Math success is spelled “MCC” in Mohave County, student success rates jump

Mohave Wire

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Mohave Community College charted a new course to improve the math skills of students, and the student success rate spiked.

During the MCC board of governors meeting Friday, the college unveiled the first year results of its transitional math project, which helps prepare students for college level math.

The percentage of students successfully completing transitional math courses jumped from 62% in the Fall semester of 2016 to 88% in 2017.   

For students taking 15 week courses, the success rate jumped from 68% to 91%.

“These results are phenomenal,” MCC President Dr. Michael Kearns told the board of governors. ”Student improvement results like this get the attention of educators and administrators.”

The need to improve student math skills is no secret in Arizona.

Only 40% of elementary, middle school and high school students passed the math portion of the AzMerit standardized test during the 2016-2017 school year, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

“We changed our philosophy at MCC and moved from expecting the student to be ready for college level math to meeting the student wherever they are in terms of math knowledge, “ said Rosemarie LeFebvre, MCC associate dean of student success & retention. “We work closely with the student and help them learn the skills they need to pass college level math classes.”

LeFebvre is one of the key architects of the college’s transitional math improvement project, which is already seeing double digit improvements in student success rates.

She worked closely with Associate Dean Don Weide, who oversees the MCC Center for Excellence in Learning.

Weide researched math computer programs and identified EdReady as one MCC could use to assist students. “It allows students to go online at any time, assess their math skills, and together with our team at MCC develop a plan for success,” he said.

Advisors, tutors, faculty and staff monitor student progress daily, and administrators meet weekly for updates and to determine what is working, and what changes need to be made.

“We always ask ourselves ‘what’s the new challenge, what’s today’s challenge and what didn’t we think of,’” Stephen Eaton, chief academic officer explained to board members. “Because of that approach we’ve had very few surprises.”

Another big key to the success of the project is flexibility and ease of access to assistance the students may need.

“We make it a priority to work within the student’s schedule to help them,” said LeFebvre. “If a student lags behind, we meet with them to find out how we can help make them successful.”

The college also located the transitional math classes on its campuses within easy access to the Student Success Centers, tutors, computer labs and faculty.

The college also works closely with online students and the success rate for them jumped from 45% in 2016 to 84% in 2017.

MCC board members were overwhelmingly pleased with the transitional math success rates.

“For online pass rates to jump from 45% to 84% is incredible,” said Board Trustee Judy Selberg.

Board Member Julie Bare had a similar reaction. “This is a magnificent representation of what we do best – educating students and helping them improve and succeed.”

Students who would like to get assistance with math and other college coursework should contact the Student Success Center at Success@Mohave.edu.