Adding up to success

Last June, AACC’s 21st Century Center featured a post about Butler Community College’s new math modules. The Kansas college split math classes into three modules within a 16-week timeframe. The modules launched in the fall, and the first-semester results are in.

Butler Community College’s innovative approach to breaking up math classes into smaller units is helping students learn. After one semester, the results are positive:

  • 20 percent increase in student success
  • More than a 10 percent decrease in student withdrawals
  • More than two-thirds of students earn a “C” or higher

“The repetition was removed, allowing more time to cover content,” said Shannon Covert, associate dean of STEM at Butler. “The five-week courses provide small victories for students and allow for more flexibility if something happens that prevents them from attending classes for a length of time.”

Streamlining the pathway

Beginning fall 2016, Butler launched a plan to change the way students were placed in math classes and how they complete their math sequence. A student takes a math assessment test and enters the sequence where they need to start learning, from math fundamentals to college algebra. The content is aligned to Kansas State Core Outcomes to ensure transferability of the college algebra sequence.

“When I started at Butler, I was scared I wouldn’t learn math,” student Hailie Harmon said. “But after taking math module classes, math makes sense to me now.”

Butler’s new math lab, which is staffed by math instructors, is helping students succeed as well. The lab is equipped with “whiteboard tables” that instructors can write problems on to help students learn.

The college continues to monitor student success rates and is sharing these results with others. Earlier this month, Butler math representatives presented their success data during the Great Plains Conference on Acceleration held at Butler’s El Dorado Campus.

“Math modules are a lot easier than the whole semester class,” student Mario Thomas said. “This is one of the best renovations Butler has made.”

Find more articles at the AACC 21st-Century Center.

About the Author

Alice Mannette
is a communications specialist at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.