The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Remedial math benefits students

By Allison Dooley/reporter

Some TCC students may have a negative view of developmental classes, thinking they have no value, but many students who take these classes find them helpful and realize the benefits they offer.

“I think it is a waste of time and money,” NW student Teresa Torres said. “You have to pay for the class and books, and you don’t even get credit for the class.”

A majority of new students are shocked to find out they cannot register for college algebra classes and must take developmental classes if their TAKS or Accuplacer scores are not high enough.

Math lab tutor Mike Manzanares assists student Mina Naem with her work in the NE Campus lab. Students can access math Web sites and practice tests as well as receive one-on-one tutoring through the math labs that can be found on all five campuses.  Photo by Casey Holder/The Collegian
Math lab tutor Mike Manzanares assists student Mina Naem with her work in the NE Campus lab. Students can access math Web sites and practice tests as well as receive one-on-one tutoring through the math labs that can be found on all five campuses. Photo by Casey Holder/The Collegian

“Math is like fingernails on the chalkboard. For some people, it is painful. But we need to know it and learn it,” NW counselor Connie Alexander said.

Depending on their test scores, developmental math students are placed into one of three levels of math classes. Most students qualify for the top-level Intermediate Algebra class, where they can brush up on their math skills during the course. Other students start in the first-level Beginning Math or second-level Beginning Algebra. After earning at least a C, students advance to the next level available eventually enrolling in college algebra or other college-level math classes.

An estimated 69-74 percent of first-time college students take some form of remedial classes, said Linda Hines, TCC’s director of institutional research.

“Many students choose to self-remediate even though they pass the exam,” Hines said.

Many reasons contribute to the high number of students required to take developmental classes. Some students just struggle in math while Alexander thinks some students did not take the subject seriously in high school.

“Some people going through high school never figured they would need algebra,” she said.

Freshmen are not the only ones required to take developmental classes. The increasing number of adults going back to college also plays a role. Since some of the adult students have not been in a classroom for 10 or 20 years, they have forgotten many things they once knew.

“Many people get into remedial classes because they have forgotten or took the class too quick,” Alexander said.

Annette Benbow, NW professor and math department chair, believes it is still important to take math classes with a positive attitude, even for students who do not want a career in the mathematical field. Benbow believes students can learn a lot more from math classes than just long formulas filled with numbers and letters.

“The real benefit of math is logical reasoning,” she said. “The step-by-step process will help anyone in the future.”

Professors are not the only ones who think remedial classes turn out to be more beneficial than most people think. Several NW students agree.

“In high school, I would memorize how to follow the steps for calculus without learning it,” said Monica Dominguez, a former developmental student.

“After maybe a year of core classes at TCC, I took my Accuplacer and was baffled with my placement in Math 0305. I came to the conclusion that I should learn this time around instead of memorizing steps like I did in high school. With the help of the encouraging TCC professors, I am excelling in statistics now.”

Dominguez thinks if other students study hard and take the class seriously, they will see a huge improvement.

“Remedial math should be taken with enthusiasm because it helps students actually understand the concepts needed without the pressure of a faltering GPA,” Dominguez said.

Rolando Flores tutors in the NW Campus math lab and works with a large number of students needing help and guidance with the subject.

“Well over half of the students in here every day are remedial students. There is a drastic improvement in the students who come in for help and actually put the effort into learning,” Flores said.

The NW math lab is accessible to all students six days a week. Practice tests and Web sites are available for students in all campus testing centers.

Math is not the only developmental class that may be required. Many students are being placed in reading or English developmental classes if their reading or English scores are not high enough.

In the past, students struggled in college algebra and often dropped or failed the class.

Developmental classes started as a way for students to learn math at the level needed to succeed and eventually pass college algebra.

Developmental classes have been offered since NW Campus opened, according to NW mathematics dean Gloria Mills.

The credits earned in developmental classes cannot be counted toward a degree, but many students believe taking the class is well worth it.

“To sum up what I learned in developmental math, all I can say is I get it now,” NW student Miya McClary said. “I don’t feel like it put me behind. It has allowed me to pace myself. I look at these classes as prerequisites for success.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian