POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College has received a $40,000 Changing the Equation grant from the National Center for Academic Transformation.The grant will be used to redesign PRCC developmental mathematics courses and reduce math anxiety, said Judy Roane, chair of the Department of Mathematics, Science and Business.”This course redesign is built around two basic principles,” she said. “First, the more work students do, the better prepared they will be. This is true for all students, and it is especially true for developmental math students. Second, we want to reward the students for working. We have designed a program around these core beliefs, and we have created a system that encourages them to keep working and rewards them for doing more work if they can demonstrate that they learned more as a result.”Our course redesign will be built around computer labs and classrooms, continual assessment and mastery learning. We tell students that they are there to work on math in the lab and the classroom and that we are there to help them. We also tell them that they are going to do more work than ever before and they are going to get more help than ever before. Math anxiety is quickly eliminated because students quickly realize they can get their questions answered in both the class and lab.”The college was committed to the new teaching plan whether or not the award was received, said Dr. John Grant, vice president for instruction.”Were not satisfied with the success of our students in those courses,” he said. “We dont feel like they are completing them as they should. We are committed to teaching them in a different way.”Developmental math courses include fundamentals of math, beginning algebra and intermediate algebra.The pilot program also will limit class sizes to 20 students. PRCC officials already have been reducing the sizes of math classes although the project doesnt officially start until spring semester on the Poplarville campus.”We can see such a difference in attitude,” Roane said.The redesign will be implemented in the fall 2011 semester at the Forrest County Center.
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