Sunday, April 21, 2013

Illinois update and student reactions to MLCS

On April 6 at our AMATYC affiliate's meeting, IMACC, we voted and approved pathways courses.  That same weekend, our MAA affiliate, ISMAA, also approved Illinois versions of pathways courses.  Last week, the Illinois Articulation Iniative's General Education panel also accepted the new courses as alternative prerequisites for the following courses:  general education math, general education statistics, elementary mathematical model, and quantitative literacy.

We've been working for over 3 years to get pathways courses in Illinois as an approved alternative.  Several schools, including my school, have been developing their courses and piloting them.  We were granted pilots on a trial basis, so it's fantastic to be officially approved.


In other news, we often hear from schools class testing our book Math Lit for their MLCS courses.  Below are some comments from students in those classes.  Keep in mind that this school is in IL where the course is a 6 credit hour, 1 semester course.  Most states are not using this large of an MLCS course, but instead are teaching a 4 credit hour version.

Comments have not been edited for spelling or grammar.

“I really think this class has helped me a lot. When I came into this I did not know what to expect. At times I struggle, but when I have the groups I think for the most part we help each other to understand. I like that things are revisited because sometimes I may not fully grasp it, but then it comes back around; this time I get it. The class is very fast paced, and at first I was terrified I would fall behind, but I haven’t. I have learned a lot of things I have never heard before or have struggled with. I have grown leaps and bounds since the beginning of class.”

“In this course I learned more than just how to do Math, and solve algebraic equations. We learned what things meant and why the rules we use are the rules we use. Mrs. Thannum and Mrs. Peterson are great teachers and they’re experts at making you remember what we learned. I would recommend this class to anyone.”

“It has been great. I have learned so much. I want to achieve in a higher class but there was much I didn’t understand. Now when I first entered the class, I felt like I was put in a class for dumb people but it changed for me after I started learning. This course is needed very much. It breaks things down for me slower. It repeats what I missed . . . the teachers help explain."

“I like this course compared to others. I have learned more here than all of high school math. The only thing I don’t like is going four days a week and the weight of the Cycle Projects.”

“MAT 099 is an [sic] in your face example of how math should be taught. While not insulting your overall intelligence, it gets as personal/intimate as possible for the student to truly understand what to do by breaking down then showing how to apply the concept. Not just by saying here’s how you do it . . . move on . . . then you are scratching your head in confusion. Schools have entrance exams for a reason. Math, if not your strong suit should be as stated (based) on requirements for program or degree, should be given to ALL students with developmental issues concerning math. Coming from experience having taken 094 and bombed horribly only a semester ago, MAT 099 has by fair taught me how to not only break down the problem, but do it and understand it and actually apply it to real life.  I’m able to understand and apply math reasoning all from this course. As of summer, I will be able to go on to college level math as a result from this course.”

The pathways online course for Canvas will be posted this week for registration.  I will put info on my blog as soon as I have it.


  1. I'm not sure which version we're using (four or six credits for this semester) but I tutor students and I'm seeing a *lot* more thinking about concepts instead of "just tell me the steps!" (tho' a lot more isn't necessarily saying much...) Our studetns are also using ALEKS which has its ups and downs...

  2. That's great to hear. I see that with our students too. At the beginning of the semester, I got a lot of "tell me the steps" and "I need to see more examples like the ones in the homework." They've accepted the premise and understand the point is the why's, not just the how's.

  3. And I see you submitted this as an innovation at getting past go ... are you going to Denver at the end of May?

  4. I won't be able to because I'm having neck surgery. It looks like a good meeting. I'm looking forward to hearing what happened. Will you be going?