__Tim Curran's Homepage__

**Office Hours:**
Monday and Wednesday from 9:00pm-10:00pm in EDC – Room 251

Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30pm-9:30pm in FLC – Room FL1-207

Friday from 8:30am-9:30am in EDC – Room 251

**Online Testing Hours: **Monday and
Wednesday from 7:30pm - 9:00pm in EDC - Room C-204

EDC is located at 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville, CA 95667

***Please try the back door if for some reason the front door is locked.

Ideas for Improving a Grade in Math

**
Ideal Math Students...**

1) Are aware of where they stand in regard to necessary prerequisite skills, realizing that weaker skills require a greater time commitment to the course at hand.

2) Show up on time and stay to the end of class.

3) Act respectfully, like they are in an institution of higher learning. Ideal math students behave in a manner that does not inhibit the instructor from teaching or other students from learning.

4) Take responsibility for absences and are aggressive in making up work missed. They do not fall behind.

5) Have a positive attitude toward the subject matter at all times,
realizing that mathematics is a vital part of the preparation for life, work,
and on-going education.^{1} More specifically, they understand that:

·
The workplace requires
ever-increasing analytical and technical skills.^{1}

·
The problem-solving and
quantitative skills that they develop in any rigorous mathematics course are
invaluable to other disciplines, such as the social, biological, and behavioral
sciences.^{1}

·
Public policy issues often contain
a quantitative component. Thus, as an integral part of an informed electorate,
the ideal math student must be able to reason quantitatively.^{1}_{
}

· The skills they learn can be passed on to their children’s children’s children, thereby opening doors to rewarding career opportunities for generations to come.

6) Recognize where they stand in regard to the rate at which they work mathematical exercises. They continually strive to improve their processing speed without compromising accuracy.

7) Work in pencil, doing all problems sequentially downward in a neat and organized manner.

8) Do their own work! They understand what is expected of them in regards to academic integrity.

9) Will work ahead, rather than procrastinate. This includes doing as much of an upcoming assignment as possible prior to the instructor lecturing on it. After a session concludes, the ideal math student will:

· Review notes taken, highlighting important formulas, processes, and examples for study later on.

· Complete the related homework assignment, going so far as to take on extra problems related to weaker areas.

· Try to minimize the need to view a problem’s answer before finishing the problem.

· Seek help immediately whenever necessary, either directly from the instructor, or from a tutor or classmate. Ideal math students take advantage of the opportunities to utilize additional resources.

· Begin working on the next assignment by reading the textbook, following the author’s examples, and attempting some to all of the assigned problems.

· Grade the completed problems by first self-checking, then by checking against the author’s or instructor’s solutions, if available. Follow up graded material appropriately, by thoroughly going over an assignment after it is returned. Ideal math students make note of content that was not understood or just partially understood on a homework assignment, quiz, or test, and then commit to immediately taking on the necessary extra practice and/or study, in order to strengthen skills to a proficient level.

10) Follow up graded material appropriately, by thoroughly going over an assignment after it is returned. Ideal math students make note of content that was not understood or just partially understood on a homework assignment, quiz, or test, and then commit to immediately taking on the necessary extra practice and/or study, in order to strengthen skills to a proficient level.

11) Actively participate in class. This includes, but is not limited to, being attentive 100% of the time, asking questions to gain clarity, taking quality notes, diligently practicing when instructed to do so, volunteering answers to instructor’s questions when appropriate, taking a lead and setting a premium example during group work, and constantly anticipating where the instructor is heading during a lecture.

12) See more to a problem than greets the eye. For instance, the text may read:

·
“Evaluate vt – 16t^{2} when
v = 24 and t = 2.” The ideal math student sees “Determine the numeric value of
the expression vt – 16t^{2} after substituting 24 for the variable v and
2 for the variable t.”

·
“Solve x^{2} = 12x,” but
the ideal math student sees “Find the two solutions to the quadratic
equation x^{2} = 12x by first getting 0 on one side.”

·
“Use a calculator to determine a
four-decimal approximation to **ln 87**.” The ideal math student sees “To the
nearest ten-thousandth, use a calculator to find the number that one raises “**e”**
to in order to arrive at 87.” Learning to see more than greets the eye will
improve test scores.

13) Follow sound strategies for preparing to take a test. They will:

· Set aside an appropriate amount of time each day for 3-5 days, longer if studying for a midterm or final (always erring on the side of longer) to prep for a test.

· Review notes, committing to memory key formulas and/or processes.

· Study reviews provided in the textbook and/or by the instructor.

· Go over related quizzes and worksheets, re-trying all the problems, whether wrong or correct.

· Practice! Practice! Practice! Ideal math students do problems in the chapter reviews and/or teacher-suggested exercises, paying particular attention to their directions. When doing this necessary practice, ideal math students set up an environment that will be similar to the actual test-taking environment.

· Grade for correctness all practice done to prep for a test.

14) Follow an appropriate test-taking strategy. When taking a test, ideal math students will:

· Read directions very carefully.

· Think about the solution before getting started.

· Map out, either in writing or in their mind’s eye, the steps required to complete a problem.

· Finish every test or quiz in four phases by:

1) Doing the easiest, least time-consuming problems first.

2) Doing the medium problems, those that they are somewhat less confident about, but are not baffled by, or those problems considered easy, but more time-consuming.

3) Doing as much as they can on each of the hardest exercises (for possible partial credit).

4) Checking as much as time permits, especially those problems categorized as being medium. Ideal math students do not erase or cross-out a solution unless they are more confident about an alternative solution and, have the time to completely display the alternative for grading.

^{
1}
From “__The Argument for Raising the Mathematics Requirement__,” by The
California Mathematics Council of Community Colleges.