With me being a 40 year old first time college student, I assumed college would be hard for me. I knew I would have an adjustment period to get my footing, especially with math. When I began my math class, the difficultly of the topics met my expectations. To meet this challenge head on, I threw myself into math by spending numerous hours on Aleks, studying, and getting tutored. My dedication has even gotten my teacher’s attention, causing her to let the class know that I spend the most time in Aleks.
When I took my first in class assessment on Aleks, I expected not to do well and I didn’t. On my second in class assessment I expected to do a bit better and to my surprise I did about the same. You may be thinking this is just the second assessment. All of this is true; however, we need to examine the curriculum more closely.To begin with our class has four in class assessments, of which our teachers will take the highest grade out of the four when calculating your final grade. Math 98 is a brand new curriculum that combines formerly known Math 97 and Math 98, giving us two classes rolled in one.
Secondly as a result of the new two in one class model, the pie of topics has doubled in size, going from 150 topics to 312 topics. Thirdly, we have instructors that do not instruct in the traditional sense of the word, meaning they do not use the white board. They do not have any lesson plans that involve them breaking down the topics for the class on the white board. Fourthly, when you fail certain topics in your Aleks assessment, Aleks will take away from your pie. This causes you to have to go over all of your topics again and work harder to get caught up on new topics. This sounds reasonable; however, if you are getting closer to the end of the semester and your teachers are not teaching you, you can be at real risk of failing.
It is now October and we have a final exam on Dec. 3. I have personally lost credit for 43 topics since my second assessment on Aleks. I have to work harder to regain the 43 topics and on top of that I have 53 topics to master to be on track to master all 312 topics in my pie. I do not know how many more hours I can throw at this, seeing that I have over 100 hours logged already, I am getting tutored and I am taking another class also. In order to increase your chances for passing the final you need to have mastered all 312 topics. Fifthly, knowing all of this I believe this new curriculum has set us up to fail. Someone reading this may be thinking, you’re 40, so that’s why you’re having trouble. Before you go there, I know of 19 years olds in my class that are struggling with the same issues. The curriculum needs to be adjusted, because of the issues I stated.
Finally, if someone is attending school on financial aid as I am and fail a class; you are at risk for losing your financial aid. I take this very seriously. I fundamentally believe it is unfair to put a student in a curriculum that was poorly designed and expect them to figure it out on their own. I think this is unnecessary, when the head of the math department can make reasonable adjustments to insure the students taking Math 98 have a real balanced and fair shake at really passing the class. The way math 98 is currently set up the student is pressured to play beat the clock to stay on task at the risk of not really absorbing the information. It’s as if you are placed in a wind tunnel and given 312 items to master all while having to keep your balance, it is impossible.
I am asking that the topics be reduced to 220 topics and the teachers are able to teach the whole class for the first hour of class. The name of the class is Math Support, but I don’t feel very supported. I feel more like I’ve been set up. I need my fellow Math 98 classmates to join me in saying that, we need this curriculum to be adjusted to give us a fair chance at passing this class. If you are a math 98 student that support my views, please sign my petition to get things turned around.
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