Developmental Math Program Assessment




Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)


Students completing development math courses at LMC will demonstrate:


1. Problem-solving abilities: Students will use mathematical reasoning to solve problems and a generalized problem solving process to work word problems.

a. The student can apply standard problem-solving methods and use relevant concepts to solve problems.

b. The student uses a generalized problem-solving rubric if such a rubric is used in the class.

c. The student’s written work demonstrates a conceptual understanding of course concepts.

d. The student’s written work supports his/her solution.

e. The student evaluates the reasonableness of his/her answer.


2. Mathematical versatility: Students will use verbal, graphical, numerical, and symbolic representations of mathematical ideas to solve problems.

a. Students will use a variety of representations to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts.

b. Students will use a multi-prong approach to problem solving.  

c. Students will use appropriate technology to solve mathematical problems and judge the reasonableness of their results.


3. Communication skills: Students will read, write, listen to, and speak mathematics with understanding.

a. Students will read and listen to mathematical presentations and arguments with understanding.

b. Students will communicate both in speaking and in writing their understanding of mathematical ideas and procedures using appropriate mathematical vocabulary and notation.  

c. Students will coherently communicate their own mathematical thinking to others. 

4. Preparation: Students will recognize and apply math concepts in a variety of relevant settings and demonstrate the math skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in subsequent courses.


5. Effective Learning Attributes: Students will demonstrate the characteristics of an effective learner.

a. Student has the will to succeed and demonstrates the characteristics of a successful student: motivation, responsibility, focus, perseverance, the ability to cope with anxiety, a good attitude toward learning, and time management skills.

b. Student has the skills to succeed. (S)he uses appropriate resources to improve learning and reach goals.

c. Student self-monitors and self-regulates. (S)he assesses personal strengths and weaknesses in his/her learning process and then seeks and implements a strategy for improving learning.

PSLO Assessment Report Summary


Our assessment research focused on PSLOs 1, 2 and 3: problem-solving ability, mathematical versatility and mathematical communication skills. We analyzed common final exam questions from the capstone course Intermediate Algebra (Math 30) and an entry level course, Prealgebra (Math 12).  Each final exam was assessed holistically relative to each outcome using a rubric written by math faculty. For each outcome we conducted a benchmarking exercise in which each instructor graded two sample papers.  In both courses, a majority of students were proficient in all PSLOs.


The math professors who participated in the assessment made the following recommendations for improvement:

For communication, it was recommended that instructors should to better model how to interpret solutions in context and provide complete explanations.  As a result of this need, the teaching community (for all developmental math instructors) included sessions how to model interpreting solutions, share with students examples of proficient and excellent student solutions, and facilitate a class discussion to show students what a proficient solution looks like. 


For problem solving, it was recommended instructors should focus more on the problem solving process.  As a result, the teaching community (for all developmental math instructors) focused on problem solving and use of Polya’s problem solving process in the classroom. The problem solving topics included how to provide explicit guidelines for students, how to present the problem solving process, share proficient student work as examples of appropriate use of the problem solving process, and how to create a problem solving rubric in class with student participation, and teach students to use the rubric to self-evaluate their own performance.