Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Students at STCC's Admission Office

Aligning High School and College Mathematics

At STCC like other community colleges, the majority of incoming students place into developmental mathematics. This means that they have to take preparatory courses – algebra or arithmetic – before beginning college level mathematics.

Looking at this issue, Steven Davis of the Davis Foundation and former owner of Lenox Saw commented recently that this is rework since students should have acquired those mathematics skills in High School. And to address this problem will require cooperation between high schools and colleges. Although traditionally, there has been a gap between these two segments of education, there are signs of new cooperation. An important example has taken place at Seminole State College of Florida, a community college near Orlando, where area high schools have worked with the college to improve mathematics preparation. As reported by Bill Maxwell in the St. Petersburg Times,

“The main problem was obvious: Florida was requiring high school students to take only three years of math. Most did not take math in 12th grade. The chairman offered the principals a special 12th-grade course he would bring to their campuses to reduce the number of students needing remediation when they entered the college.

Only one school, Oviedo High, initially accepted the challenge. Seminole State College provided the course content and mentoring, and Oviedo's teachers taught the course.

Within a few years, Oviedo High reduced its remediation rate from 70 percent to 10 percent. A team of SSC and Seminole County public schools administrators began meeting once a month for breakfast at a local Denny's to collaborate and replicate the Oviedo program in all Seminole high schools.”

(Go to http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/editorial/ci_13710499?source=rss for the full article.)

This example is encouraging; we are trying to institute a similar program here at STCC.