University of South Alabama

Mobile, AL | state research university | 15,500+ students

Product: MyLab Math in MyLabsPlus
Course: Intermediate Algebra
Method: Hybrid — meets two times per week in lecture and lab + 100 additional minutes per week in lab

Intermediate Algebra at University of South Alabama (South) is a three-credit-hour course that satisfies the math requirements for conditional freshmen with an appropriate math placement score (60–69) or students who place into it with a Math ACT of 19–21 and need to satisfy the prerequisite for Precalculus Algebra. The class meets two times per week with split time between lecture and the Math Technology Lab. Students are required to spend an additional 100 minutes per week in the math lab working on homework or taking quizzes and tests. In order to facilitate mastery learning, South uses the prerequisites function in MyLab™ Math.

“I never learned math as quickly as I did with this software. It took me from being a C student in math to an A+ student.”

—Student, University of South Alabama

How did they use prerequisites?

Using the prerequisites function in MyLab Math, the course requires students to score at least 90 percent on the homework assignments in order to take the associated MyLab Math quizzes. Students who do not score at least 90 percent on the homework earn zero percent on the associated quiz. Students take the quizzes in the lab and must complete them to a minimum of 70 percent by the assigned date in order for the associated MyLab Math test to open. This is also enabled through the prerequisites function in MyLab. Students may attempt quizzes up to seven times, and the highest score is recorded. Students who do not achieve 70 percent mastery after taking a quiz seven times receive mandatory instructor intervention.

The results

The school has attained its redesign goal of increasing Intermediate Algebra success rates. The success rate has steadily risen from 49 percent in Fall 2010, the semester before the MyLabsPlus implementation, to 63 percent in Fall 2013 (figure 1).

Intermediate Algebra pass rates before and after MyLab Math

Figure 1. Pass Rates in Intermediate Algebra Before MyLabsPlus, Fall 2010 (n=401); and After MyLabsPlus, Fall 2013 (n=404)

Figure 1. Pass Rates in Intermediate Algebra Before MyLabsPlus, Fall 2010 (n=401); and After MyLabsPlus, Fall 2013 (n=404)

“Making the course mastery based through prerequisites, adding in test deadlines, and implementing clickers and class activities has turned our redesign around, and the results show it.”

—Leslie Whiston, Instructor, University of South Alabama