Math = success in college

Written by
Sabina Haskell

Date
October 21, 2019

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8 high schools introduce innovative math course ‘EMC2’

Eight high schools are now teaching a new, much-anticipated course to strengthen math proficiencies in high school students before they graduate. 

Dozens and dozens of students have enrolled in Essential Math for College and Careers, or EMC2, at Green Mountain Union High School, North Country Union High School, Randolph Technical Center, Richford Junior/Senior High School, Rutland High School, Springfield High School, Stowe High School and West Rutland High School.

Vermont Student Assistance Corp., the Vermont State Colleges System and the Vermont Agency of Education have teamed up to create the new math course so that students will leave high school with the math skills to begin college and career training programs. It will eventually be made available to all high schools in Vermont.

Teachers got a week-long immersion in the new curriculum this summer at VSAC.

VSAC research has shown that students with higher-level math skills are more likely to enroll – and successfully complete – college and career training. Without the requisite math skills, students are far less likely to continue their education and if they do, they are often required to take remedial courses, incurring an extra cost while not earning credit.

“We all want to see our students be successful as they take the next step in their education futures,” said Scott Giles, president and CEO of VSAC. “Being proficient in math removes one of the challenges students face in their college and career transitions after high school.”

A team of Vermont high school teachers and college professors designed the 12th grade course curriculum from a framework of open education source materials collected and used by 13 states who are trying to address similar challenges.

The course design team included Todd MacKenzie from Center for Technology at Essex; Kaaren Meyer from Stowe High School; Julie Parah from Green Mountain Union High School; Gillian Galle from Castleton University; Daisy McCoy from Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, Rachel Repstad from Vermont Technical College and Heidi Whipple and Greg Young with AOE.

Students who successfully complete EMC2 can enroll in college-level math courses at any of the Vermont State Colleges and Community College of Vermont without the need for remediation or an Accuplacer test score in math.

“This innovative high school math course builds bridges to continued education after high school by improving students’ math confidence,” said Yasmine Ziesler, chief academic officer at the Vermont State Colleges System. “The course encourages students to explore mathematical tasks and work to explain their thinking and understanding to each other. Student ownership and student voice are essential elements of success in this course and in their education and training after graduation.”

Students who are interested in taking the course should contact their school counselor to learn more about registration requirements. The partnership and curriculum development are funded by VSAC through a federal GEAR UP grant.