Guilford Technical Community College

Jamestown, NC | community college | 13,600+ students

Product: MyLab Math in MyLabsPlus
Course: Developmental Math sequence
Method: Emporium — scheduled meeting times, flexible pacing, mastery based

In an effort to increase active reading, critical thinking, and personal responsibility for student learning, Susan Barbitta and her colleagues adopted MyLab™ Math in MyLabsPlus™ and created a modular, mastery-based developmental math course where students could work at their own pace.

In order to run the course, Guilford Tech extensively utilizes the prerequisites function and Personalized Homework, and they further personalize the experience for students by adding Instructor Tips for certain problems.

“The mastery approach, reinforced by regular testing, increases the cumulative learning effect from module to module. As a result, students are more successful in subsequent math courses.”

—Susan Barbitta, Developmental Math Instructor, Guilford Technical Community College

How did they use prerequisites?

Students start each module with a diagnostic test and through the prerequisite function must earn an 85 percent to move directly on to the next module. If they score lower than 85 percent, they work through the module.

By utilizing the Personalized Homework feature in MyLab Math, course instructors allow students to only work on learning objectives that they didn’t master on the diagnostic test. However, prerequisites require students to earn 100 percent on that Personalized Homework before they can move on to the next section.

Prerequisites are also set on quizzes (students must earn a minimum of 85 percent before they can move forward in the module or else they are required to repeat the section), review homework assignments (100 percent is required before moving on), and the module test (80 percent minimum score in order to move on to the next module). If they score below an 80 percent, prerequisites require them to complete a Personalized Homework to 100 percent before they can retake it. After four unsuccessful attempts on the module test, a student must rework the entire module.

The results

Developmental math success rates have steadily increased with the MyLab redesign. Intermediate Algebra success rates, for example, increased from 62 percent in Spring 2011 to 87 percent in Summer 2012 (figure 1).

Semester pass rates based on course design

Figure 1. Semester Pass Rates Based on Course Design, Spring 2011–Summer 2012 (n=7,000)