Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CGCC Innovation of the Year: Reading Sessions for Developmental Mathematics

The Reading Sessions for Developmental Math classes
include (from left) Maria Wise, Roberta Pardo, Mary
Zimmerer, Laura Smallwood, Mona Kelso,
and Patricia Sindel-Arrington (not pictured).
Chandler-Gilbert Community College awarded its 2012-2013 Innovation of the Year to Reading Sessions for Developmental Mathematics.

The classes provide supplemental reading instruction to math students enrolled in developmental math classes. Math and reading faculty work collaboratively to provide instruction and assignments that improve students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills by applying reading strategies to math textbooks. By effectively developing these skills, students gain the confidence to successfully complete their math class.

"The sessions are in addition to a student's classes as well as to the course load of participating faculty, but the rewards have more than outweighed the extra time put in by both," said Maria Wise, interim dean of arts and sciences, who initiated the first session in 2009.

Students are required to attend four 70-minute, out-of-class sessions during the semester which are designed to introduce various reading strategies to help students improve their ability to identify pertinent information and data from what they have read, leading them to correctly solve math word problems.

The Math/Reading Sessions Program idea began with an Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction grant awarded for the 2009-2010 academic year. Wise, a mathematics faculty member, noticed her students were having difficulty understanding the reading-intensive math textbook used at the time. She approached mathematics faculty Laura Smallwood who had been working collaboratively with an English faculty member to apply reading strategies to writing a statistical report to see if something similar coud be done to help math students. Smallwood then collaborated with Mary Zimmerer to write the grant.

The sessions began in fall 2009 with one adjunct reading faculty, two math faculty, and three sections of developmental math classes. It has since been offered to selected developmental math students enrolled in seven of the eight semesters.

The team will be honored at the Maricopa County Community College District Innovation of the Year Award Ceremony on April 12 at the Rio Salado College Conference Center.

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