“My confidence in math greatly improved. No more math anxiety.”
The Adult Basic Education for College & Career division at PCC is working hard to help students transition into college or onto new career pathways. One way we do this is by offering accelerated Math Bridge classes to all PCC students at Northwest, Desert Vista and East campuses, every spring and fall semester. These intensive classes are 7 weeks long, and meet for 12 hours a week. If you do the math, that’s 84 hours of instruction -nearly double that of a regular class, yet taught in less than half a semester’s time! This model allows students to immerse in the content of the class and move faster toward their goals.
Math Bridge classes are unique in a number of different ways. First, they are no-cost and non-credit, so students don’t have to use up their finances or time while they strengthen their foundational skills and knowledge of the college. Both ABE and Dev Ed students attend classes together.
Another difference is how Math Bridge classes approach teaching math. Instead of trying to cram in as many lessons in operations-based math skills as possible in 7 weeks, the instructors focus on developing a deeper, conceptual understanding of the math. This not only has shown to help students perform better on assessments such as the Compass test or the GED, but students have also consistently reported a significant increase in their confidence with math.
“I feel a lot more confident in math especially since I have not taken it for 16 years. Being in the classroom and working with my peers has been great too! This 3 hour class feels so short to me. I really enjoy coming.”
The Math Bridge Instructors developed this model and curriculum based on several years of study on how best to teach adults Mathematics through TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy). TIAN uses teacher inquiry and reflective learning to engage teachers in learning how to design and implement effective mathematics instructional approaches for algebra and data analysis. TIAN was piloted and field-tested with math teachers in six states whose adult students had math skills at the ABE, pre-GED, and GED levels. Website: http://tian.terc.edu/
We also know that math isn’t the only thing that students need to be successful. Math Bridge classes integrate skills for student success into the classroom, and bring in resources to help them along the way. Essential study skills are developed and practiced; tours of the campus with Student Life engage students with campus activities; and weekly visits to the class from a dedicated Student Services Advisor help students learn how to navigate the college system and maximize its resources. Finally, students also explore career pathways and meet with faculty and college career counselors to map out their next steps onto those pathways. Students complete the Math Bridge class with relationships already established with college faculty and staff, and feel comfortable asking for help.
“This class has pushed me back into school. It has gotten me used to being busy and using my time wisely. I’m truly grateful.”
The first Spring Math Bridge class wrapped up last week, and the results already look good. The first Spring Math Bridge classes of 2016 wrapped up last week, with over 80% of the students moving up on their placement levels! Of course, it’s not just test scores going up that leads to success, it’s about being engaged:
“It has helped me to re-learn all that I didn’t care about through high school. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
The next Math Bridge classes will start on March 28th at Desert Vista, Northwest and East campuses, and are open to all PCC students. This fall, classes will also be available at Downtown and West Campuses. For more information about Math Bridge classes, contact Wendy Scheder Black at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m anxious to get going with my college classes…This class has been a boost for me!”
Math Bridge Teachers – Mary Jo Chmielewski, Linda Kangas & Consuelo Carrillo
NOTE: There is a professional development opportunity for Instructors who want to learn more about Bridge classes coming soon – stay tuned from your center for more information.