By Lori Lyn Lirio
MATH and English were the hurdles for students from to obtain their college diploma, according to Regional Educational Laboratory program Executive Director Phillip Herman.
Herman has presented the work they have been doing with the Public School System, Mount Carmel School, Northern Marianas College and the Department of Labor at the CNMI Education Summit held at the World Resort last month.
He said they made a research about what happens to students when they transitioned from the PSS to NMC or to the workforce. They were able to identify the problems why students cannot graduate college.
“PSS, NMC and other stakeholders are interested in increasing college graduation rate. In order to do that, you have to address math,” Herman said.
“Both Math and English can be the hurdles, but math is one of the biggest hurdles. It is a roadblock for college graduation for many students,” he added.
“Students complete a lot of other courses. At college they have decent GPAs but they still drop out because they are not able to pass math even if they are not going to be mathematician or [taking courses for] STEM.
Maybe they will be English major or criminal justice or elementary education.”
In order to address this, he said the college and high school math teachers from NMC and PSS should collaborate in designing a new course – developmental math – for PSS that will prepare the seniors for college-level math.
“We want the college to help us design the course and evaluate the course. If we build this course together, we will learn something about what the students need and meet our goal that is to increase the graduation rate at NMC,” Herman said.
Through deep collaboration with the REL Pacific, NMC and PSS, the designing of developmental Math and developmental English courses helps the educational institution meet students’ needs and would result in more students coming to NMC ready.
“This would mean that more students will graduate.”
Herman explained developmental math is not a college-credit course.
“Those are intended to help you catch up and move to credit.”
“This is the math that they need to prepare to pass college algebra. It is meeting students where they are. So If you need help with arithmetic, they will include that. The teams [educational institutions] decide what their content in the course. The point is to help students catch up faster, advanced them as fast as they can and hopefully if they pass the course, they will be given the chance to take college-level math at NMC,” Herman said in an interview.
REL Pacific, according to Herman is providing support and structure for the design, testing and redesign of the course.