PSC Piloting New Math Study Program

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Most community colleges are faced with a growing numbers of students that are not ready for college-level math. Many of these students possess poor study habits and give up too easily when learning.

At Prairie State College (PSC), professors are committed to student learning and success. This fall, several of PSC’s math professors are piloting a new program in their elementary algebra classes to ensure students who take these courses not only understand math concepts, but also learn the necessary study skills.

Through the use of software, professors can get immediate feedback about their students’ comprehension levels and progress. Using Web resources, students and instructors find out what kind of learners the students are—visual/verbal, visual/nonverbal, auditory, or tactile/kinesthetic. Based on this feedback, class instruction can be adjusted on an individual basis to accommodate each particular student’s learning needs.

“Students must demonstrate a certain level of mastery to get credit for the lesson,” said Brian Garant, assistant professor of mathematics, and co-director of the pilot program. “As a result, students spend more time being successful rather than falling far behind and feeling like they can’t catch up.”

The math department is currently using this software in four elementary algebra classes. In the spring, they plan on using the software in both elementary and intermediate algebra classes. The program will continue to expand as more instructors become involved.

“While we are getting immediate feedback of how the students are doing, we will know how effective the program is at the end of the term when we can measure how many students successfully completed their courses,” said Garant.

Next fall, the professors will teach these redesigned developmental math courses in a new math lab. The construction of the lab is currently underway. It will be fully equipped with smart classroom technology and student computer stations. A portion of the new math lab is funded by a part of Title III project, a $1.79 million federal grant aimed at improving student success and retention at the college.