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MA Board of Higher Education to improve math programs

Posted by boston.com  December 10, 2013 02:53 PM

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By Lauren Spencer, Globe Correspondent

In an effort to improve student preparedness for the worforce, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education is encouraging college campuses to revise their developmental math programs. 

With 38% of public college and university students enrolled in non-credit remedial coursework during their first semester, the Board approved a series of initiatives that aim to help students more quickly advance to credit-bearing courses while still obtaining the skills necessary for college-level work. 

According to a task force appointed by Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland, there were 11,000 community college students taking remedial math in the fall 2010 semester and 9,000 of them have yet to pass a credit-bearing math course. 

In order to improve those statistics, campuses will create new, academically rigorous math course sequences, specific to students’ individual areas of study. For example, a liberal arts student might pursue quantitative reasoning, while a social sciences major might study statistics. 
 
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to declare the 2014-15 academic year as a “pilot study year” for campuses to try out different revisions to their offerings. 

“This is indeed a national problem and Massachusetts is in the vanguard of states that are moving to improve remedial math instruction”, said Freeland. 

“Our research indicates that students who take math that is appropriate for their interests and career goals are more successful in their courses and more likely to complete college. This should matter to everyone, given the Commonwealth’s growing need for high-skilled college graduates in the coming years.”

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