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Document Number: 9215

Effective Basic Skills Instruction: The Case for Contextualized Developmental Math - Recent research on students entering California community colleges found that less than 10% of students entering at the basic arithmetic or pre-algebra math level successfully complete college-level math. Overall, fewer than 20% complete a college-level math course, earn a certificate, degree or transfer to a four-year university within six years. In 2006 regulations were changed to strengthen the core curriculum for the California community colleges associate degree. Many occupationally-focused and "contextualized" math courses were eliminated. These integrated courses often focus on the mathematics required in specific occupations, starting with basic arithmetic or pre-algebra and progressing into intermediate algebra, and have significantly higher success rates than traditional math courses. Unfortunately, these contextualized courses were eliminated as they no longer meet the requirements for the associate degree. But the low success rates that are common in remedial math courses in the academic model mean that few students will be able to acquire the occupational skills necessary to complete an advanced occupational course, certificate or degree. (PACE, January 2011)...

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