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Press Release



September 25, 2017


Cowley sees 60 percent increase in success rate for developmental students taking College Algebra


Cowley College received some good news when the math faculty recently reviewed the Performance Agreement report for Academic Year 2016 which showed a 60 percent increase in the success rate for developmental students taking College Algebra.

Based on the 2013 numbers, Cowley is in the 91st percentile for college algebra success. Statistics also show the success rate for Cowley College students taking College Algebra with Review was very similar to the rate for students taking Intermediate Algebra separately before taking College Algebra.

“Helping students remedy deficiencies in math is one of the most challenging and persistent issues in higher education,” Cowley College vice president of academic affairs Dr. Harold Arnett said. “Re-entry students and others who delayed their post-secondary experience for several years have often 'lost' much of the math knowledge they may have had earlier.”

Dr. Michelle Schoon, Cowley College Natural Science Department Chair, said the math faculty have done an excellent job of realigning the math competencies into the two semester Elementary – College Algebra with Review sequence with the goal of increasing student success by acceleration and immersion.   

Cowley College faculty math instructor Brooke Istas said this shows that short-term high intensive classes help with remediation. 

“I am very happy with the work my colleagues are doing in the classroom; the changes and challenges have been difficult, but many are embracing the new instructional, hands-on, project-based techniques that marry both conventional and unconventional instructional methodologies,” Istas said. “I look forward to continued success as we begin strategizing for the next three years.”

Dr. Arnett said regardless of the reasons, many students who enter college inadequately prepared for college algebra will never complete a degree. A program that shortens the amount of time and cost to achieve success at that level is very important. It saves students money and increases the likelihood that they will succeed in completing a degree. That in turn will qualify them for additional opportunities, greater earning capacity and greater personal satisfaction.

“It is no exaggeration to say that teachers who utilize an effective approach for developing college level math skills truly do help students change their lives,” Dr. Arnett said.