Blogs

“I’ve always been terrible at math.” While common in mainstream American culture, this statement should concern us when coming from a prospective 3 rd grade teacher—someone who bears the responsibility of educating children in a variety of subject areas. Will this negative sentiment be passed down to his students? Will she allot less time to a subject she does not like or understand? Will a child’s creative solution fail to be recognized? We feel everyone can learn to love mathematics if they understand it. If students are given the space to explore and opportunities to share, this platitude may one day become, “I’ve always loved math. It has always made sense ...
SPECIAL NOTE: This blog has been posted on behalf of a QB@CC colleague, Joseph Esquibel . Joe teaches biology at Lansing Community College in Michigan. Hello! As a biology professor in this QB@CC interdisciplinary network, I’ve seen the impact of interdisciplinary education from a slightly different perspective. I was always interested in adding a numerical and quantitative focus to my teaching. However, it wasn't until I joined this network and worked closely with teams of math and biology faculty that I really reached this goal. My classes feel transformed. It is easy to think of classroom time as a zero-sum game, that time spent on one ...
“When am I ever going to use this?!” Math educators hear this question time and time again. Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges (QB@CC) is a 5-year NSF RCN-UBE funded project aimed at helping math instructors answer this age-old question for their students, especially their biology students who may not recognize the importance of quantitative skills in their chosen discipline. The primary objective of the project is to build a network of math and biology faculty from community colleges around the nation who work together to enhance students’ quantitative skills by creating, publishing, and disseminating open-access cross-curricular materials. Small ...
When we’re teaching a developmental math class, we often have two goals: student engagement and learning. There are many ways to accomplish each. Below is a framework I use when teaching developmental math, but also college-level math, and even professional development. It’s both effective and flexible. Assess – Before starting into objectives, a lesson, or an activity, first find out where your students are and what they need. This can be mentally (Are they stressed? Tired? Overworked?) and/or mathematically (How has the content been lately? Do they need more or less of a particular skill or concept?). Achieving this can happen in many ways, so take ...
One of the benefits of the developmental math course sequence that many institutions (and even states!) have phased out was that students had the opportunity to learn and develop soft skills over the course of multiple semesters before they reached college-level math courses. These skills helped prepare students for a higher level of success in their college-level coursework. In addition, the students who missed crucial content in high school or middle school during the pandemic are now arriving on our college campuses; some of these students have grown accustomed to receiving more flexibility than college faculty used to be willing to hand out. Now, more ...
Stigler and Hierbert (1999) note that teaching is cultural, and that we teach the way we were taught. Foreign born instructors when coming to the United States, may have experienced a “culture shock” which had required them to vary their approaches to teaching mathematics. Likewise, mathematics teachers in the United States, through the process of professional development and studying research, have professionally grown in their teaching practices. Some have experienced this growth also through observing international colleagues and students. We invite you to join our conversation this month with your experiences related to this topic. Sources: ...
I have always loved mathematics and been fascinated by mathematics in nature—from the Fibonacci sequence in the spirals on pinecones and the heads of sunflowers to fractals in trees and coastlines. Over the past few decades, however, I have come to realize that many students like more practical applications than these, such as the mathematics of personal finances and health decisions. Lynn Steen, Bernie Madison, Iddo Gal, Ellen Peters, the MAA’s special interest group of quantitative literacy (SIGMAA-QL), and the National Numeracy Network have opened a new world to me— and consequently to my students! I have learned that quantitative literacy enhances and ...
Quantitative reasoning (QR) is often associated with mathematics and science courses, but it goes beyond those areas. Colleges and universities are integrating QR skills into various academic settings, from the humanities to the arts. In this blog post, we explore how institutions like Wellesley, Millikin, and Carleton are expanding the reach of QR education by offering courses in unconventional disciplines. Wellesley College has a foundational QR requirement, coupled with a Data Literacy (DL) requirement ( https://www.wellesley.edu/qr/requirement ). One of the latter courses is “Network Analysis for Art History,” where students are doing the following: ...
How can digital platforms help us pursue proficiency through students’ engagement? One of IMPACT’s pillars is Proficiency . The National Institution of Health (NIH) proficiency scale describes an individual’s level of proficiency in a particular competency. 1 - Fundamental Awareness (basic knowledge) 2 - Novice (limited experience) 3 - Intermediate (practical application) 4 - Advanced (applied theory) 5 - Expert (recognized authority) In a similar way we think of proficiency in learning a topic, or skill in class. To become proficient means to become an expert on the field. However, mastering the concepts and skills can only ...
In several discussions with members of the Math Intensive Academic Network, we have identified several challenges with the linear algebra courses taught at two-year colleges. These include prerequisite courses, curriculum design and transfer issues. Additionally, advances in technology provide opportunities that were previously unavailable. Some two-year colleges require an advanced prerequisite like multivariate calculus (Parkland College, Monroe Community College), others integral calculus (College of DuPage, College of Southern Nevada, Miami Dade College), and still others differential calculus (Bucks College, Community College of Baltimore County, ...
When educators reflect on the assessment implemented in their courses, there are many curiosity perspectives that can take shape. For example, the assessment results could lead to a curiosity about why some students were successful and why some students struggled. Or, in other words, was there an inequity in the assessment that privileged a group of students? I have been curious about the format of tests and how each format can provide a barrier for a certain type of student. While some students are more successful with a very structured test format, like timed, seated, and paper, other students experience a high level of anxiety with a structured format and ...
As a math teacher, how often do you hear, “this is the last class I need to graduate” or “I just want to get through this class”? The growth of quiet quitting by employees is something that math instructors have experienced for years in their classes: students performing the minimum amount of work that they can to get through and pass the class. Students frequently attempt to memorize content that they’re required to know. They’ll memorize formulas and steps without any real understanding. They keep trying to memorize more and more until eventually, they reach a tipping point where they can’t keep up and it all comes crashing down. What if instructors could get ...
There are demands to change the precalculus and calculus curricula. Do students still need to learn topics like synthetic division or Descartes’s Rule of Signs? Might it be valuable to increase the use of real data analysis in those courses? As technology evolves, what do students really need to know from the calculus curriculum? Are the techniques of integration as important today as they were a generation ago? What should be the role of infinite series in an evolving curriculum? Since most traditional differential equations problems can be solved immediately with technology, should the course become more theoretical, more applied, or disregarded completely? ...
The Standards Committee 2023 New Year's resolution: To make IMPACT a living document and update AMATYC’s three signature documents; Crossroads, Beyond Crossroads, and IMPACT . Here is a brief description and history of our Signature Documents : Crossroads (1995) The purpose of Crossroads in Mathematics: Standards for Introductory College Mathematics Before Calculus is to address the special circumstances of, establish standards for, and make recommendat ions about two-year college and lower-division mathematics programs below the level of calculus. Three sets of standards for introductory college mathematics are defined in Chapter ...
Many community college students are focusing on programs that help them learn or reinforce the skills needed to land their desired job or advance within their current work environment. Others are in STEM programs that are preparing them for immediate entry into the field of their dreams. Providing meaningful applications of mathematics for career programs in various courses is engaging and motivating to students. Their proficiency in these applications is essential to their success in the workforce. Join us as we explore various aspects of applications of mathematics for career programs.
More than likely, you have heard about flipped teaching. Many faculty, upon hearing about the flipped teaching model, recognize that it makes a lot of sense and recognize that it would be an effective way to engage students in the classroom with the result being increased student success. Perhaps you have considered using the flipped teaching model but have not gotten started yet, with the fear that it is an overwhelming task and you are just too busy right now. If you know that flipped teaching would benefit your students and if you are interested in discovering some ways to flip your class without flipping out, then this is a great time to get started. ...
Back when the Statistics Anet hosted IMPACT Live! in May , Mark Earley posted the following discussion question: “What is the biggest change you've made to your introductory statistics class in the last 3 years? Why did you make the change and what impact has it had on your students?“ While there are some big changes I’ve made in my classroom over the years (like flipping my class or trying standards-based grading), some of the most impact ful changes in terms of student success have been small changes. This ties into the theme that the Innovative Teaching and Learning Anet and Project ACCCESS had for this month’s Impact Live! : A small idea ...
Author: Rachel Saidi In looking broadly at student success, one can define it based on outcomes, principles, and practices. Joe Cuseo of Marymount College wrote a column, “The Big Picture,” in Esource for College Transitions, which was published by the National Resource Center for First-Year Experience & Students in Transition (2007). Cuseo defined student success in terms of the following: Student Retention (Persistence): Entering college students remain, re-enroll, and continue their undergraduate education. Educational Attainment: entering students persist to completion and attainment of their degree, program, or educational goal. Academic ...
I remember our outpouring of commitment to building racial equity in the fall of 2020 as the effects of structural and ideological racism were brought into relief through the twin crises of the pandemic and police killings of unarmed African Americans. To be sure, the effects of structural racism were already well known by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). Likewise, BIPOC students and colleagues have lived experiences with structural and ideological racism in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), while the various forms of racism remain hidden to racial groups that dominate STEM who hide behind the veneer of STEM disciplines ...
I was at an equity summit in late February and the speaker, the incredible Dr. Luke Wood, was talking about why community colleges are struggling to support Black men (amongst other population subgroups). His definition of equity is worth sharing: “Equity refers to a heightened focus on groups that experience disproportionate impact in order to remediate disparities in their experiences and outcomes.” Equity is a word that I have been hearing on the radio in connection with the new CRT (critical race theory) bugbear that has emerged as a political rallying point. For people committed to educational equity, Wood’s definition is useful ...