October 16, 2009
Taking a math placement test can be intimidating for adults who haven't taken a math course in many years.
Northampton Community College recently received a $402,000 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to help the growing number of men and women who are in this situation as they seek to return to college to prepare for a new career after being laid off.
"Many of these individuals may have done much better on the test right after they graduated from high school," says Dr. Elizabeth Bugaighis, NCC's dean of education and academic success, "but their math skills are rusty. If they don't score high enough on the test, their progress is slowed because they may have to enroll in up to three pre-college math courses. Many just give up."
The FIPSE grant will enable Northampton Community College to develop a math refresher program that students can take online to refresh basic arithmetic and pre-algebra skills so they can test out of one or more of the pre-college courses. The grant will also pay for advising and tutorial support.
"The goal of the program, Bugaighis says, "is to accelerate the students' academic progress, so they can return to the workforce as soon as possible." Students will save time and money in the process.
As part of the grant, the College will track the effectiveness of the program and will share the results with other colleges whose students might be able to benefit.
Affiliated with the United States Department of Education, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education supports and funds innovative reform projects that promise to be models for improving the quality of postsecondary education and for increasing access to education.