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Subject:

Re: stretching out algebra

From:

Susan Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 18:42:36 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

.. oh, and the "maintain mastery over the concepts over a long period of time, too" issue is one we grapple with, but our developmental faculty are well trained and the pedagogy lends itself to developing concepts as foundations for the assorted procedures. The "mastery" expected is a fairly high bar to get over. Our students do have to take the "Full" final, no matter how long it took them to go through the assorted modules.
   I'm sitting in on a course this semester and I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is to watch a good teacher in action.



Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
217-353-2056
[log in to unmask]
Webmastress,
http://www.resourceroom.net
http://bicyclecu.blogspot.com


>>> Susan Jones <[log in to unmask]> 1/12/2009 3:19 PM >>>
When we stretch out our Pre-Algebra, it gives us the chance to make *many*more connections from familiar experiences to the algebra they're doing so that they can get more fluent in the language and more fully develop the concepts, instead of following algorithms they don't comprehend which sometimes don't really connect to the math. (I'm thinking of some of the "quick tricks" for things like adding fractions that can take the place of understanding what a denominator is, but there are many other examples further up the concept line.) If they go into college algebra thinking that "the x is one," going more slowly with more advanced content may or may not address the real issues.

The down side to our approach is that there can be less actual teacher interaction. We have groups of, say, 8 in a course that will go through the first 2 credit hours of Pre-Algebra. I'll have to find out the specifics of "in-class" time and "independent work" time... one of the up sides being that the "independent" time can actually be in the lab wiht help from faculty or professional tutors such as myself... but conversely, since it's "independent," it can be a challenge to get them in here.


Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
217-353-2056
[log in to unmask]
Webmastress,
http://www.resourceroom.net
http://bicyclecu.blogspot.com


>>> Kathryn Van Wagoner <[log in to unmask]> 1/9/2009 12:52 PM >>>
I'd like to hear more about the options for extending the time spent on pre-algebra and algebra courses. I am of the opinion that this is a perfectly acceptable option for developmental math. We once had a push from students on our campus to turn College Algebra into a two semester course and I don't approve of that idea. I think the problems the college algebra students were having were due to not having a strong foundation in developmental math. I've often wondered about options for giving students more time to thoroughly grasp the developmental math. Of course it would have to be done in a way that allowed them to maintain mastery over the concepts over a long period of time, too.

Kathryn Van Wagoner
Utah Valley University
Math Lab Manager
801-863-8411
[log in to unmask]


>>> "Susan Jones" <[log in to unmask]> 1/9/2009 10:57 AM >>>
I find that many students don't n eed math sped up - but *can* learn it if it is slowed down. (Not all, of course, but a significant number.)

Rather than repeat the course at the fast pace and hope the second time it sticks, we have options for stretching out our pre-algebra and algebra over 2 (or 3) semesters. Granted, some students don't have time to do this, but many students do if it's addressed early enough. (The argument as to whether or not they should spend that much time on math is an entirely different discussion and is going to vary from one institution to the next.)

Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
217-353-2056
[log in to unmask]
Webmastress,
http://www.resourceroom.net
http://bicyclecu.blogspot.com


>>> "Panitz, Theodore" <[log in to unmask]> 1/9/2009 10:56 AM >>>
Hi All,

    We tried using modules for a basic math course and an elementary algebra course at cape Cod Community College several years ago with the hope (expectation) that students would accelerate their progress or complete the course series over time if they needed extra time. Students could repeat a module if they did not pass, since modules were offered continuously every semester.

     Our results were exactly the opposite. Students would take one or two modules and then not complete the required number of three for each course. Part of the reason we surmised was that many students leave after one or two semesters so they cannot complete the modules. Others decide that they do not want to make the effort, since they find math hard. We have many support mechanisms here, such as a math learning center, individual tutoring, on line tutoring, plus a number of special programs. These did not seem to help our module students which is consistent with our in regular 3 credit course students. We have a pretty high attrition rate at the developmental level.

Regards,
ted


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