Implement a redesign of the developmental mathematics sequence.

During the fall 2012, a redesigned mathematics model (modified Emporium) was piloted in approximately one-third of the sections of each course (DVM 0031 Pre-algebra, DVM 0071 Introductory Algebra, and MAT 0104 Intermediate Algebra) in the Developmental Mathematics Sequence (DMS) for a total of 36 sections.  Over 900 students started the semester in the redesigned sections.  Twenty-seven students accelerated their progress by beginning the next course in the sequence before the end of the fall semester without having to stop or registering for that course.  However, most students had difficulty completing all of the modules in the course for which they registered before semester’s end.  Initial course completions rates were lower than expected (20%).  There were multiple reasons for this low pass rate.  First and foremost, in the past, students in traditional courses could receive a 70% and pass the course; however, students in redesigned courses must achieve an 80% on every module to pass the course.  Other factors included: the “newness” of the teaching/learning approach, student time on task, the number of interventions/stops required for students to take modular assessments and problems with technology.  The Leadership Team reviewed these factors and feedback from students and faculty during and after the semester.  Adjustments in all of the aforementioned categories were made accordingly and full scale implementation occurred in fall 2013. 

During FY2014, the DMS changed to one, consistent platform across all three courses, with the aim of providing seamless, integrated, academically rigorous learning resources to students in preparation for success in college-level courses. Professional development for faculty increased and continued to be refined. In spring 2014, mini-lessons/lectures were formally included in all sections.  Orientation materials, including a video for students explaining the model and the roles/responsibilities of students, faculty, and tutors, was developed for fall 2015. In summer 2014, the faculty met to explore more opportunities to refine the redesign model. Additionally, a “just-in-time” resource guide/handbook is being developed for all faculty to ensure consistency across all sections. Despite these and other changes, student success data did not demonstrate any improvement in student success, and in many cases, showed declines in success rates.  Concurrently, student complaints about the modular design continued.

Therefore, during 2015-2016, the DMS faculty begin to discuss significant changes for implementation in 2016-2017.  Those changes included:

  • Reducing the number of courses in the developmental mathematics sequence from three to two with the remaining courses being DVM 0071, Introductory Algebra and MAT 0104, Intermediate Algebra. This was accomplished through deleting, combining, and reorganizing content.
  • Offering the DMS courses in alternative (not fully modular) formats. Beginning fall 2016, there will be two pedagogical models offered to students, the Modified Lecture Approach (MLA) and the original Modular Format.  It is apparent that the module design works, but only for a subset of the students.  This model is beneficial to the independent and disciplined student who most likely needs a refresher.  The MLA aims to give a more structured approach to our students who work best under direct instruction, date restrictions, and structured pacing. 

The modular format will be recommended to those who have a recent background in the content, just need a refresher, have successfully completed an online course, or a demonstrated independent learner (home schooled, etc.).  Among the considerations for screening: time since last math course, performance in previous math courses, familiarity with computers and/or online instruction, access to computer, and clear time management plan.  The preliminary criteria for screening is listed below and will be modified as needed.

DMS Placement Information. Based on the new DMS sequence, only the Elementary Algebra Accuplacer score will be used to determine placement.

Data form the redesign of the redesign will be reported in next year's update of the Interventions Showcase.


ID 15534

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