A plan for … fewer developmental courses, fewer enrollments in developmental courses, and higher success rates in developmental courses (all without losing mathematical rigor or preparation). The goals … students get better preparation for all of their courses, experience appropriate mathematics, and spend less time in non-credit courses.
Since 2009, AMATYC’s Developmental Mathematics Committee has been working (along with other professionals) on a complete reformation of the developmental mathematics curriculum. This work was not done in isolation; the group based its work on the professional expertise of dozens of faculty. One notable source of information was the MAA ”CRAFTY” reports; other sources included the AMS report on client disciplines, the Numeracy Network, and (centrally) “Beyond Crossroads” (the professional standards for mathematics in the first two years of college).
See the Beyond Crossroads professional standards at http://beyondcrossroads.amatyc.org/
The New Life community is online at http://dm-live.wikispaces.com/
A “Mathematical Literacy for College Students” (MLCS) course provides the powerful tools that students need in their preparation for basic science, technology, and even college mathematics classes. The MLCS course is visualized as being at the same level as ‘beginning algebra’, though this is an incomplete visualization. Some students could take MLCS who are ‘not ready’ for beginning algebra, as the procedural load is lighter in MLCS … the work in MLCS is more conceptual (still some procedures).
Many students would only need that one course … MLCS, which saves one or even two courses for a large portion of our population. Primarily, it is those students who need a traditional college-level math course (college algebra, pre-calculus, etc) who would need more developmental work than that found in MLCS.
For those who need a second developmental course, the model describes an “Algebraic Literacy” course. This represents a modern view of a course at the level of intermediate algebra. By building on the powerful ideas in MLCS, the Algebraic Literacy course adds other ideas and also develops the sets of skills identified as being critical for the college-math courses.
Within this framework, the model also calls for us to modernize our instruction and assessment by integrated a variety of teaching methods, using diverse technology, and assessing student learning in deeper ways. Changing the content is not enough, just like changing the methodology is not enough.
The Instant Presentations page has a number of presentations dealing with the New Life model; take a look!!
You can learn more about the New Life model by exploring this blog and the New Life wiki (http://dm-live.wikispaces.com/). We make presentations at each AMATYC conference, and at many affiliate conferences. Our team includes a group of people who might be able to travel for an on-site workshop; contact Jack at email@example.com to explore those possibilities.
As of April 2013, textbooks are in process for the MLCS course by two publishers. Also, placement test companies are aware of the New Life work, and are anticipating changes to tests in the next few years.