Monday, April 18, 2011

NSC Launches Innovative Math Program in Fall 2011

By Professor Aaron Wong, Ph.D., Mathematics

Nevada State College is committed to student success. Wherever possible, we seize opportunities to provide a better, more fruitful learning experience to students. For example, studies show that students who complete their remedial classes in a timely fashion are more likely to earn their college degrees. In response, multiple national initiatives (such as “Getting Past Go” and “Complete College America”) specifically focus on remediation as a central component of student success. As a result, in fall 2011 NSC will launch an innovative program that is expected to dramatically improve student success in remedial courses.

Professor Aaron Wong has developed and will be leading
the implementation of the new Math Remediation Program

Over the past year, we have been working to create a new foundational mathematics program which will be more efficient and more effective at bringing students to a college level understanding of mathematics. The process is somewhat unorthodox, but we believe that our primary mission is to educate students, and we are willing to create whatever structures are necessary meet this goal. The most dramatic change is that the math remediation classes (known on campus as MATH 093) will be taught in 5-week modules instead of 15-week semesters. This has a number of benefits to students.

Math is one of those subjects where it is very difficult to get caught up after you fall behind, and students who fall behind often spend 5-7 weeks struggling and getting nowhere, only to eventually fail the course. Even worse, when students re-enroll in the course, they waste a good part of the semester covering things they already learned on their first trip through the course.

By breaking the semester into smaller modules, students will not be put in a position to waste precious time fighting with content that they have no chance of understanding. With the 5-week modules, students can immediately go back to fully understand the material that they missed. This allows our students to constantly move forward instead of being stuck spinning their wheels. An immediate consequence of this is that students should be able to complete their remediation faster than before because they are taking full advantage of the time that they have.

There are other changes that will be implemented, including mastery learning, common exams, and several behind-the-scenes changes, all designed to maximize student learning. We are excitedly looking forward to the launch of this new program in the fall semester.

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