## Jump Start in Math

We just had our Michigan developmental education conference (“MDEC” see http://www.mdec.net/conference/2015/program.html for details). One of our colleagues at Schoolcraft College did a presentation on their “Jump Start” program for math.

The Jump Start program has two components (each 2 hours long). The first component is on math study skills; since the person conducting the workshop is a professional in the learning assistance center, she has a good background to provide clear direction to students on being successful in math. Within this study skills component, she also deals directly with motivational issues — her goal is to provide HOPE for all students.

The second component is the content, where students choose the one that matches their course for the upcoming semester. Since Jump Start is offered within a few days of the start of the semester, this part of the workshop reviews content needed to be successful in that course. The college offers a Jump Start option for the first 4 or 5 courses.

You can get some information about their Jump Start program at http://www.schoolcraft.edu/a-z-index/learning-support-services/learning-assistance-center/student-success-seminars-and-workshops/jump-start#.VRKngeFuNyE with the current schedule at http://www.schoolcraft.edu/docs/default-source/lss—jumpstart/jumpstart-winter.pdf?sfvrsn=0 .

Overall, the Schoolcraft math curriculum is quite traditional; they still offer a basic math class, and do not yet have a mathematical literacy course. However, I like their Jump Start program; in particular, the 50% (2 hours) invested on study skills (and motivation) is very appropriate for most students. The professional doing the workshops has a math degree; in fact, she was originally a developmental math student who had to work very hard … and became a math major because “math chose me” (as she says).

The 50% (2 hours) on content would not be sufficient to correct for basic gaps in understanding, and the content done focuses quite a bit on procedures. However, even this part likely is a good thing for students — the workshop covers a half dozen topics with multiple examples in each, which might help students develop accurate expectations for college math classes, as our pace can be quite an adjustment from high school.

The Jump Start model might be a good alternative for many colleges who can not commit resources to week-long boot camps or similar programs.

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