By Staff Reports
(Victorville) – Victor Valley College was recently notified it had been awarded a $1.4 million grant to support a plan VVC faculty developed to improve student outcomes in math. The California Community colleges Board of Governors approved $60 million in grant funding for the California Community Colleges Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation Program – VVC is the recipient of one of 43 awards. This program sought evidenced-based proposals for projects to change remedial education and help more students overcome challenges inhibiting completion of college degrees and certificates statewide.
“Our students are the real winners here,” said Stephen Toner, Victor Valley College Math Department Chairperson and chief architect of the plan that won support. “We have studied successful programs and are rebuilding ours to remove barriers facing our students in math so more will graduate.”
The Victor Valley College Successful Advancement in Math (SAM) project accelerates implementation of a plan the math faculty have been developing to improve student outcomes in four key ways.
- First, students were previously placed into remedial math courses based primarily on their assessment test scores. SAM will add additional measures such as performance in high school math to determine student placement into math courses.
- Second, students who assessed into remediation often found themselves required to complete a lengthy sequence of courses before they would take college level math. SAM will allow students to participate in remediation alongside or within select college courses.
- Third, all students regardless of their educational or career plans were required to master algebra in order to graduate. SAM introduces a statistics-based pathway which many find more applicable to their goals.
- Fourth, support services such as tutoring have been available to math students in a remote Math Success Center. SAM will relocate these services to a space adjacent to math classrooms to ensure more students take advantage of them.
To make these changes happen faster, this grant makes a significant investment in staff training and planning activities. With grant resources, Victor Valley College will be able to invite area high school math teachers to participate in professional development activities as well.
“We know that education is important, even for teachers,” said Toner. “Unfortunately, until now the opportunity to participate in training programs has been limited to only a few faculty. This grant allows faculty to meet together, share effective teaching techniques, and develop new curriculum and teaching practices together.”
Recent data shows 74 percent of students enrolling at community colleges in California are in need of remedial instruction in math or English or both. Acting Chancellor of the California Community Colleges Erik E. Skinner says basic skills instruction serves as a foundation for student success, “These funds will have a tremendous impact on ensuring students with basic skills needs will have access to classes and programs to help achieve their higher education and career goals.”
Victor Valley College is one of 113 community colleges statewide providing Associate Degree, University Transfer and Career Technical training. For more information about Victor Valley College and its programs visit www.vvc.edu
The grant proposal that secured the award was developed by the Victor Valley College Foundation – in coordination with the VVC Math Department – in its ongoing effort to help Victor Valley College better serve the local community. The Foundation is the college’s primary resource development, alumni outreach and public relations partner. For more information about the Foundation and how you can help make higher education more available and effective for Victor Valley College students visit www.vvcfoundation.com