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Iowa Central opens Center for Math Achievement

    by Josh Sandin
    Posted on 9/20/2012

FORT DODGE - Iowa Central Community College added a new wrinkle to its math classes this semester as it opened the Center for Math Achievement (CMA) for students to get extra help in math classes.

Last year, the math department did a study on students from 2005 that took developmental math classes and found that only 12 percent of those students eventually passed a college-level math class. When Jennifer Condon, Dean of Liberal Arts, attended NISOD this year she learned about the Math Redesign program that Cleveland State Community College utilized and thought it would benefit students here. Condon, along with math instructors John Hansen and Laura Walters, went to Cleveland State to learn more about the program and immediately began to develop a plan which redesigned the developmental math classes and led to the formation of the CMA.

Beginning this fall, students in Fundamentals of Math, Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra are required to log a certain amount hours in the CMA each week as part of the class. Also, new software and materials have been implemented into each of those classed that are intended to help increase scores in math. The new software contains lecture videos and numerous practice problems for students. It also has a built in tutor function that will help the students diagnose their mistakes. The course is mastery based, so a student only moves on to the next topic when they have mastered the previous topic. 

“Instead of a student sitting in a classroom being bored because they already know the material, or lost because they did not understand the material presented the day before, this new curriculum allows the students to work at their own pace,” said Walters. “Students who finish the course early will be given their grade and will not have to come to class for the rest of the semester.  Some students may be able to start the next course mid-semester.”

The CMA, which is located in room 202 of the Science Building, is open from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Fridays and is always staffed by three to four math instructors and tutors.