Guilford Technical Community College

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

Product: MyLab Math in MyLabsPlus
Course: Quantitative Literacy
Delivery method: Face to face and hybrid
Study Plan usage: Companion Study Plan

Instructor Mike Sutton, whose background is in instructional design, felt good about his teaching of Quant Lit for non-STEM majors, but sensed that students were just going through the motions without thinking about why what they did worked.

Sutton is a big believer in learning through assessment, so when MyLab™ Math released the Companion Study Plan and its associated Quiz Me assessments, he decided to implement the new features to help students learn the content more deeply, allow prepared students to help underprepared classmates, assess students multiple times with time between assessments, and increase student enjoyment and a feeling of competency in the course.

“While students may not have liked how many quizzes they had to take or the parameters I set, especially in Fall 2016, they still acknowledge that, in the end, the course structure helped them and was good for them. That’s a win for me.”

—Mike Sutton, Instructor, Guilford Technical Community College

How did they use the Study Plan?

Every section starts with a concept quiz associated with Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Performance on the concept quiz informs the Companion Study Plan in MyLab; then students work in the Companion Study Plan and complete assigned Quiz Me assessments. Students must earn 100% on the short concept quiz and master the associated Study Plan before attempting a skills quiz.

Once students complete the Quiz Me assessments to Sutton’s required 87%, they can take that section’s skills quiz and then move on to the next section’s concept quiz. Every two or three sections, Sutton also assigns a small 12–14 question summary quiz on SLOs from previous sections, with two questions per SLO. If they score below 50% on an SLO, they must re-demonstrate mastery of the SLO by passing the associated Quiz Me with 87% before they can retake the summary quiz.

The results

Before the Companion Study Plan was required, Sutton’s course pass rate was 56%, compared to a rate of 70% after the implementation — a 14 percentage point increase. Students who missed nine or fewer Quiz Me assessments performed significantly better in every course performance metric. In a voluntary, end-of-semester student survey, 87% or more of responders had positive reactions to several questions about the course’s structure and the Companion Study Plan.

Comparison of pass rates

Figure 1. Comparison of Pass Rates Before and After Companion Study Plan Implementation, Before: Spring 2013 (n=52); After: Fall 2016–Spring 2017 (n=81)

“I do try to enjoy math. I really have not been able to understand it so well until this class. I am very surprised at how well I’ve been able to understand this class because in the past I have struggled with math.”

—Student, Guilford Technical Community College