Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Guided Learning Workshop Pilot Program Adds Math Assistants to the Classroom Equation

03/06/2014

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Math tutors are not just meeting with students in the Learning Center, they are now alongside them in class, thanks to a new pilot program rolled out this semester. The Guided Learning Workshop (GLW) pilot program places math tutors, known as GLW assistants, in the classroom for the entire semester. In consultation with the instructor, GLW assistants also guide learning workshops (up to 3.75 hours per week) outside of class time to clarify course concepts and provide additional resources and support.

“Our goal with the Guided Learning Workshop pilot program is not only to increase student success in developmental-level math courses, but to help our students be successful in college-level courses, and in their chosen programs of study,” said Dean McCurdy, dean of instruction, math and sciences, and member of the GLW Development Team.

There are GLW assistants embedded in five developmental math classes this semester, including one section of MATH 079, two MATH 094 classes and two sections of MATH 096.

Students who voluntarily enroll in GLW courses are required to not only attend the scheduled class sessions, but to also participate in the workshop sessions accompanying the course. These students have signed a written statement of requirements and expectations for the program at the beginning of the semester and will be tracked through subsequent semesters to see the impact of the program on persistence and retention.

The initial response from students enrolled in the pilot program has been positive.

“The KVCC GLW pilot program is a great idea,” says Marty Russen, a student in a Math 096 GLW course. “The opportunity to revisit the most recent lecture through repetition has allowed my confidence level and grades to soar.”

Instructors, McCurdy added, have seen higher average quiz/test scores in the sections with the GLW assistants compared to sections without GLW assistants.

“I’m thrilled to see the growth of the students so far this semester,” said Nicole McClure, math instructor. “I feel so fortunate to work at a college that embraces new ideas to improve student learning.”

All of the GLW assistants are current Kalamazoo Valley students or alumni. The assistants and the instructor pairs include: Nelly Fuentes/Nicole McClure, Liz Fuentes/Sheila Eisenhauer, Fred Hartfield/ Robin Murchinson-Greene, Teddy Simonelli/Kelly Digby and Nick Yadloczky/Mark Sigfrids.

“Working closely with a very knowledgeable and capable instructor allows me the unique opportunity to develop instructional skills that not only enable me to serve as an extension of the instructor but also further my own ability in tutoring,” said Fred Hartfield, GLW assistant and KVCC alumni. “I see my work in the GLW program as a ‘next step’ in my personal goal of helping others in society to further their own education.”

Teddy Simonelli, a current student and member of the College’s honors program, also works as a GLW assistant. He knows firsthand the positive impact a program like the Guided Learning Workshop can have on one’s success.

“After filling up my high school schedule with mainly math classes, I definitely understand why extra help outside of class is necessary to succeed,” Simonelli said. “To me, math is like a sport - it requires a lot of practice in order to succeed.”

The GLW Development Team of McCurdy, Digby, Eisenhauer, McClure, Murchinson-Greene and Sigfrids, as well as Denise Lindsley and Stella Lambert of the Learning Center, will evaluate the GLW pilot program during the summer semester, with the hopes of offering it again in the fall.