Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Friday, July 31, 2015

For UW-Waukesha professor, teaching math is an art form

Karen Herzog reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the reason for the egents Teaching Excellence Award given to University of Wisconsin-Waukesha mathematics professor Shubhangi Stalder last spring.
"Stalder and colleague Paul Martin of UW-Marathon County — who was among those who nominated her for the award — developed a course that's so successful and promising for teaching college students who struggle with math, it's being used with impressive results at UW-Milwaukee, where more than 36% of freshmen require developmental math to prepare them for college-level math."
Regarding the scope of that problem here,
"Overall, about 25% of students entering the UW System and 35% within UW Colleges are placed in developmental math courses instead of college-level math their first year. They pay extra fees to cover the cost, and usually don't receive college credit for the courses.

"Typically, success rates in developmental math courses are at or below 50%. Barely 20% go on to complete a college-level math course."

As to Professor Stalder's program,
"Not so at UW-Waukesha, or in the UWM classrooms that use Stalder's approach. About 80% of students in the course that uses her approach pass on their first attempt, and 70% to 80% go on to pass College Algebra, which is needed to fulfill the core mathematics requirement.

"At UWM, the second-year retention rate for students placed in developmental math classes while Stalder was piloting the course there in fall 2013 was the same as students who entered UWM needing no mathematics remediation. Retention rates are strong indicators of graduation rates."

Any commnent on other reports of demonstrably successful teaching innovations?

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