New program provides shortcut through math

A new math class began this semester and students couldn’t be happier. Thanks to Statway, a two semester course that incorporates basic algebra concepts and statistical math.Students can  complete their math requirement in less time. To enroll, students must be eligible for Math 51. The class introduces algebra and logical analysis of basic math problems, while combining three math classes into one full year. According to math professor and author of the Mt. SAC Statway textbook, Scott Guth, the aim of the program is to double the number of students and have them move onto other areas, regardless of limitations in literacy, language, or math. Guth said the class is an introduction for students who struggle with math concepts, and is also transferable and accepted at Cal State universities while approval at the UC’s is in progress. “Eventually all colleges will adapt to this new method,” said Art Nitta, math professor who teaches Statway. Nitta, along with Guth and Paula Young are the three professors teaching the course. The first part of the class, Math 55, will be available every fall semester. If a student is enrolled for fall semester then a spring class, Math 115, if offered, is guaranteed with the same professor and at the same time, said Guth. Guth, who has been a math teacher for more than 22 years at Mt.SAC, also writes textbooks for the Carnegie foundation. According to the Carnegie Foundation of the Advancement of Teaching, a major sponsor of the program, the new program is being adapted at a few colleges to help improve the concepts of math overall. In California, there are only five colleges adapting this new program. Also included in the $13 million initiative are funding partners, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, and The Kresge Foundation. According to Associate Vice President of Public Affairs at the Carnegie Foundation, Gay Clyburn, “Currently, up to 60 percent of students enrolling in U.S. community colleges must take at least one remedial course to build their basic academic skills so Statway can help improve those skills.” Nitta said that students learn to work on their own He explained, “It’s not an easy class but a combination of skills that help students become their own researchers.” We want to teach Stats in a different way. In a regular class, you learn the formulas and figure it out. In Statway, I let my students use other concepts and let them figure it out.” Guth agreed. “We want to let students figure out the problem so they can retain the information,” he said. Guth added that the key to this course is the logical thinking. Students learn to figure out the strategy to solve. Jason O’Brien, 25, English major, had positive things to say about Statway. “I love it, because I hate math,” O’Brien said. It’s my favorite class this semester.” Nury Valerin, 24, psychology major, added, “This class is so slow paced.” According to Nitta, Statway can save students money because it is a more economical course. It requires a textbook, which retails at $55 handouts and online software that is free to all students. Clyburn said that adjusting to a new math class can be tough for many students; learning new concepts, finding new ways. “Adjusting algebra and logic are all things this class will introduce, said Clyburn.” Isai Rocha, 23, communications major, saw a flyer informing him that Statway was a great alternative for people who struggle with math and signed up. “I like the class. It’s a full year so lectures are more in depth and at a slower pace,” Rocha said. - Joanne Angulo A&E Editor