The Los Medanos College math department will be implementing changes in the math pathways program and math placement strategies for this upcoming fall 2016 semester.

Incoming fall semester students who passed high school algebra with a C or better will now be able to bypass Accuplacer, the program used for class-level placement, and enroll straight into fast-track courses that will prepare them for transfer-level math.

Fast-track courses include a Math 28 combination course for the statistics pathway for other programs and a Math 29 course for the algebra pathway for math- and science-based programs — the former being a new addition to the math pathways.

“Math 28 with Math 34 is a combination that allows students interested in the social sciences or humanities to complete transfer math requirements in one semester,” said LMC math instructor Myra Snell. “This path includes many majors that do not require additional math courses — for example: English, journalism, music, or psychology.”

Before, students were required to have a C or better in Algebra II to get into the classes needed for their major and avoid spending extra semesters taking remedial math classes such as Math 27 for the statistics pathway and Math 12 for the algebra pathway.

This, however, has proven to be an issue.

“Data has shown the our Math 27 class completely closed the math achievement gap and we are hopeful that our Math 28/34 will increase success rates of all students equally,” said Math Department Chair Tue Rust, “This done-in-one declaration will have a huge impact on long-term student success.”

Students who were unable to meet the Algebra II C-or-better prerequisite had to take the math assessment placement.

In 2014-2015, 69% of Graduates who took the assessment had placed in math courses that were two or more levels below than that of transfer-level requirement. Meaning the majority of those graduates may have had to prolong their schooling at LMC because they needed to work their way up to a transfer-level math class.

According to LMC math instructor Mara Landers, with the new placement strategies and fast track options in place, LMC will be able to “ … offer students the opportunity to meet their requirements in fewer semesters.”

Rust echoed Landers’ sentiments.

“Studies have proven that math placement instruments like Accuplacer and long chains of math courses heavily impact long-term student success such as earning certificates, degrees and being able to transfer,” said Rust. “Our recent changes in placement and math pathways will greatly increase the number of students who complete transfer-level math. We believe this in turn will increase the numbers of students who earn certificates, degrees and transfers.”