CL1 - Stories: MathExcel: Calculus Among Friends



MathExcel: Calculus Among Friends
- by Mike Freeman

Advantages to MathExcel: Better grades and retention
The MathExcel calculus class at the University of Kentucky is designed to give capable students the best chance to excel in this crucial course and have more successful college careers. MathExcel students volunteer for special sections of calculus that encourage collaborative learning in a personal and communal atmosphere. All students in calculus take the same tests and are graded on the same standards

MathExcel students get much better grades:

MathExcel students graduate from UK at a higher rate1:

Note that MathExcel Students do not have exceptional natural ability: their Math ACT score is always within two points of the rest of the class, and usually closer. MathExcel, by far the best calculus class at UK, is composed almost entirely of women, minorities, and rural students. In Fall 1995, 40 of the 68 MathExcel students were women, 10 were African-Americans, and 36 were rural students2. There was 1 white urban male. In Fall 1992 five of the top 6 students in Calculus I were in MathExcel. Four of these were women and the man was from a rural district. The top 2 overall were MathExcel women from rural districts.

  1. These are the classes which have had at least 6 years to graduate. There were 17 MathExcel students in 1990, 52 in 1991, and 77 in 1992. The MathExcel total overall is 146.
  2. Many of the women were from rural areas. Each year there are from 1 to 4 white males from urban schools.

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