Opinion: Statway can help students struggling in math


Mary-Ann Myers

The quadratic formula, pictured, is essential in solving quadratic equations. It is a prominent focus of study for students enrolled in Math 120.

Mary-Ann Myers and Mary Ann Myers

In my past couple years at American River College, I can’t count how many students I’ve met that tell me how how hard the Math 120 class is on campus.

A better way for students who have trouble passing Math 120 to move on in their education would be to take Statway classes.

Whether it’s Math 100 or Math 120 that students are having trouble with, what is it about these classes that make them so challenging?

A counselor on campus revealed to me that she has ran into many students that have had trouble with Math 120.

One could assume that it is the older, returning students that are coming back to school, having trouble with these classes.

However, the counselor told me she’s had enrolled students fresh out of high school report the difficulty of passing these classes successfully.

Passing these math courses are essential. What does success entail?

According to a tutor at the Learning Center, a student will ideally devote 24 hours or more a week to their math course to ensure optimal success.

Assuming that, where do students find the time to study for other classes?

A majority of students will already have a basic understanding of algebra, geometry and calculus before entering college.

However, not all students will find themselves fully grasping the what they learned in high school until they reach the big leagues of college. A young woman who is in her first semester at ARC told me that she did not start to “get it” until she took Math 120.

All of the sudden, it clicked in her brain. Well, good for her, but that does not apply to everyone?

It’s understood that teachers in college have a certain curriculum to go by and I hear from many students that the math teacher goes way too fast in his or her explanations. They do not effectively break down the equations to basics.

A huge culprit is the catch 22 that professors find themselves in: they can’t slow down, as they only have a certain amount of time in each class. They have a window of time to teach the curriculum and as a result the students get frustrated because we don’t remember the equations.

For those of us who have worked in a job, did you use algebra in the workplace?

There are many students who are coming back to school to upgrade their level of education, including veterans that are enrolled and haven’t seen an equation since high school.

Learning math is like stacking building blocks. You have to put one block on top of another to steadily to get to the top.

So, students, if you want to pass Math 100, 120, statistics or any other math subject, don’t have a life.

Seriously, if you take a math course, forget about another class, because that will take too much of your time.

Don’t forget you have to practice those equations until you can do it in your sleep.

If you are a working student, don’t take math online. It is better for you to be in a class and get first-hand instructions.

Does this sound hopeless? Maybe we just should bite the bullet and keep on trying to pass Math 120. Nevertheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  There is Math Statway.

What is Statway? Michelle Brock, a professor of mathematics and statistics, started these courses in ARC as a two semester alternative to the traditional three semester sequence required to complete Elementary Statistics.

Algebra and Statistics are taught as an integrated course and students will work with real-world problems in a cooperative group setting.

Students that benefit most from this program are the ones who want to complete the UC and CSU transfer requirements in two semesters instead of three.

Students who have successfully completed a college pre-algebra course should also consider this option, not to mention majors in liberal arts and humanities or students who can’t get past Math 120.

Statway is not designed for Science, Math, Engineering, Technology, Business or any major requiring a specific math course other than statistics.

Allied health majors should consult with a counsellor beforehand, as Statway is not designed for any major requiring a specific math course other than Statistics.

Credit is due to American River College for providing so many opportunities for students to be tutored. We have the Beacon tutors, DSP&S peer coaching, Learning Center tutors and EOP&S tutors not to mention the Mesa group.

As the students who are not math majors lay down their heads on their pillows after a hard day of busting fractions and memorizing equations, the question comes up – do we really need algebra to get a job?

I don’t think so, but we need it to get to the next level of our education.

Thank God for Math Statway.

Maybe now we the students will make it to the next level.