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Math My Way:

A new approach to teaching pre-algebra.

Rachel Mudge Sarah Delos Santos


Foothill College Mathematics Department

What is Math My Way?


The Creation of MMW Program Overview Preliminary Results Next Steps

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The Creation of Math My Way

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What led to MMW?


An increase in basic skills students A decrease in preparation levels Our frustration with success rates Foothill Campus Research

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Ouch!
Tens of thousands of students are falling through the cracks - we can debate the reasons why, claim that students arent as prepared as they used to be, etc - the bottom line, however, is they still come to our doors Good news?!? These numbers are very consistent across campuses, which means that these are systemic issues - not the fault of individual campuses, departments, or faculty members.
-Rob Johnstone

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Success Rates & Prior Course Grade


90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Intro. Algebra Inter. Algebra College Level Course
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percentage passing

A in prior course B in prior course C in prior course no prior course - 1st attempt

What were we trying to fix?


Pacing Mastery Success rates Persistence through the sequence.

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Math My Way Program Overview


(program started Fall 06)

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What do the students learn?


Whole numbers Fractions Decimals Real Numbers Equations and Expressions I Equations and Expressions II Ratio and Proportion Percentages Basic Geometry

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What happens in the classroom?


Mini-lectures (10 -20 minutes) Computer Drills (using ALEKS*) Textbook Assignments Review Worksheets Students work alone and in groups
*Software coupled with a custom McGraw-Hill text Mathematics

How do the students gain mastery?


All written work must be satisfactorily completed
100% complete 100% correct Correct use of mathematical notation

All computer drills must be completed All module work is completed before taking an exam 87% is required to pass the module A D exams 84% is required to pass the module E I exams
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Why do the students do it?


Strict attendance policy Strict classroom rules They dont feel left behind They see progress (retention rates are 90%+)

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What makes it a program and not a regular course?


150 students, 5 classrooms, and instructors. Students are reassigned every 2-3 weeks Students dont restart each quarter Faculty members meet weekly Faculty members share grading Faculty members share outside responsibilities
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Preliminary Results

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What have we learned about the students?


Most students can master Arithmetic Concepts Students are content to move slowly Many students lack of self-awareness impedes their progress Many students need to develop basic life skills Accuracy is very difficult to learn Rewards work better than we imagined
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Persistence* through the Math Sequence by Preparation


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Introductory Intermediate College Level Algebra Algebra
*Percentage of students completing Pre-Algebra who enroll in subsequent courses.

Traditional PreAlgebra (n=373) Math My Way (n=204) Math My Way 3 quarters (n=163)

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Success rates and A/B grades


120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Pre-Algebra Intro. Algebra
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Success (Trad.) Success (MMW) Success(MMW3) A/B Grades (Trad.) A/B Grades (MMW) A/B Grade (MMW3)

Success rates and A/B grades


90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Inter. Algebra College Level
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Success (Trad.) Success (MMW) Success (MMW3) A/B Grades (Trad.) A/B Grades (MMW) A/B Grades (MMW3)

Next Steps

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How has this influenced the Foothill Math Sequence?


Elementary Algebra Modifications (Fall 08)
Curriculum redesign More contact hours Online support for students and instructors

Combined Elementary and Intermediate Course Statway is the next course currently finishing its first year.

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Thank You!
delossantossarah@foothill.edu mudge@carnegiefoundation.org

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