MONTEREY, Calif., August 25, 2009 Demand for post-secondary education in the modern job market is increasing. But as enrollment in post-secondary institutions grows to meet this demand, many students entering community college are not prepared for the rigors of post-secondary mathematics. As these students confront the advanced mathematical skill set they need to launch a college career, many find themselves dropping out before they can even begin.
To help address this crucial problem, the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE) has embarked upon a networking effort, headed by Director of Learning Design Ruth Rominger, to connect several groups focused on the lack of literacy in mathematics in college-bound students. MITE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently brought together subject-matter experts from AMATYC (American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges) and representatives from the Gates Foundation to develop a new vision for a developmental mathematics curriculum.
Ambitions for the group included drafting a vision for developmental mathematics for the next decade, building a consensus on promising models, providing guidance on curricula and approaches, and considering an alternative path culminating in a college-level statistics course (rather than to calculus). The timing was fortuitous in that an AMATYC committee had already begun to tackle the lack of success in development mathematics. In collaboration with MITE and with support from the Gates Foundation, the committee was able to convene in person for the first time for a graphically facilitated curriculum design workshop to make substantial progress on their goals.
Richelle (Rikki) Blair, President of AMATYC, and Jack Rotman, Chair of the AMATYC Development Mathematics Committee, collaborated with Rominger to develop the workshop agenda. “It was a process of culling down a list of a few hundred learning objectives that [the group] believed students need if they want to pursue any major in college,” Rominger said.
Combining the practical knowledge of the mathematics practitioners, the over-arching vision of the Gates Foundation, and the research and implementation experience of MITE, a curriculum framework was drafted that will guide the expansion of future developmental math courses. MITE will also participate in the developmental mathematics symposium at the annual AMATYC conference in November, where a larger group of two-year college math instructors will discuss the framework, hopefully leading to the creation of suggested syllabi.
AMATYC (The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges) was founded in 1974. It is the only organization exclusively devoted to providing a national forum for the improvement of mathematics instruction in the first two years of college. AMATYC has approximately 2,200 individual members and more than 100 institutional members in the United States and Canada. Educators in 47 states and one Canadian province are also represented through involvement with AMATYC’s 44 affiliate organizations. Learn more at: http://www.amatyc.org/
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners are working to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and go on to successfully earn a postsecondary credential with real value in the labor market, with a focus on low–income and minority students. Since 2000, the foundation has invested more than $2 billion to this end, supporting more than 2,600 schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. Learn more at: http://www.gatesfoundation.org
The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education is a non–profit educational organization committed to helping meet society’s need for access to effective, high–quality educational opportunities in an era of rapid economic, social and personal change. The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)3 non–profit organization. Learn more at: http://www.montereyinstitute.org
Jonathan Lopez, Communications Manager
Monterey Institute for Technology and Education