GM pilots college readiness course for students challenged by math

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Green Mountain High students who may be less than comfortable with math but need math proficiency for college or careers will have a new option in the fall as the school participates in a pilot program sponsored by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp.

VSAC, the Vermont State Colleges System and the Vermont Agency of Education have teamed up to create the new math course so that students will leave high school with the math skills to begin college and career training programs.

An informational poster prepared by VSAC. Click to enlarge.

Named Essential Math for College and Careers (ECM2) the program was developed by high school and college math teachers using “Math Ready” by the Southern Regional Education Board as a jumping off point. Among the high school teachers working on the program was GM’s Julie Parah, who told The Telegraph that the target audience for the course are juniors and seniors whose math proficiency falls below certain benchmarks and who will likely need remedial math work when they get to college.

In many colleges, such remedial courses cost money but do not come with credits toward a degree. In addition to bypassing the remedial course, by successfully completing ECM2, a student will not even have to take a test to prove math competency at Castleton University, the Community College of Vermont, Northern Vermont University – Johnson and Lyndon or Vermont Technical College.

According to Parah, the class won’t be structured like a traditional math class and the emphasis will be as much on “mathematical thinking” as on problem solving.

Parah said the course was designed around 16 math concepts that the group of secondary school and college teachers agreed were “essential” for success in college. GM Principal Lauren Fierman stressed that the course will also set students up for success in their careers as well.

One section of about 20 students will be offered in the fall, but, according to Fierman, if demand is high enough, a second section could be added.

In addition to Green Mountain, the course will also be offered at Richford Junior/Senior High School, Springfield High School and Stowe High School in the fall. It will eventually be made available to all high schools in Vermont.

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