    • confidently

Created so that students will
Created so that Students will…

  • Be actively engaged

  • Constantly self-reflect

  • Gain valuable insights

  • Usually ‘get it’ without teacher input

  • Be able to do the activities easily on their own

  • Recognize benefit received from time spent

How do we use them
How do we use them?

  • In-class activities

    • Warm-ups

    • ‘Ticket out the door’

    • ‘Sandwich’ around breaktime

    • Group activities

  • Homework assignments

    • Debrief in class

  • Directed Learning Activities (DLAs)

    • One per week

    • Online - electronic format makes teacher feedback easy

  • Grading? for completion

Strategies for success do they make a difference
strategies for success - do they make a difference?

  • SAC Spring 2011 data

    • Prealgebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra

      • 14 sections taught by PLC participants

      • 51 sections taught by other instructors

      • Total n= 2375 students

    • Success rates higher (A, B, C, Pass)

      • PLC sections – 53.8%

      • Other sections – 46.2%

    • Withdrawal rates lower

      • PLC sections – 20.3%

      • Other sections – 29.6%

Strategies for success sample activities
Strategies for Success Sample activities

  • Excuses! Excuses!

  • On Time and Ready to Go!  

  • Homework Skills

  • Test Taking Skills

  • Mid-term Check-up

  • Test Analysis

  • Goals

Excuses excuses
Excuses! Excuses!

Math teachers hear all sorts of excuses from their students for not fully completing class assignments. Let’s look at some of the most common excuses. For each excuse listed below:

(a) explain why this is not a valid excuse.

(b) describe what a successful student would do in this situation.

1) “I don’t have my homework because I was absent.”

2) “I don’t have my homework because I don’t have a book.

3) “I did not finish the assignment. I forgot about it!”

4) “I left my homework paper at home.”

5) “I didn’t do the chapter review/chapter test assignment. Can I do it after I take the test?”

6) “I was absent—did you do anything important?”

Annie s way excuses excuses adapted for a high school english class
Annie’s Way - Excuses! Excuses!Adapted for a High School English class

  • English class, Fallbrook HS

  • Situation

    • Due date of long-term group assignment

    • No group had its presentation ready

    • Students spent class period writing letters to teacher explaining their ‘reasons’

  • Phone call – “Mom! What should I do?”

  • Adaptation – next day in class

    • Annie used ELMO to show selected ‘excuses’

    • Class discussion of why each excuse was not valid and what a successful student would do

Group work
Group Work

  • Each group has a different activity

    • On Time and Ready to Go!  

    • Homework Skills

    • Test Taking Skills

    • Mid-term Check-up  

  • Each person in the group–think about how your ‘typical student’ would answer the questions

  • Group discussion
    Group discussion

    • Describe your activity.

    • What did you like best about the activity?

    • How might you adapt this activity for your class?

    • Other comments?

    Two more strategies first
    Two more Strategies first…

    • Test Analysis

      • Students analyze causes of point loss

      • 3 causes

        • Unprepared

        • Concept error

        • Careless error

      • “What does this tell you about yourself?”

      • How to ‘fix’ it

    Two more strategies second
    Two more Strategies second…

    • Goals

      • With ‘To the Instructor’ page

        • Rationale

        • Timing

        • Anticipated effects on students

        • Splitting the worksheet

      • Addresses motivation

      • Anticipate barriers, plan for overcoming them

      • Provides good opportunity to highlight Student Services

    Additional uses
    Additional Uses

    • Higher level courses

    • Directed Learning Activities

    • Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

    • Focusing student responsibilities

    Teacher comments
    Teacher Comments

    • “These activities really set the students up for success.”

    • “Students [had] ‘aha’ moments where they realized they had more control over their education than they thought.”

    • “I knew what some of their “issues” were and how I could best help them in class”

    Teacher comments1
    Teacher Comments

    • “… are vital for students just beginning their study of math.”

    • “Even did some in my other classes because I liked them so much. ”

    • “It gave me insight into my students” 

    • “I definitely plan to use these next semester.”

    Student comments
    Student Comments

    What was the best part of these activities?

    • “These study skills are great! Not only for math but for all other classes”

    • “You had a chance to really challenge your goals and achieve your dreams”

    • “They help you think about what you really want and why we are here”

    • “It helped me understand my weaknesses and my strengths”

    Student comments1
    Student Comments

    ……. the best part of these activities?

    • “You get to see how you work & what things can be done differently to get you to better yourself”

    • “They helped my brain to work better, smarter”

    • “It made us realize it by writing it down”

    • “It prepared you ahead of time”

    • “It helps you evaluate yourself”

    • “Setting a positive mind-frame for life”

    Student comments2
    Student Comments

    ….. the best part of these activities?

    • “Being able to work with other people”

    • “Shows you what you need to improve on”

    • “That you believe in yourself that you really can pass this class”

    • “They help you understand”

    • “Helped more on the homework”

    • “It helped get me ready for the test”

    • “That you were concerned, cared”

    Student comments3
    Student Comments

    What was the worst part of these activities?

    • “Sometimes, I couldn’t get the answer”

    • “I didn’t like them because I had to work”

    • “Time consuming but made me think.”

    • “Maybe study too much”

    Strategies for success2
    Strategies for Success

    • Syllabus Search

    • Notebook Preparation

    • Reading the Textbook

    • Autobiography

    • On Time and Ready to Go!

    • Test Preparation

    • Test Stress Reduction

    • Test Taking Skills

    • Post Test Check Up

    • Test Analysis

    • Successful Student Behavior

    • Textbook Tour

    • Time Management

    • Homework Skills

    • Mid-Term Check up

    • Attendance

    • Study Group

    • Goals

    • Thoughts in Charge

    • Neutralize Negative Thoughts

    • Intervention Strategies for Negative Thoughts

    • Can you Hear Me Now?

    • A Gift to Yourself

    • Math Plan

    • The End is in Sight

    • Excuses! Excuses!

    • Support from Family and Friends

    • Stay on Campus-Stay on Task!

    • Final Exam Prep

    • Grade Check Up

    • Look Back, Look Forward

    • Reward Yourself!

    Your turn
    Your turn

    • What is the biggest concern you have about integrating study skills in your class?

    Time to commit
    Time to commit!

    • Which Strategy for Success will you try first?

    Teacher resources
    Teacher Resources

    For more information email:

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