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Developmental math is going through some changes

Developmental math is going through some changes. First and foremost, it’s no longer being referred to as developmental math.

Missouri Western’s Center for Success in Mathematics is currently in development and is planned to go into effect this fall.

The reason for this change originated from the state’s plan to have the entrance requirement to general studies in math be the same across colleges and universities. However, different colleges had different cutoffs for entrance into these general studies courses, and some even used different tests other than the ACT to determine this.

The state created a document called “The Best Practices in Remedial Education,” which had standardized scores for multiple tests including the ACT, the SAT and Course Compass.

Since then, there has been some backpedaling upon realizing that some universities might not want this. So, Missouri Western is taking an alternate route with the Center for Success in Mathematics.

Instead of requiring a 22 of everyone, Missouri Western is creating a placement test.

Students with a 22 or higher will have automatically passed the placement exam and can go right on to the various math classes required of them. Students with a score between 18 and 21 will take the placement test. Those who pass the placement test will go into general studies, while those who fail will be given the option to take a new class, MAT 110 E, along with another class to help complete general studies for that semester.

Dr. Michael Ottinger, professor of physics and chair of computer science math and physics, believes that this new system will help students to more easily complete general studies in math.

“A lot of people, when they come into developmental math, they’re passing developmental math and then they’re saying, ‘I’m going to take a break now before I do general studies,” Ottinger said. “That’s not the purpose of it. When students come in, if they’re not prepared to be successful in general studies, they’re going to go to the Center for Success in Math.”

Furthermore, Stacey Bowen, math coordinator, is set to be the new director of the center for success in math.

“A lot of those things are being discussed: the direction that we want to go,” Bowen said. “They haven’t finished all of the approval process yet, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern, waiting to see what happens and where we need to go and the direction that we need to take to help those students be successful.”

Bowen is set to transition into the position on Oct. 20.

Dr. Jeanne Daffron, provost and vice president for academic affairs, is also excited for the changes, and believes that new tools will help students with the proficiency exam and beyond.

“They can take this proficiency exam as many times as they need to,” Daffron said. “There’s going to be mini-lectures like videos, 5-6 minutes long, on different concepts and lots of practice problems that people can work.”

Pending approval, the new program is set to go into effect in the fall of 2015.

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