~At some universities, as many as 66% of students are not passing key math courses ~
Tampa, FL-In a report released today by ENLACE Florida, over 20,000 state university students in Florida either withdrew or did not receive a passing grade in key math courses required for them to fulfill university requirements during the 2007-2008 academic year. At some institutions such as Florida International University and Florida Gulf Coast University, students are more likely not to pass than succeed in College Algebra and Trigonometry; the same holds true for Florida Atlantic University’s Math for the Liberal Arts course. “Improving student performance in these gatekeeper courses constitutes an important part of a much larger effort to improve graduation and retention rates throughout the state and nation,” said Paul Dosal, Ph.D., Executive Director for ENLACE Florida. ENLACE Florida’s big goal is to help increase the percentage of Floridians age 25 and older with a post-secondary degree to 60% by 2025. In the report, ENLACE Florida examines State University System (SUS) data on student performance in mathematics and revealed that 37% of SUS students enrolled in a Math gatekeeper course during the 2007-2008 academic year did not pass. “While some professors may argue that this is a reasonable rate of failure in difficult classes, when rates approach 65%, we should all begin to wonder why fewer than four out of every ten students manage to pass a course,” said Dosal. The new report calls for deans, department chairs, and professors to take a comprehensive look at the factors that might contribute to such disappointing rates, such as the class size and structure, curriculum, and the pedagogical methods of the instructor. The University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida tend to post the lowest math course failure and withdraw rates in the state according to the report. To encourage and facilitate independent analysis, ENLACE Florida has posted their database on their Web site. ENLACE Florida encourages institutions within the SUS to conduct a comprehensive analysis of their gatekeeper math courses and professors including a careful review of student preparation, test scores, class size, teaching methods, and curriculum by course. ENLACE Florida stands ready to assist with research and analysis at any institution.