Breaking Math-Related Boundaries – Innovative Instruction Addressing Cultural Barriers

TitleBreaking Math-Related Boundaries – Innovative Instruction Addressing Cultural Barriers
Duration2 Year
Funding Details
Year 1: Project TitleCrossing Math-related boundaries: Innovation Instruction Addressing Cultural Barriers
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2005/2006
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorPamela Perreault
Year 1: Funded Amount26,819
Year 1: Summary

Objective: This project aims to 1) develop and implement a culturally appropriate comprehensive supplemental math instruction program for students in the sciences across UBC; 2) train senior students in student-centered facilitated instruction and math skills review processes; and 3) provide a service component where participants will be encouraged to contribute to urban youth tutoring programs (with special emphasis on urban Aboriginal youth outreach programs as part of the UBC Aboriginal recruitment process).

Rationale: We recognize the availability of math tutoring resources through AMS and the Math Department (180 Workshops) however forestry students and, in particular, First Nations forestry students are still struggling with Math 180 and 100/101. In 2003, the failure rate of Math 100 amongst forestry students was 50.9%, and 100% for Aboriginal forestry students, as compared to overall UBC Math 100 failure rate of 14%. There is a critical need for teaching and mentoring processes that target groups with different cultural backgrounds (including those from small rural communities) and academic needs such as a math skills review. Difficulties with core courses such as Math 100 threatens the retention of these students and there are few resources available to address unique needs related to academic history or cross-cultural barriers.

Year 2: Project YearYear 2
Year 2: Funding Year2007/2008
Year 2: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 2: Principal InvestigatorCandace Parsons
Year 2: Funded Amount20,161
Year 2: Summary

This project was created to offer supplementary resources to promote student success in first-year math courses. By developing standardized assessment procedures to gauge students' readiness for the various first-year math courses available at UBC, and using the results to tailor specialized workshops addressing the weaknesses in students' skill sets, this project aims not only to ensure that students are placed in the math course which will benefit them the ' most, but also to support them and promote their success. In addition to actively helping students overcome the barriers they meet within their mathematics requirements, we also value the importance of equipping students to actively improve themselves. To supplement our efforts, we are developing a database of all the math resources (tutoring, workshops, instructional books, videos, etc.) available to our students, thus allowing them to proactively enrich their own learning experiences. Some preliminary results have been achieved in the first year of this project, but much additional work is required to satisfy these project goals.