SAILS to set course in math
by By DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Jul 08, 2013 | 1870 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER DR. SAM OFORI, a Cleveland State Community College math instructor, helps out a student working on an assignment in the college’s math lab.
Increasing numbers of incoming freshmen at colleges across Tennessee require a learning support math class, or remedial math, due to low ACT scores.

All students who earn a 19 or lower on their ACTs are enrolled in their college’s learning support program. The students are required to take their school’s learning support math class before taking general courses.

Karen Wyrick, Cleveland State Community College math department chair, said taking remedial math classes while already in college can negatively impact students.

In fact, Wyrick said, “There are studies out there that say the chances of students graduating who start in developmental math are very small.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents has responded to this problem with the Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support program headed by Chattanooga State Community College.

SAILS allows high school seniors with a 19 or below on their ACTs to take an accredited college’s learning support math program. The program will be offered through each high school’s bridge math course. This class already covered the same general information without college accreditation.

Cleveland State is on board with the SAILS program for a second year. Wyrick said the program has grown from five area schools to all 11. These include: Bradley Central, Cleveland, Walker Valley, McMinn Central, McMinn County, Polk County, Copper Basin, Meigs County, Tellico Plains, Sequoyah and Sweetwater. She estimated the program will reach about 1,300 students.

She said CSCC is excited all 11 schools decided to gather together for the program.

Each high school will have its students complete the program on computers. Videos, quizzes, homework and unit exams have been created by Cleveland State to be accessible online. Students will spend five days a week working through the 34 modules.

An instructor from CSCC will visit each school one to two weeks to determine how students are doing. A high school teacher will always be on hand to answer questions and monitor the class.

According to Wyrick, taking SAILS saves students both time and money.

“A developmental math class costs about $500 at Cleveland State Community College, and this program gets two semesters out of the way,” Wyrick said. “So they are saving at least $1,000 and will also be ready for college-level math.”

There is no cost to students in the SAILS program as it is paid for by the state. Passing grades will allow students to bypass the learning support programs at TBR colleges. The decision to accept or deny a student’s SAILS papers will be up to the discretion of each private college.

As an added bonus, seniors who complete SAILS within their first semester can take a college-level math course through dual enrollment with Cleveland State in their second. Classes will be offered at each high school.

“If a student is really struggling, and just needs to take that whole year for the bridge class, then that is fine,” Wyrick said. “But, if a student can whip through 34 modules in half a year, then they are eligible for dual enrollment.”

Classes will once again be computer-based with everything online. Wyrick said math dual enrollment high school students will also be allowed to use Cleveland State’s math computer labs. A math instructor from CSCC will go onto the high school campus once a week to see how students are doing.

“They are there to build a relationship with the students,” Wyrick said. “To answer any questions a student has, to let them know if they are on schedule and how to catch up. They will tell them their next assignment.”

High schools with a qualified, college-level instructor with a master’s degree in math and 18 hours of math may also lead the course, Wyrick said.

Basic level math classes offered at Cleveland State, college algebra and statistics, are offered as three-hour programs. Students receive one hour of instruction each week and two hours of lab work. According to Wyrick, high school students will receive more bang for their buck. They will receive one hour of classroom instruction and four hours of lab work.

She said while the dual enrollment courses are not covered by the state, she believes they are paid for through the Hope Scholarship.