The idea is to have students spend about six weeks mastering arithmetic or basic algebra, for example, but some students might take less or more time to finish. “We want to make sure they don’t burn too much time trying to master remedial subjects, which usually takes up to 30 weeks,” Jensen says.

In the end, students should master enough math to graduate in their degree. Students studying business, for example, would likely need a statistics course; the emporium can help them develop a fundamental knowledge of algebra and some basic statistical data, Jensen says.

Creating your own emporium
Jensen encourages other colleges to approach remedial education in a similar way. Here’s how.

Step 1: Define an inviting, pleasant space.
“Students are already afraid of math and we want to take that fear away. You can’t put it in basement or at the end of hall; it has to be welcoming,” he says.

Does your college have a math concierge? #highered #remedialmath #algebra

Step 2: Staff it with the right people.
Be sure to hire supportive people who are non-judgmental and believe in students’ ability for success.

Step 3: Be open minded.
Set aside traditional notions of how students learn. Students can finish courses in about four to six weeks.

About the Author:

Angela Pascopella, a newspaper and magazine writer/editor for nearly 30 years, is a freelance writer in Connecticut.


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