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S. St. Clair, D. Gardner

Rogue Community College (UNITED STATES)
A U.S. Community College (CC) has received two National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education grants (2010-12 and 2014-2017) to transform the college math sequence Algebra I (MTH60) and Algebra II (MTH95) into an applied MTH 63 & MTH96 curriculum that it is entirely contextual-based, using examples, situations, and data from at six CTE (Career Technical Education) disciplines. These courses can be taught in one term at community college or over a full academic year in high school. Math faculty wrote two textbooks and have facilitated a Summer Math Institute for five year as a professional development to 30 high school and community college math teachers each year. The instructors learned how to use the curriculum through actual math applications in our community college’s CTE labs. MTH63 (Algebra I) has been offered since spring 2011. The student outcomes are very positive in both critical thinking advancement and achievement of credit. The pass rates for CTE students in this course was 25% higher as compared to CTE students in our traditional MTH60. Qualitatively, our CTE faculty can readily identify students coming from MTH63 over MTH60 due to their comprehensive and applications skills. MTH96 (Algebra II) textbook/curriculum was completed winter 2015 and has been offered for four terms so far. Results are promising but still a relatively small sample. The project hypothesis, tested by a comprehensive outcome assessment plan, is that if requisite mathematical skills in industry dictate the curriculum that students will more quickly and successfully complete courses, and improve their readiness to apply math in CTE and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas. The project is about the formation of the new math pathway that leads to college level math and is a departure from the traditional theoretical math sequence. Offering students this applied algebra sequence in high school or at the community college is an integral part of pathways in technical and STEM careers as well as success in college level math required for university.

The overall goal of this project is to improve pedagogical approaches, course design, and course articulation to improve students’ math skills so that they are better prepared for their post-secondary education in a STEM pathway and, ultimately, for work as CTE technicians in the workforce. The Co-Principal Investigators propose to present the project status and findings from both courses and to discuss the innovative teaching effectiveness in an Applied Algebra sequence to high school and community college students.