Posted by Ayleen Barbel Fattal
The White House has recognized FIU’s Mastery Math model as one of its 150 Commitment to Action for increasing educational outcomes and opportunities for Hispanic students.
FIU has committed more than $5.5 million to improve retention of more than 7,000 Hispanic students annually by redefining the classroom experience for all lower division math courses. Over the next three years, FIU will hire and prepare 12 full-time mathematics instructors and build a computer lab, dedicated to learning introductory mathematics and statistics, which can accommodate up to 200 students at a time.
“With full implementation, our commitment has the potential to positively impact all of the nearly 12,000 students who take undergraduate math courses each year at FIU,” said Leanne Wells, director of the Mastery Math Program.
Throughout higher education, math courses have some of the highest failure rates nationwide. Even though math is a skill nearly every person uses on a daily basis, it has become a significant impediment to degree completion. This reality is what led FIU to create the Mastery Math Program in 2010 — a high-tech, high-touch approach to improving student performance in College Algebra through evidence-based teaching techniques including peer mentoring and a state-of-the-art computer lab.
This past academic year, FIU implemented new approaches to teaching in seven lower division math courses. Nearly 900 students, who were at-risk of failing, successfully completed their courses under the new teaching methods while the rigor of the curriculum was maintained. This is in addition to the more than 1,300 students who successfully completed College Algebra — but would have likely failed using previous teaching methods — since the inception of the Mastery Math Program.
Commitments to Action are a component of the “Anniversary Year of Action” in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The selected commitments increase educational opportunities for Hispanic students in critical areas including postsecondary completion and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
“These commitments will bring critical resources to Latino students and families across this country, are examples of meaningful investments being made in support of the largest, youngest and arguably the fastest growing minority community in the country and will help fulfill America’s future,” said Alejandra Ceja executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
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