HLC Self Study
Chapter 6 Graphic

Math Modular Courses

Faculty members constantly strive to implement measures that will result in increased student success in math.  From 2004-2008, success rates for developmental math courses (MAT082 Basic Arithmetic and MAT091/92-Introductory Algebra) offered in a traditional format ranged from 27 percent to 58 percent.  As a result, in spring 2008, faculty divided MAT082 into three modules. As students successfully complete a module, they then progress to the next.  An example of the three one-credit hour phases for MAT082 is as follows:

  1. AA – Operations with whole numbers and integers
  2. AB – Operations with fractions and decimals
  3. AC – Operations with percentages, bar, line and pie graphs and measurement

Since spring 2008, MAT082 has been taught in both modular and traditional formats.  In fall 2008, faculty also began offering MAT092 (Introductory Algebra) in a modular format.  Two years later, a pilot was implemented in which MAT082 students who successfully completed all three modules could continue to MAT092 in the same semester.

Data shows that students in modular math classes have a high success rate when they complete a module. However, as shown in Figure 49, many students do not complete all modules in a course. When students initially register for a modular math class, they must register for all three modules. Often students only complete one or two modules, which decreases the percentage of success.

Figure 49

Success in math courses remains problematic and Estrella Mountain continues to explore ways to increase success. During fall 2010, the College identified external funds that can be used to provide scholarships for students who complete all three modules of MAT082 in the same semester. It is hoped that such scholarships will serve as an incentive to students, increase math success in developmental classes and increase retention.

Learning Communities

In June 2005, supported by Title V funds, Estrella Mountain sent a cross-divisional team of faculty and staff to the Washington Center’s National Summer Institute on Learning Communities at Evergreen State College. This engagement with learning communities provided the College valuable lessons. Creating effective learning communities requires proper training, collaboration, staffing, marketing, student registration, and committed financial resources. The College intention was to create functioning and engaging learning communities available for initial offering during 2005-2006.

Learning Communities established for fall 2005 included Creating College Success (CPD150), First-Year Composition (ENG101) and Introduction to Psychology (PSY101). A formal assessment of student and faculty experience was designed and survey administered to help determine program successes. Learning communities were again developed, offered and assessed during fall 2006. A College commitment to the learning community concept continued over the next two years with different learning community course offerings.

During 2009, an additional opportunity for learning communities was presented through the work of the Estrella Mountain Developmental Education Professional Learning Community. The College researched learning community best practices focusing on communities that specifically target students who begin college taking sub-100 level classes. Estrella Mountain’s Budget Development Steering Team recommended funding for a learning communities grant proposal for 2010-2011 in support of this identified learning community.

The College piloted a fully integrated learning community in fall 2009 where students enrolled in Introductory Algebra (MAT092) and Creating College Success (CPD150). This newly established learning community known as “Success in Mathematics” was team taught by residential faculty from mathematics and counseling. The goal was to help students learn introductory algebra though direct application of study skills aimed at improving comprehension and understanding of mathematical concepts.

The effectiveness of the learning community continues to be assessed for the overall impact on student success. Faculty members continue to adapt and revise the curriculum in support of student achievement. The successes, challenges and lessons learned from the MAT092/CPD150 learning community have been shared publically with both internal and national audiences. In fall 2011, the College will offer the following learning communities in developmental mathematics and developmental writing.

  • Success in Math
    • AAA115 – Creating College Success
    • MAT091 – Introductory Algebra
       
    • AAA115 – Creating College Success
    • MAT121 – Intermediate Algebra
       
    • CPD150 – Strategies for College Success
    • MAT092 – Introductory Algebra
  • Success in the Fundamentals of Writing
    • CPD150 – Strategies for College Success
    • ENG091 – Fundamental of Writing

Learning communities offer a valuable opportunity for all students. They build relationships and bonds between students, between students and faculty members and between faculty members. In addition to learning communities that provide support for developmental students, the College also provides fully-integrated learning communities for students in the following areas:

  • Scientific Research Techniques with Applications in Astronomy
    • AST111 – Introduction to Solar System Astronomy
    • AST113 – Introduction to Solar System Astronomy Laboratory
    • MAT298AA – Scientific Research Techniques with Applications in Astronomy
  • Interactive Calculus and Physics
    • MAT221 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry
    • PHY121 – University Physics I: Mechanics
  • Teach for Our Future
    • CIS105 – Survey of Computer Information Systems
    • EDU221 – Introduction to Education