Community College Learning, Retention Advance with Innovative Technology Platforms

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Pearson's MyMathLab Enhances Teaching of Math Courses

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At Pearson, we believe our continued investment in innovative approaches to content and delivery methods is paying off, ensuring more students are staying in school and mastering important math concepts with programs like MyMathLab.

Tough economic times are forcing more Americans into unemployment, making community colleges critical resources for workers seeking to learn new skills or hone old ones, particularly in critical subject areas like math and science. As the ranks of community colleges swell to meet this new demand, administrators will look for new ways to address students' academic needs while keeping costs under control.

At community colleges nationwide, technology is already providing a promising answer to this challenge by changing the way key mathematics courses are taught. Returning students are likely to engage with their math course content in new, innovative ways that improve their skills and understanding to achieve success. Research found in the Making the Grade report by Pearson, the world's leading education and education technology company, shows that solutions like MyMathLab and MathXL, which are interactive, online programs, can have a consistently positive impact on math learning and often reduce the cost of instruction in higher education.

Adding to the growing body of research focused on how technology might address the difficulties of teaching math at community colleges is a new report from the Gates and Hewlett Foundations that concludes, in part, "there is also an increasing awareness that there simply is not enough time to deliver the curriculum without technology." The report, Technology Solutions for Developmental Math, highlights programs across the country, including Ivy Tech Community College's campuses, which use Pearson's MyMathLab solution.

At the Ivy Tech Community College Evansville campus, Pearson customized MyMathLab to align with the college's placement test and integrate with its accelerated developmental courses. Through the use of interactive tutorials, embedded assessment, and targeted remediation, Ivy Tech students' scores are climbing, according to Pearson's research.

MyMathLab is helping college students at Ivy Tech's Fort Wayne, Central, Bloomington, and Lafayette campuses, as well, by improving their understanding of mathematics concepts through the institution's Online Accelerated Remediation (OAR) program. Students who do not pass Ivy Tech's math placement test have the option to enroll in OAR as an alternative to taking developmental studies. The self-paced, personalized OAR program leads the student through one to six weeks of math instruction, focusing on the student's individual weaknesses.

Pearson's independent research shows that following successful completion of OAR, more than 90 percent of students qualify for college-level math, avoiding 12 to 14 weeks of development studies for which they receive no college credit.

"As an instructor, I have always stressed that students need to practice problem-solving techniques. MyMathLab catches errors immediately so students do not practice a wrong procedure. They have immediate feedback rather than the 'odd answers in the back of the book' feedback, and MML gives hints to help jump-start the solution process," said Susan Cartwright, Ivy Tech Community College math professor.

As at Ivy Tech, success with MyMathLab is being seen around the county. For example, Cleveland State Community College received the Bellwether Award in January for its innovative use of MyMathLab for course redesign.

"Recently, we redesigned our math courses by putting the students to work in computer classrooms and a large computer lab. In this approach we have used MyMathLab exclusively, and it has worked extremely well," said John Squires, Math Department Chair, Cleveland State Community College. "We use 100 percent online homework and grading, which gives the students instant feedback and frees the instructors to spend their time helping students. As a result, student success and learning has increased dramatically. Because it is very user-friendly, MyMathLab has been a major factor in the success of our program. It provides a quality online learning environment where students can succeed!"

MyMathLab offers students the ability to learn at their own pace, in their own style, which is particularly effective for developmental student populations, who typically need more flexibility in their course work.

"Both instructors and students alike tell us that technology can positively impact student learning and success rates, particularly for those students in developmental math programs who typically have many responsibilities outside of the college classroom," said Greg Tobin, President of Mathematics in Pearson's Arts and Sciences Division. "At Pearson, we believe our continued investment in innovative approaches to content and delivery methods is paying off, ensuring more students are staying in school and mastering important math concepts with programs like MyMathLab."

Nationwide more than 1.5 million students benefited from MyMathLab's unique approach to learning in 2008, with 50.6 million assignments graded through the system.

For more information on MyMathLab, including a list of colleges using the program, visit http://www.mymathlab.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCOT6i20j48.

About Pearson - Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker, and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to http://www.pearson.com.
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Stacy Skelly
Pearson
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