In anticipation of the upcoming 2017 AMATYC conference, Dr. Nolting recently reached out to past-president Nancy Sattler for an in-depth conversation about many of the issues that will no doubt dominate proceedings come November. The following post contains the bulk of this conversation, drawn from an email exchange last month. Enjoy!

I have worked as an adjunct faculty member at Terra Community College in Fremont, then a full time teacher, then department head for mathematics and science, a curriculum chair, then association dean, and then dean of Arts & Sciences and Business and later dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services. I began teaching part-time in 1983 and have taught continuously since then.

I have taught a variety of mathematics courses during those 34 years but have primarily taught developmental mathematics. I began teaching online back in the 90’s when I went into administration so I could continue to teach at Terra. Ten years ago, I began teaching at Walden University in their Mathematics Education Program. I am the lead faculty for two classes – Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment, and the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics.

I helped start the Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition and serve as its Treasurer. I also was a member of Ohio’s Educator Leader Cadre that was in existence for a number of years. Our job was to promote the Common Core Standards. I took part in national assessment meetings as well as state and local meetings.

I attended my first AMATYC Conference in Seattle in 1991. I presented the results of my Thesis for my Master’s degree which was on Placement Testing. I went to the Placement and Assessment Committee meeting that year and two years later became chair of that committee. After chairing that committee for three terms, I chaired the distance learning Task Force for AMATYC and then went on to become chair of the Distance Learning Committee. Soon after, I began Treasurer of AMATYC for two terms, then vice president of the Midwest region, and then was elected president-elect.

In December, I will conclude 12 years on the Executive Board of AMATYC. I have co-chaired the committee to revise the AMATYC Standards and am pleased that the delegate assembly will be voting on the document in November in San Diego.

The Dana Center has worked with many states, including my own state, to create alternative pathways recognizing that not all students will have a STEM career. The Carnegie Center’s Math Pathways program with Statway and Quantway are quite similar to the Dana Center’s.

Some states are using assessment results to place students in a first year credit course, but require that they take some type of bridge course in addition to the credit course. It might be that a student will take a 3 credit hour college algebra course but enroll in a five hour course. The extra two hours are used for “just in time” mathematics.

Many schools across the nation are changing the mathematics requirement to a quantitative literacy course for non-STEM majors. It is no longer college algebra for all. Three years ago, in November of 2014, the AMATYC delegate assembly passed a position statement that prerequisite courses other than intermediate algebra can adequately prepare students for courses of study that do not lead to calculus.

Now students throughout the nation have options of statistics or quantitative literature for their first credit course in mathematics and sometimes this is the only course that they are required to take.

The Ohio Mathematics Initiative (OMI) is a collaborative effort of mathematics faculty members from the state’s public colleges and universities and Ohio high schools that is revisiting and rethinking mathematics courses and curricula and the relationship of mathematics to other disciplines.

One catalyst for the initiative is the need to better align course options to students’ academic and career goals. In addition, OMI is a response to the establishment of Ohio’s Uniform Statewide Standards for Remediation-Free Status, which guarantees placement into college credit-bearing courses for all Ohio students achieving at or above a benchmark assessment score and matriculating to an Ohio public college or university.

Ohio has recognized that much of 21st-century science and engineering is going to be built on a mathematical foundation. Yet, the reach of the quantitative sciences doesn’t stop there. They are fueling innovation and discovery in many areas including Medicine, manufacturing, transportation, communication, finance and other economic enterprises depending on the mathematical sciences, which consist of mathematics, statistics, operations research and theoretical computer science.

Some schools mandate the type of redesign that is going to be used at certain institutions. I was a dean for a good number of years, and I recognize that teachers know their students best and should be the ones to decide any redesign. I do not prefer a top down approach, but rather collaborative discussion to determine what is best for the students and their success. Some students are self-directed learners and can work independently while others need a great deal of hand-holding and support. What works for one, does not work for all. Students are individuals who learn differently. Some are visual learners, others prefer to read/write while others are auditory learners or kinesthetic learners. There is no “one size fits all." Some students who are highly motivated can take an accelerated course while others will be discouraged and drop out.

Some schools are now offering college level courses adding on a bridge course to help students fill in the missing gaps. Years ago, when I first began teaching, we used to offer a one credit hour course in decimals and a one credit hour course in fractions. Students would take a placement test and part of the test concentrated on decimals, and part on fractions. If students earned less than a 70% on one of these areas, but did well in the algebra portion of the placement test, they would enroll in a credit course but also take a one credit hour course in either decimals or fractions. My college discontinued this policy when we switched to the ASSET test because the scores were not broken down by decimals, fractions, whole numbers, and algebra. To me what is being done now is similar to what we did then with a great deal of success. I am not sure how the co-requisite idea will work now because it is not focused on one particular area. Institutions need to keep copious data to determine the effectiveness of this approach.

Technology has helped students receive tutoring at a time that is convenient for them. According to a recent survey published in Campus Technology, three out of four college and university students think technology has had a positive impact on their academic success. Their preferred tech tools are laptops and smartphones, and they look to their institutions to provide the software applications and resources they need. And most are satisfied with the variety of IT resources available to them.

Those findings and more came out of a SurveyMonkey Audience study of 601 U.S. adults ages 18–44 who are currently enrolled as students in two-year, four-year or graduate school programs. The survey was conducted from Sept. 9–11, 2017; respondents came from an online SurveyMonkey Contribute panel of people who volunteer to complete SurveyMonkey surveys each month in return for charitable incentives.

The survey revealed a wealth of insights into students' use of computing devices, attitude toward technology and awareness of campus resources. More than half (54 percent) of students surveyed bring at least two internet-connected devices with them to campus. Another 22 percent bring three to four devices.

Nearly all students (92 percent) use smartphones on campus; 72 percent use laptops, 23 percent use tablets. Notably, 53 percent of respondents took the survey on a mobile device (iOS or Android phone/tablet).

The majority of students (66 percent) said their overall technology experience at school has been excellent or good. What's more, most students (75 percent) said technology has had a significantly positive or positive impact on their academic success. Just 3 percent said the opposite.

When students were asked what technology issues have a negative impact on their academic success, they most frequently cited connectivity issues and internet access on campus. About one in five students (21 percent) rate their school's wireless network coverage as merely "fair or poor." (Fifty-five called the WiFi good or excellent.)

Out of all students who bring at least two devices with them to campus, 76 percent said their laptops contribute most to their academic success; 40 percent thought their smartphones were most important to their studies. Only 12 percent cited tablets, and 9 percent cited desktop computers. However, 24 percent of students said laptops are banned from one or more of their classes, while 38 percent are restricted from using smartphones.

I believe teachers should use the technology, not ban it. SMART phones can be used to take polls in class. Computers and/or SMART phones can be used to access the Internet and allow students to use real world data in mathematical problems. We need to make the technology work for us in the classroom.

The word “PROWESS” references extraordinary ability as well as distinguished bravery. AMATYC has created four pillars of PROWESS as an innovative way to enhance students’ mathematical ability and bravery through recommendations for continuous improvement of college teaching in the first two years of college. These pillars are:

PR proficiency

OW ownership

E engagement

SS student success

This document does not only introduce the concept of the four pillars of PROWESS, but also the importance of the role of stakeholders and of research specifically targeted for mathematics education in the first two-years of college.

AMATYC is seeking input on the document until December 31. Feedback for the document can be given at www.amatyc.org/IMPACT

The document will be fine-tuned during the first few months of 2018. It will be printed and available to our members who attend our 2018 conference in Orlando. We will have an online version and hope to have a web-enhanced version of the document that will offer help to classroom teachers on implementing the suggestions of AMATYC IMPACT.

I am also pleased to tell you that AMATYC has created a “Mathematics Standards in the First Two Years of College” committee which will focus on promoting the AMATYC standards, as well as maintaining the digital products to support those standards. The goals of this committee are 1) to establish and implement a marketing campaign including but not limited to a series of regularized activities to promote widespread implementation of the standards in the first two years of college mathematics, 2) to establish and implement the web presence for the standards, 3) to submit articles centered on the standards for the AMATYC News and the MATHAMATYC Educator at least once a year, 4) to establish and implement a process of regular review of the standards in the same manner as the position statements are reviewed regularly, 5) to ensure consistency among the standards and other AMATYC documents, and 6) promote the standards beyond AMATYC members.

AMATYC will be seeking grants to enable us to provide standards-based professional development opportunities for our members

The planning team has surveyed past attendees and asked them what information they have used from the 2013 and 2016 summits. The top answer (59%) said that they used information that they learned about Modes for instruction (Alternate delivery, hybrid, distance learning, face-to-face). 43% mentioned accelerated learning and 41% mentioned study skills. When asked what type of information they would like to see at the next summit, 62% listed assessment of redesign, while 56% mentioned that they would like to learn more about pathways.

We are looking at the data to determine where we should place the emphasis, and we are having a panel discussion at the AMATYC San Diego conference this fall.

AMATYC is happy to have you, Annette Cook from NADE, Julie Phelps from both AMATYC and the MAA, and Paul Wilhite, who chairs AMATYC’s Developmental Mathematics Committee. Participants have the opportunity to dialogue, discuss, engage, and question the four of you national leaders in the field of developmental mathematics education. The plan is to discuss outcomes from the National Math Summit 2016 and share preparations for the National Math Summit in 2018 in Orlando.

Because the focus of the summit is on pathways, credit courses will be discussed at the summit. The planning committee will discuss modifying the name so that college administrators realize that the summit is not just about developmental education.

I have been involved with TPSE Math - Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics, sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. The aim of TPSE is to effect constructive change in mathematics education at U.S. community colleges, 4-year colleges and research universities.

The vision of TPSE is: Post-secondary education in mathematics will enable any student, regardless of his or her chosen program of study, to develop the mathematical knowledge and skills necessary for productive engagement in society and in the workplace. Its mission is to facilitate an inclusive movement to strengthen post-secondary education in mathematics by working closely with--and mobilizing when necessary--faculty leaders, university administrations, membership associations, and relevant disciplinary societies in the pursuit of mathematically rich and relevant education for all students, whatever their chosen field of study. TPSE Math will identify innovative practices where they exist, advocate for innovation where they do not, and work with and through partners to implement and scale effective practices.

I am proud to be part of this initiative as we work together to make changes in the way mathematics is taught.

We need to teach our students the four C’s of 21st-century learning that have been identified by the United States-based Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) as the most important skills required for 21st century education: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

The message that I would like to leave your blog readers is “be a collaborator and a life-long learner.” The Internet makes the world a much smaller place. We can meet Face-to-Face or electronically. We can share information through Google Docs, we can Skype or FaceTime to have discussions with our students and with our colleagues. I have spent the last two years working with a great group of AMATYC members to create our third standards documents. Most of the collaborative work has been done through Google Docs and Zoom meetings. It is easy to collaborate and learn from one another. All it takes is making it a priority. I believe that collaboration is key – we all need to work together for student success.

My 96-year-old mother told me that she learns something new every day. I also try to learn something new each day and encourage all teachers to do the same. Through life-long learning and collaboration we can make a difference in the lives of our students.

Hello readers! Today, we are proud to present Dr. Nolting's interview with Dr. Julie Phelps. Phelps is an award-winning math professor at Valencia College. At different points in her career, she has worked with or assisted several national math organizations, including: AMATYC, the Dana Center, Achieving the Dream, and the Carnegie Foundation.

Dr. Nolting and Dr. Phelps discuss numerous topics, including math redesign, the role national math organizations play in student success, and the creation of the first National Math Summit. Most prominently, Phelps discusses her belief that motivation is central to student success and that modern math instructors must make students understand the real-world value of the math they learn in class. Enjoy!

Dr. Nolting and Dr. Phelps discuss numerous topics, including math redesign, the role national math organizations play in student success, and the creation of the first National Math Summit. Most prominently, Phelps discusses her belief that motivation is central to student success and that modern math instructors must make students understand the real-world value of the math they learn in class. Enjoy!

When at community college, I tutored people from both of my networks: from the orchestra and from the tennis team. My college algebra teacher asked me, “Have you ever thought about teaching or tutoring at college?” I said, “You can get a job doing that?” And he told me, “Yes, a

I grew so much more during community college than I had when I was younger; I started realizing the direction I wanted to go and that my ability to explain math to others was the best way for me to get there. I then went off to Florida Southern College where I was a math major. I taught for a few years after I graduated, and that was a really good experience. I did an internship at two different high schools, and anytime I was with a class full of students, I was always impressed by the diversity. I kept thinking about how the stories of these students had yet to be written—every student was an individual, and I remember thinking about where they were going to end up was really cool. I couldn’t wait to find out more.

I then taught high school for three years, and in my first year I was asked to present high school projects for high school students at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994. This was a unique experience because I was in my early-twenties and people were coming up to me after my presentation asking about where I had found the activities I had talked about. This was funny, because I had really just looked around to figure out what students were actually interested in—where they saw algebra and geometry in real life.

Then I decided to go back to graduate school. I got my master’s in math, and I won a couple of teaching awards. I won an Athlete Selected Choice Teacher award as a teaching assistant after athletes at the University of Central Florida said that I had been one of the motivating factors for helping them earn good grades. I also won a graduate assistant teaching award at UCF, then an adjunct teaching award that next year at Valencia College.

In 2005, I got my doctoral degree in education and curriculum instruction, with a specialty in community college education and leadership.

I’m also working with the Math Association of America on a document they are writing. It’s their instructional practice guide and it’s to help new teachers figure out teaching practices. The document focuses on classroom practices, curriculum design and assessment.

I’ve also worked with Achieving the Dream for many years. I was the director at Valencia College between 2005 and 2009. We are still known as a leader college. Our practices involved learning communities, where we decided to put developmental math within a student success course, and we used supplemental instruction, which we called “supplemental learning.” In order to have true ownership at an institution, faculty need to be really involved in conversations about changing initiatives. The faculty didn’t like the title, “supplemental instruction,” because they wanted it to directly address learning as opposed to instruction. We did this because of faculty input, and I believe that is why our program is just as successful now as it was when we started it in 2000-2001.

While at AMATYC, I was also the liaison to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, as well as to the Charles A. Dana Center—so I was a technical assistant adviser to both organizations, working on math redesign. Several initiatives came out of these organizations—notably Statway and Quantway. The Dana Center, after further conversations at AMATYC panels, also [initiated] the new Mathways project.

You were really passionate about it.

Another person stated how much it had impacted her, and we asked her to be a mentor and a design tech. She is at a four-year college, and she researches developmental math, and she has been a part of AMATYC for as long as I can remember. Her research is on self-efficacy, and I recently wrote a paper with her. She talks about how she can influence future educators and help people make an administrative impact. She says that a lot of teachers don’t know the research behind learning. They are math majors and haven’t taken education courses. She believes [the summits] influence those at universities that focus on teaching to help people understand the large changes that are happening in the nation, and gives [people like her] a chance to influence future educators.

As for me, yes, I was a member of the group in this, but it really gave me a new network of connections. As you know, Paul, around the time of the first summit, our state was passing a law, Bill 1720. The law stated that any student who started and finished at a Florida high school no longer had to take a placement exam and could start in college-level courses. That network of people from the summit gave me an opportunity to reach out to other experts. It is hard to be a prophet in your own land; in Florida, I am just Julie from Valencia College. But I could reach out to you, to Uri Treisman (executive director of the Dana Center), to Rikki Blair (past-president of AMATYC), and grab research papers, and say, “Here is what people are saying nationally about creating appropriate pathways for students to get through college and earn a degree in a meaningful fashion.” Does this mean that every student must take intermediate algebra? I think not, but the summit allowed us to have rich conversation because of the connections we made.

Those are just three examples. I could keep going forever.

I think that with all the redesigns, the other thing that is really cool, is that we are finally getting research that deserves attention at the community college level. People are paying attention to it. I do also believe that community college faculty and people who love community colleges and the students who need us the most, they are getting involved now in the research. We have seen that at AMATYC, having a research committee that has grown significantly since the first math summit in 2013. Since then, I can say that that committee has quadrupled in membership. Research institutions are partnering with community colleges to get a better sense of learners at community colleges, particularly math learners and developmental learners.

I really do think we are finding some things that are working. Have we found a silver bullet? No.

I was watching

He said that curiosity needs to be stoked. I love that idea, because with math particularly, it is often all about step one, step two, step three—where is the curiosity in that? How do we motivate students to ask the right questions? Innovations only happen when people think outside the box and think bigger. That is really where my gut feeling is. To have a society of individuals, we need to figure out ways to get students to start asking questions again.

I always think about how when you are in first grade, you are like Macaulay Culkin in the movie

Math is

There is a message on this that I learned in the fifth grade, a poem, actually. I have students who walk in and literally say, “I can’t do this.” I think that mindset is a big piece of the puzzle, so I always go back to this poem. I know it as “The Winner,” but apparently it is known as many other things across the Internet. I’ll just do three verses of it:

If you think you’re beaten, you are.

If you think dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain, you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost.

For out of the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the fellow who thinks he can.

That to me is the message students need to hear. They need to be their own cheerleader, their own motivator. If they aren’t, we need to find a way to give them confidence, that ability, that structure, that belief.

I also just finished reading Jo Boaler’s fantastic Mathematical Mindsets book again. These things that we are talking about that seem intangible in some ways, people are starting to be able to put their finger on it, putting into words answers to questions like: what is the mathematical mindset, what does building self-efficacy look like, how do you make a student see the value of mathematics?

Some people call this the science of learning. Like you said, you’ve been doing this for years—but now there are more people paying attention to it and researching it. It is an exciting time to be a part of this.

I’d like to refer back to what you said about modular and emporium models. Many national organizations are openly saying that this is not the best way to teach students. So it is interesting to see that we are still mentioning them. I think it does still work for some classes that are extremely skills based, but if you are learning skills in the absence of where they are actually used, are you really learning? That is my main question. I don’t want to criticize any particular curriculum, but if students don’t attach value to where they are going to use math, then are they truly learning these skills? Or are they just memorizing them for a moment? There are a lot of discussions to be had, and I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination that we are done researching, here.

Moving on, I’m wondering how you envision the future of developmental education—especially now that first-credit math courses are now directly integrating developmental aspects. What do you think will happen in this regard, and what would you like to happen?

I have students that have taken and passed calculus, but because they didn’t have to take a placement test, they were placed into intermediate algebra (because they chose to do so). Then I have students who chose not to take a placement test, and they haven’t taken a math class in two years. Now they are taking a math class, and without a calculator, they can’t effectively add, subtract, multiply, or divide.

My job, and I think this is how I envision curriculum in general, is to get all these students to

Study skills are also important. Getting students to realize that studying math is different than studying poetry is critical. Math study skills and time management are incredibly important. I’ve really enjoyed studying the effects of mandatory supplemental instruction. This organically embeds math study skills.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to train tutors and supplemental instructors in motivational theory and study strategies in addition to content. Content is only one part of their job. They need to be able to motivate students, help them figure out how they learn, and assist them accordingly. Students need to feel connected to the content in order to figure out the direction in which it will be applied.

So what I am saying is: always try to learn from your students!

Hello readers! A lot of exciting and interesting things are going on right now in the world of college mathematics. With this in mind, we thought we'd share links to a few recent news articles that caught our attention.

"Award-Winning Documentary Series Explores Why Math Matters" (Penn State News)

The Pennsylvania College of Technology (at Penn State) is set to release an interesting documentary this Fall about the real-world applications of mathematics. Entitled,*Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters*, the film includes an appearance from Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, who describes how to better market math-based careers to college students.

"Several Departments at USU Remove MATH 1050 as a Degree Requirement" (Utah Statesman)"

In recent months, we have kept track of the changes major universities are making to their math curriculum regarding developmental math and degree requirements. Here is yet another story on the subject from a college newspaper—this time at Utah State University.

"Adult Education Classes Teach Reading and Math to Thousands for Free--including Adults with Diplomas" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch reports on a fascinating adult education initiative intended to help former students pass high school equivalency exams. Free of cost, the program also takes on struggling high school graduates who do not want to pay for remedial classes at community colleges.

]]>"Award-Winning Documentary Series Explores Why Math Matters" (Penn State News)

The Pennsylvania College of Technology (at Penn State) is set to release an interesting documentary this Fall about the real-world applications of mathematics. Entitled,

"Several Departments at USU Remove MATH 1050 as a Degree Requirement" (Utah Statesman)"

In recent months, we have kept track of the changes major universities are making to their math curriculum regarding developmental math and degree requirements. Here is yet another story on the subject from a college newspaper—this time at Utah State University.

"Adult Education Classes Teach Reading and Math to Thousands for Free--including Adults with Diplomas" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch reports on a fascinating adult education initiative intended to help former students pass high school equivalency exams. Free of cost, the program also takes on struggling high school graduates who do not want to pay for remedial classes at community colleges.

As a part of an overall effort to augment and diversify his consulting work, Dr. Nolting often takes time out of his busy schedule to keep up with recent journal scholarship and revisit classic articles, which have been of use to him in the past. In this spirit, a few months ago, he returned to a classic 2005 entry from Alice Y. Kolb and David A. Kolb in *Academy of Management Learning & Education*, which brilliantly describes the ins and outs of experiential learning.

Calling for the use of learning style assessments, the authors encourage teachers to establish “learning spaces” capable of servings students who prefer any one of four major learning styles (Concrete Experience, Active Experimentation, Reflective Observation, and Abstract Conceptualization). This goal resulted in one of the most famous extant learning styles surveys.

During a recent training seminar at Indian River State College, it struck Dr. Nolting just how well this research gels with the math-specific learning styles and modalities he describes in his own research and consulting. This considered, he wanted to share a few thoughts on the importance of educating tutors and professors on how learning styles affect learning in the classroom, tutoring centers, and beyond.

"I cannot stress enough," Dr. Nolting says,

Calling for the use of learning style assessments, the authors encourage teachers to establish “learning spaces” capable of servings students who prefer any one of four major learning styles (Concrete Experience, Active Experimentation, Reflective Observation, and Abstract Conceptualization). This goal resulted in one of the most famous extant learning styles surveys.

During a recent training seminar at Indian River State College, it struck Dr. Nolting just how well this research gels with the math-specific learning styles and modalities he describes in his own research and consulting. This considered, he wanted to share a few thoughts on the importance of educating tutors and professors on how learning styles affect learning in the classroom, tutoring centers, and beyond.

"I cannot stress enough," Dr. Nolting says,

how important it is to help students and faculty understand the concepts of learning styles and how they affect math learning; especially in the era of math redesigns. I see this more and more as I travel the country.

Just two weeks ago, I was conducting a professional tutor and math instructor training seminar at Indian River State College in Florida. Specifically, I was there to help them integrate learning styles and study skills into their new tutor labs. The college understands that learning styles are important, and they shrewdly require their students to take a learning styles inventory. Still, they wanted to train their staff on how to best use this information to benefit their students.

The training mostly involved modality and cognitive styles. Modality styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, which all involve figuring out the best mode to input new information. Cognitive styles are Innovative, Analytic, Common Sense, and Dynamic (styles similar to those listed in the article above: Reflective, Abstract, Concrete, Active). These styles all indicate how information is cognitively processed once it is inputted through modality styles.

After completing the workshop, feedback demonstrated that most of the professional tutors and professors had not fully understood the full range of learning styles before receiving training, nor had they understood how to tutor each student according to his or her preferred way of learning. During the training sessions, they realized how important it is to make sure students understand their best learning styles and obtain the expertise needed to apply these styles outside of the classroom.

Learning styles training helps tutors improve effectiveness and efficiency. For faculty, it helps improve instruction, as well as their students’ ability to learn independently. Remember, you do not have to teach/tutor according toalllearning stylesallthe time—just make sure to occasionally use most of them over the course of the semester. This will allow students to figure out how they best learn mathematics and assist them in using multiple input styles and cognitive styles as they do their homework or prepare for tests.

For more, please read the original article, which is available at JSTOR.

Alice Y. Kolb and David A. Kolb,*Academy of Management Learning & Education* Vol.4 No.2 (Jun. 2005) pp 193-212)

]]>Alice Y. Kolb and David A. Kolb,

Following up on last week’s post about the physical pain some students feel when anticipating a math class or math test, we thought we’d pass along another fascinating study—this one from earlier this year. A team of psychologists from the University of Chicago recently teamed up with the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development to explore the “global phenomenon” of math anxiety. Their results are very much in line with Dr. Nolting’s work and offer a fresh take on an issue that grows increasingly relevant with every passing year. We strongly encourage you to read the entire article (available here).

The importance of this study—published in*Current Directions in Psychological Science*—cannot be overstated. As argued by the authors, math anxiety will only continue to grow in significance as multinational efforts steer entire generations toward STEM-based professions. This means that “the fear of apprehension about math" should be “considered when trying to increase math achievement, and in turn, STEM career success.”

Among other key takeaways, the authors demonstrate that childhood development plays a major role in math anxiety and that parental units often pass down their own math aversion to their children. The article also cites studies that show how math anxiety negatively affects math performance by “depleting working memory resources.” These difficulties are prevalent in*all* countries around the world—including those that highly value math achievement (particularly those in East Asia).

As for treating math anxiety, the authors suggest that “self-regulation, emotional control, and reappraisal of physiological threat responses hold promise.”

Dr. Nolting recently used the information in this article while training faculty and students at Miami Dade College in Peer Assistant Learning (Tutoring). His own thoughts on how its findings can be used on college campuses and particularly tutoring centers are as follows:

"PAL students (tutors) need to be sensitive to students with anxiety. Many STEM students have math anxiety, and tutors need to be able to provide suggestions on how to handle it. With this in mind, at Miami Dade, I taught PAL students about the two types of anxiety: emotional anxiety and worry anxiety. I trained them to help students with various anxiety reduction techniques (discussed in my Winning at Math textbook), as well as effective test-taking strategies. Students with extreme anxiety, of course, should be referred to a supervisor. Still, PAL students are capable of providing basic anxiety reduction techniques, test-taking strategies, and homework strategies even as they tutor students on content."

Again, we strongly recommend reading this entire study, which only confirms how important it is to equip math anxious students with the tools they need to overcome their struggles.

For more, see:*Current Directions in Psychological Science* 2017, Vol. 25 (1) pages 52-58

Authors: Alana E. Foley, Julianna B. Herts, Francesca Borgonovi, Sonia Guerrerio, Susan C. Levine, and Sian L. Beilock.

The importance of this study—published in

Among other key takeaways, the authors demonstrate that childhood development plays a major role in math anxiety and that parental units often pass down their own math aversion to their children. The article also cites studies that show how math anxiety negatively affects math performance by “depleting working memory resources.” These difficulties are prevalent in

As for treating math anxiety, the authors suggest that “self-regulation, emotional control, and reappraisal of physiological threat responses hold promise.”

Dr. Nolting recently used the information in this article while training faculty and students at Miami Dade College in Peer Assistant Learning (Tutoring). His own thoughts on how its findings can be used on college campuses and particularly tutoring centers are as follows:

"PAL students (tutors) need to be sensitive to students with anxiety. Many STEM students have math anxiety, and tutors need to be able to provide suggestions on how to handle it. With this in mind, at Miami Dade, I taught PAL students about the two types of anxiety: emotional anxiety and worry anxiety. I trained them to help students with various anxiety reduction techniques (discussed in my Winning at Math textbook), as well as effective test-taking strategies. Students with extreme anxiety, of course, should be referred to a supervisor. Still, PAL students are capable of providing basic anxiety reduction techniques, test-taking strategies, and homework strategies even as they tutor students on content."

Again, we strongly recommend reading this entire study, which only confirms how important it is to equip math anxious students with the tools they need to overcome their struggles.

For more, see:

Authors: Alana E. Foley, Julianna B. Herts, Francesca Borgonovi, Sonia Guerrerio, Susan C. Levine, and Sian L. Beilock.

Over the past few months, California officials have made waves in the national media with several systemic adjustments to the math requirements in their state colleges and community colleges. While we will reserve our own commentary on these changes for a later date, we thought it might be helpful to guide our readers to various news articles published throughout the summer, which detail what the state is doing to help non-STEM majors get through their general education requirements.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Cal State plans to drop placement exams in math and English, “as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall.” (link)

This elicited a strong reaction from readers. (link)

Here is another piece on the same subject, this one from the New York Times. (link)

One month earlier, the LA Times also reported that the chancellor of the California Community Colleges system aims to eliminate the intermediate algebra requirement for non-Stem majors. (link)

The Los Angeles Times reports that Cal State plans to drop placement exams in math and English, “as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall.” (link)

This elicited a strong reaction from readers. (link)

Here is another piece on the same subject, this one from the New York Times. (link)

One month earlier, the LA Times also reported that the chancellor of the California Community Colleges system aims to eliminate the intermediate algebra requirement for non-Stem majors. (link)

Last week, Dr. Nolting stumbled upon a fascinating article at *PLOS One* about the physical effects of math anxiety. He and the rest of us at Academic Success Press found it incredibly groundbreaking. In it, two cognitive scientists, Ian M. Lyons and Sian L. Beilock show that math anxiety triggers “activity in regions associated with visceral threat detection.” This causes students who suffer from high math anxiety to feel something close to “the experience of pain itself” when anticipating “math-related situations.”

Given the pedigree of the academics involved—Beilock is now the president of Columbia University’s Barnard College—the article carries a lot of weight. Its authors asked students to complete a word task and a math task while measuring neural activity using fMRI. During these tests, students with math anxiety showed upticks in activity in regions of the brain associated with pain perception.

Lyons and Beilock ultimately concluded that these results may “provide a potential neural mechanism to explain why [students with high math anxiety] tend to avoid math and math-related situations, which in turn can bias [them] away from taking math classes or even entire math-related career paths.”

Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

For more, the entire article is available at:

Lyons IM, Beilock SL (2012) When Math Hurts: Math Anxiety Predicts Pain Network Activation in Anticipation of Doing Math. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048076

Also, if you would like to know more about how physical environments affect human behavior, check out one of Sian Beilock's books (listed below). Both are well-received and serve as good introductions to the indelible link between the human body and mind.

]]>Given the pedigree of the academics involved—Beilock is now the president of Columbia University’s Barnard College—the article carries a lot of weight. Its authors asked students to complete a word task and a math task while measuring neural activity using fMRI. During these tests, students with math anxiety showed upticks in activity in regions of the brain associated with pain perception.

Lyons and Beilock ultimately concluded that these results may “provide a potential neural mechanism to explain why [students with high math anxiety] tend to avoid math and math-related situations, which in turn can bias [them] away from taking math classes or even entire math-related career paths.”

Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

For more, the entire article is available at:

Lyons IM, Beilock SL (2012) When Math Hurts: Math Anxiety Predicts Pain Network Activation in Anticipation of Doing Math. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048076

Also, if you would like to know more about how physical environments affect human behavior, check out one of Sian Beilock's books (listed below). Both are well-received and serve as good introductions to the indelible link between the human body and mind.

Good morning! Today, the ASP blog is proud to present Dr. Nolting's conversation with Leah Rineck. Rineck is a math professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. For the past few years, she has been a mainstay at AMATYC and NADE conferences, where she has spoken about her experiences organizing and teaching redesigned math courses. Rineck uses Dr. Nolting's study skills textbook in her course, and the two have worked together periodically in recent times. He figured it would benefit our audience to read a point-by-point breakdown of Rineck's innovative modular classroom design, which has an astounding pass rate of between 75 and 80 percent! Enjoy! |

and seeing you at conferences, but for our readers, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your mathematics background and your current position.

It is designed in a way that we define everything thing. So in the first module, we define what a number is, what types of numbers there are, how to plot things on number lines and coordinate graphs. But we also discuss complex numbers and how to plot them on complex grids; the properties of real numbers; exponents and exponent properties, even rational exponents. The second module is operation—with all these [same] topics. For instance, in our addition section, we add everything: integers, rational numbers, rational expressions, polynomials, complex numbers, and radical expressions—all at the same time. This way students actually see the connections with all of these topics. They have been taught so often “This is how you add a fraction” and “This is how you add a polynomial” and “this is how you add a rational expression” but they don’t see the continuity between those three things. We try to reinforce that continuity.

Then we also have a quantitative literacy pathway that also has a 75 percent pass rate. I think currently our algebra pathway, which is right above where I start, has about a sixty-five to seventy percent pass rate. My course is doing very well because it is very comprehensive. Students are required to be there—so the more math you do the better you get at it.

Then, for the math study skills component, I have them watch some videos on growth mindset at the beginning of the semester before they come into class. Once the class starts, I have them read your

So that’s how I flip the classroom. It takes a lot of time, a lot of prep-work. But I’ve found it is very successful for the students who really try. For the students who struggle, they are able to keep watching the videos and reading the book until they finally get what is going on—this versus us going really, really fast in class, where students are just copying what teachers are putting on the board.

So the study skills assessment is something I really push students to do—actually it is one of the requirements for students to take the first exam. This way, I know where students are coming from, and

I do have to tell you a little anecdote: One of my students from last spring came up to me. She was really excited at the beginning of the semester because I email students and call everybody, and before they come to class, they have to watch videos on the “growth mindset.”

When she came to class, she immediately said, “You get me!”

I said, “Thank you! I hope so!”

Then she started with the study skills book, and she comes in like two weeks later and she says, “You know…I’ve never taken notes in math class. I have taken notes in all my other classes, but never in math class. I started taking math notes like the way the book describes, and I’m really starting to get it!”

I looked at her and I said, “Huh! Do you think there is a correlation there?” And she laughed.

I don’t think students realize that there are specific things you have to do to be successful in math, and if you do them you can be successful.

As promised, here is Part Two of Dr. Nolting's conversation with David Arendale. In the previous installment, the pair discussed the history of developmental education and how it led to present practices. Part Two explores what developmental education might look like in the future. Enjoy!

I think we now understand that

A lot of our students are now being placed directly into credited courses. Do you think that these new first-year credited courses are becoming the new face of developmental education?

Let me give you a few examples of this. A lot of students have trouble keeping up with note-taking. They aren’t likely to raise their hands and say, “Excuse me professor, I can’t write fast enough.” This is difficult to do in front of fifty other people. So what do I do? I record all my class lectures. Everything I put up on the laptop screen—PowerPoint slides, video clips, etc.—is recorded and placed online. I also send them this material

Another one: I make an audio podcast where we actually review class sessions. I have students come in and provide summaries about a unit, and I provide upcoming exam questions. Probably about forty-percent of my students subscribe to it. This gives them academic resources that they would not be able to access any other way, because they have a difficult schedule, and they don’t have time to go to a tutoring center or they don’t know other students in class. What I have tried to do is make sure that I make resources for the class accessible for

Once you establish that a problem exists, then you have to present models that the faculty can adopt. This can be done through training materials, but frankly, I believe this should be done through personal interactions: teaching circles and workshops. These things are necessary for change to happen. Most faculty, with their heavy work load, aren’t going to make changes without human interaction.

The third part of this: you have to incentivize people to make changes. You have to pay them to participate in the teaching circles and workshops—even if you give them a very small stipend or you provide some money that goes into a professional development account. This also needs to show up on year-end appraisals. Sometimes, administrators say what they want everyone to do, but then they use the same criteria every year to decide whether you get a raise or not. Faculty need to see that there is a relationship between new behaviors and outcomes and some sort of economic incentive.

Finally, you need to have faculty refreeze themselves into the new pattern. This comes from long-term professional development programs that go on for years and years. I think that having a Teaching Learning Center at every college is essential—where you have an experienced faculty member who is running a center for workshops, which allow faculty to reflect, to observe, and to change their behaviors.

The Academic Success Press Blog is proud to present Part One of Dr. Nolting's conversation with David Arendale, former NADE president and current Professor of History and Higher Education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In this chapter, Nolting and Arendale discuss history: first Arendale's personal history, then the history of developmental education. Enjoy!

That was really the extent of my formal preparation for developmental education. I always felt kind of embarrassed about that until someone else in the field said, “Well, David, you are a content area specialist.” I answered, “What’s that?” And this person said, “You know history, so you understand how a student should learn history.” I responded, yes but not through a formal preparation. And he said, “There are a lot of people inside of our profession that are transplants from other academic areas.”

It was a wonderful experience. I like to tell people that my presidency was the greatest personal and professional development activity you can ever do. After you finish up, you look back on it and wonder, how in the world did I keep my day job and still do all of the travelling and do all of the work of being on the board. People ask me, “Wouldn’t you like to do this again?” And I look at them with a funny expression on my face and go, “Are you out of your mind?” Then I smile and tell them that it was a wonderful experience and everyone should get a chance to do it.

So this whole thing about how developmental education was created because of the G.I. Bill after World War II—well that isn’t true at all. We have always had these services. Even today, at Harvard University, they have about ten percent of their students in a developmental writing course. Now they don’t

Academic preparation is relative. It all comes down to what are the institutions' requirements. One of the things I find disappointing when I look at the history of developmental education is that privileged people have historically had all the advantages. They are now second, third, and fourth generation college students, and they go to well-funded private or suburban schools. Now, you have a new crop of students—students of color, the historically under-represented, the economically poor students—who do not have all of that social capital. So the things that they need are the same things that students needed back in the 1600's and 1700's and 1800's. But public officials say, “We don’t need to provide these services for

Developmental education is a sad political fight that has gone on for a long time. I have written about how the language of developmental and remedial education has been politicized. I think it is really sad that we don’t hold to the concept that all students are developmental. That’s why you go to college. Think of the slogan for NADE: “Helping the under-prepared students prepare, the prepared students to advance, and the advanced students to excel.” Developmental education helps students move along a continuum line.

The sad thing that I have seen in a couple of modern examples is that some community colleges think they need to set up an admissions test for students. If they don’t score high enough, they’ll deny them admission. That is a significant discussion. We’ve never talked about closing the door to higher education. We’ve always said that there is always an appropriate place for you to start at. Well now some community colleges are receiving less money from the state, but are being overwhelmed by enrollment because four-year institutions are eliminating students. So community colleges are between a rock and a hard place. They are not receiving the money they need to operate, and they are being overwhelmed by the number of students who want to take classes. So now they are talking about [entrance tests].

This isn’t widespread, but my philosophy is that whenever I look at history, ideas precede actions. You are hearing discussions about how we should limit access to higher education in America, and I think that this is particularly disturbing.