Acceleration programs help students with difficulties in math

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) had their bi-monthly meeting on campus last Wednesday to discuss the success of the school’s Child Development program and the statewide issues with mathematical success.

The school was able to show off the success of the Child Development Center’s most recent achievements.

The Child Development Center has a program that has supported those interested in a career of childcare and development starting in high school, and continuing on through Pierce onto four-year institutions.

UC Berkeley, along with Pierce and other partnering schools recently released a study called “From Aspiration to Attainment,” which detailed supporting practices in obtaining a degree in child development.

“I believe the findings and recommendations are actually applicable to a student attainment of degrees in many disciplines, not solely in child development,” Pierce College President Kathleen Burke said.

The findings indicate that many students had trouble with their math classes. They seem to avoid taking the classes due to low pass rates or after failing, and lose the drive to continue.

Crystal Kiekel, the director of the Center for Academic Success and co-chair of the Student Success committee, emphasized that math is something to work with students to enable their success.

“Mathematics is one of the major barriers to student success,” said Kiekel. “Not in Pierce, not in California, but nationally.”

Only 23 percent of students who begin in Math 115 ever finish the rest of their math courses all the way through, according to Kiekel.

“[Math] is locking 80 percent of these students from graduation and transfer,” Kiekel said. “That’s not okay.”

As a solution, the Math acceleration programs – ‘Algebra Success At Pierce’ (ASAP) and Statway – were created to aid students of various degree goals by giving them the help and resources they need to complete their math education.

“What we are doing here at Pierce is changing the culture to allow students to succeed and complete their degrees,” said Bob Martinez, co-chair of the Student Success Committee and chair of the Mathematics department.

The programs have proven to be successful – a single semester of ASAP boosted the success rate from 23 percent to 66 percent, while the pilot program for Statway has increased it to 42.6 percent, according to Kiekel.

Pierce’s success aside, the normal meeting functions were carried out after a thorough few presentations, discussing budget use and other necessities as normal.