The LACCD developmental mathematics faculty inquiry group (FIG) has been collaborating for about a year to identify areas in math learning where students seem to have difficulty. Pairs of math professors from five of the LACCD colleges and one member from Santa Ana College have been working with their respective departments to identify problems and develop solutions to the problems on their particular campus. Now, these colleges are ready to implement the solutions in their classes. To get a sense of the overall parameters of the larger FACCTS Project, click here.
Ruben and Regis are focused on improving students’ problem solving abilities related to application problems. Using responses to student surveys as a guide they are creating application problems that resonate with students. Math topics include: rational equations, quadratic equations, factoring and polynomials.
Kevin has created a set of SkillBuilders and ModelBuilders. These are powerpoint and html pages that can be used to help students master key topics in algebra.
Hector has created a Latino student persona and developed tools that help students reflect on their attitude toward math, their performance in math, and their efforts to improve.
Steven and Teresa are creating Skill Building Activities – 15 minute activities that will be incorporated into each 70 minute class. Teresa is focusing on activities related to specific elementary and intermediate algebra math topics, and Steve is focusing on activities related to math anxiety and test taking skills.
Henri is exploring multiple avenues for improving student performance of math skills. These approaches include internet-based learning, in-class powerpoint presentations, frequent examinations, and more.
Matt is exploring what motivates students to learn, how students approach learning and studying, and what techniques instructors can use to increase commitment to and effectiveness in studying. His work so far includes an assessment of students’ attitudes toward mathematics, an examination of student reflections on relationship between performance and commitment, and a review of the literature surrounding motivation and investment in learning.
Bruce and Kathy have developed an approach to teaching elementary and intermediate algebra with the following key aspects:
1) Lessons have both reading and writing components
2) Classroom lessons are activity based
3) Mathematical concepts and skills are developed in context. Environmental sustainability is a common theme.
4) Study skills are incorporated into each lesson
5) Professional development is a key component for instructors to share materials, pedagogy and experiences.
They have developed reading materials, classroom activities and homework assignments that are available online.
They are testing this approach in classes this semester and using the results to refine their materials and processes.
Caren is working to help students master application problems in elementary algebra in several ways, by:
1) developing modules of activities and tools for each classic type of application problem. Part of the focus of the modules is on general problem solving strategy and estimation.
2) developing a WordProbTutor modeled after OLI’s StatLabTutor, which will guide students in setting up equations, solving equations, and provide feedback about their work.
3) working with other departments to identify and then develop discipline-specific application problems