Successful Fast Track program hails birth to a new math class

Professor Victoria Dominguez instructs her Math 20 to 29 fast track class on March 14 at Citrus College. Photo by Christopher Amurao / Clarion

After garnering successful pass rates, the Math 20 to Math 29 fast track course will merge into one new math class to encourage student progress.

Math 25, the new name for the class that fuses Math 20: Arithmetic Fundamentals and Math 29: Pre-Algebra, will debut this summer.

“The math curriculum at Citrus is the longest sequence in the college,” Dean of Mathematics Jim McClain said. “You’d have to succeed in pre-algebra in order to take elementary algebra before taking Math 150: Intermediate Algebra.”

However, with the new entry-level math course, Math 25 will allow successful students to immediately take either Math 140: Pre-Statistics or Math 30: Elementary Algebra.

Prior to the fast track program, McClain said the average success rate for Math 20 in fall 2015 was 46 percent.

To solve this issue, math professor Victoria Dominguez pioneered a pilot course of the current fast track class last spring.

Fast-track math students pose with their instructors before beginning class March 14 at Citrus College. Photo by Christopher Amurao / Clarion

Being the only instructor that semester, Dominguez taught Math 20 for the first eight weeks and Math 29 in the second eight weeks.

Although the exact completion rate for spring 2016 was not determined, the number of students who passed increased tremendously from the previous semester. So, McClain decided to launch the fast track program in fall 2016.

“It’s complex to teach math students because there are several barriers to their success,” Dominguez said. “Students need to persist, to have confidence and to overcome past math failures.”

To help students get better, the class not only teaches essential math skills, but also encourages better study habits to alleviate test anxieties.

The pass rate for fall 2016 significantly hiked to 78 percent.

“Usually in any new curriculum, we are happy to see a three to four percent increase. So this was very successful,” McClain said.

Having previously taken Math 20, freshman Kathryn O’Connell is now taking the fast track class under professor Jeannie Martinez.

“My first teacher did not explain things in the way that I could understand,” O’Connell said, noticing the difference between the two classes. “My current teacher is a lot better at explaining.”

Thanks to the Math 20 to Math 29 curriculum, O’Connell is one of the many students geared to succeed.

“The fast track is important, because it helps students have better success with an earlier completion of the coursework.” McClain said.

Math 25’s first official course begins in the summer.