Jul 22, 2014 11:52 pm

When students enroll in a math lab at Pierce College it allows them to independently complete classwork at their own speed in the math level they placed in. Thanks to a new software program introduced by Math Professor Melonie Rasmussen, these students can now take advantage of customized guidance to complete their math requirements at their own pace.

With the implementation of the program, called Aleks 360, Rasmussen is making important changes in support of Achieving the Dream (ATD) efforts to help students stay in school and complete their degrees. The program operates much like a skilled human tutor, and assesses students’ math knowledge, delivering targeted instruction on the exact topics they are ready to learn.

“A lot of students need the flexibility of the math lab because they have kids or other pressing responsibilities,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen spent an entire quarter researching programs for students to use in the math lab and chose to implement Aleks 360. The program provides students with more personalized instruction. The program features video tutorials, e-books and additional step-by-step instruction for each chapter.

In the past year, two students have used Aleks 360 to complete the requirements for four developmental math courses, and were ready to register for college-level math after only one quarter.

After testing Aleks 360 for a year, passing rates improved by 25 percent, according to Rasmussen.

“Those two students who managed to do that only paid for five credits instead of 20 credits,” Rasmussen said. “That’s what bought us into the program.”

Story by Holly Buchanan