Incorporating Student Contracts …, part 3 – Benefits
February 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment
Benefits
Here are some benefits of this approach.
Students remediate themselves.
One of the reasons for assigning homework is that we want students to work on material they haven’t mastered yet. When they struggle with a particular topic, we want them to seek out help. MML gives students the immediate feedback that will help students identify their problem areas, and also gives numerous support options to help them to selfremediate.
Students learn proper notation.
Because students have to type their answers using correct notation, their pencil and paper work is stronger in general.
Students form bonds with classmates.
I had students visiting the Math Tutorial Center and Computer Labs in small groups to help each other out with their homework.
Students work ahead.
I often post assignments the day before they are covered in class, and several of my students work on the assignments before I even discuss them in class.
Students put in an enormous amount of time and effort.
We know that effective time on task is a key indicator of success in a math class. Here’s a breakdown of the average amount of time spent working on homework and quizzes for the entire class over the first 4 exam periods.
Test 1: 6 hours, 46 minutes
Test 2: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Test 3: 10 hours, 40 minutes
Test 4: 12 hours, 37 minutes
Students learn where their “issues” are and ask for help.
Students find out where their trouble spots are in a timely fashion. They email questions to the instructor, ask for help from tutors and instructors in the Math Tutorial Center and Computer Labs, bring questions to class and my office, and help each other.
Students do their homework the way we want them to – they want to make sure they understand before it’s time for the quiz.
When my students have trouble with a particular problem, they take notes on that problem in case they face it on a later quiz or test.
How Do Students Feel?
They like it – they really like it! I gave an anonymous survey to 50 students who were in attendance one month before the end of the semester.
Question 1: How much time and effort have you devoted to this course, compared to your previous math courses?
Much Less 
1 
Slightly Less 
2 
Same 
9 
Slightly More 
15 
Much More 
23 
38 of the 50 students (76%) reported that they had devoted more time and effort that they had in their previous math courses.
Question 2: How much has the grading policy affected the time and effort you have devoted to this course?
Not At All 
2 
0 

Somewhat 
6 
8 

A Lot 
34 
48 of the 50 students (96%) reported that the grading policy had at least somewhat affected the time and effort the devoted to the course. 34 students (68%) replied the grading policy affected their effort “A Lot”.
Question 3: How much has MyMathLab increases your understanding of the material in this course?
Not At All 
0 
1 

Somewhat 
16 
8 

A Lot 
25 
49 of the 50 students (98%) reported that the use of MyMathLab had at least somewhat increased their understanding of the material in the course. 25 students (50%) replied “A Lot”.
Question 4: How has your performance on exams been compared to your expectations prior to the beginning of the semester?
Much Worse 
4 
Slightly Lower 
6 
Same 
13 
Slightly Higher 
15 
Much Higher 
12 
27 of the 50 students (54%) reported that their performance on the exams was higher than they expected. Only 10 students (20%) reported that they were doing worse on the exams than they had expected.
Question 5: If you had to take the final exam in this course, what grade would you expect to earn on that exam?
A 
6 
B 
22 
C 
19 
D 
2 
F 
1 
47 of the 50 students (94%) felt that they would pass the final exam if they were to take it, which shows a dramatic increase in their own confidence.
Question 6: If given a choice, would you take your next math course using MyMathLab?
Yes 
45 
No 
5 
90% of the students indicated that they would use MyMathLab in their next math course if they were given a choice.
I still use student contracts in my classes. I have made some changes, and will discuss some of those changes in upcoming updates.
Entry filed under: Math, Uncategorized. Tags: algebra, amatyc, developmental math, george woodbury, Math, student contracts, teaching.
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