2016-2017 Opening Gateways Faculty Seminar

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    Suman Ganguli
    Participant

    ICYMI, there was an NYT column by a UC-Berkeley public policy professor recently about remedial math successes at CUNY! Click on the photo for the link to the article:

    “Ending the Curse of Remedial Math”

    It’s mainly about the CUNY Start program (which is only in the community colleges–is that correct?), but some of the themes are similar to what we discussed and are trying to implement with 1275:

    Some excerpts:

    “CUNY Start holds some clues on how to solve an education crisis. Nationwide, only 35 percent of those who start community college receive any form of credential within six years. At urban community colleges, the six-year graduation rate is only 16 percent.

    The biggest academic stumbling blocks are remedial math and English courses. More than two-thirds of community college students must take at least one such class, and there they languish. Only a third of those referred to remedial math, and less than half those who take remedial reading, pass. Just 15 percent of students who take remedial classes at two-year colleges earn a certificate or degree on time.

    Typically, those students fell behind in elementary school, and as new concepts were piled on every year, they never caught up. The “Strasbourg goose” school of teaching, in which students’ heads are stuffed with formulas that bear no relation to the real world, left them convinced of their own incompetence. Old-school remedial education in college — skill and drill, lecture-style classes, taken at the same time as college-level courses — offered more of the same.

    The CUNY Start model is different. Full-time students are exclusively in Start classes for 25 hours a week — substantially more than the usual course load — for one semester. The focus is on thinking, not memorization.”

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