Since opening its doors in April 2013, student use of the Oklahoma State University’s Mathematics Learning Success Center has added up to big success.
Based on 2013 fall semester data, the center helped math students reach record success rates. Students enrolled in lower-level math succeeded at a rate of 75 percent or higher.
The amount of calculus tutoring has more than doubled. Business calculus students set a record with a success rate of more than 85 percent; and calculus I students succeeded at a rate of 70 percent, surpassing the national average by 10 to 20 percent.
“The statistics illustrate the serious commitment the university has made to instruction in mathematics and its dedication to ensure students get through entry level math courses,” said Chris Francisco, associate head for lower-division instruction with the OSU department of mathematics.
On average, students visited the MLSC 1,600 times every week during the fall semester, which produced a grand total of more than 23,000 student visits.
The 8,000 square-foot center on the fifth floor of the OSU Edmon Low Library is a cutting-edge facility that integrates new technology, experienced tutors and the finest theories of teaching mathematics.
The Mathematics Learning Success Center features 126 computers for online homework and lectures, 10 laptops for checkout, the opportunity to solve difficult problems with classmates via SMART boards, and the benefit of free personal tutoring.
“One of the most rewarding aspects for us has been seeing the students sitting down at the table talking to each other about the homework and trying to solve problems together in a collaborative environment,” Francisco said.
The lab is a product of the Success in Undergraduate Mathematics initiative at OSU, or SUMS. Francisco said the goal of SUMS is to lead the nation in mathematic research and college-level mathematic education by improving retention rates, propagating student success and dismantling mathematics as a filter for undergraduate students.
The free personal tutoring is available for OSU and Northern Oklahoma College math students during about 50 of the 60-plus hours per week that the center is open. It also offers low-cost tutoring for local high school students. Undergraduate students of various disciplines and OSU math professors provide the tutoring in both group and individual settings.
Students value the opportunity to collaborate on difficult problems. Freshman Christy Reis appreciates working with a fellow student or tutor to move past a problem. Plus, the collaboration helps the students truly enjoy math.
“It’s kind of fun seeing people I know and being able to do my homework with them in a centralized environment with tutors present,” Reis said.
While the MLSC is new, OSU’s leadership in providing mathematics instruction is not. OSU opened the Mathematics Learning Resource Center in 1985, which was the first of its kind in the country.