Math lab upgrade boosts student performance

Wesley Tabor

Need help with your MA 112 or MA 116 course? The new Mabee Library math lab can help.

The math lab opened in mid-August 2019 and is designed to help students with diagnostic testing and individualized tutoring. Traditionally, a student must pass a diagnostic test to enroll in MA 112 and MA 116 – the two courses that are requirements for a variety of degrees.

The lab’s comfortable and quiet environment has provided a great study space and enhanced student and lab staff interaction.

“This environment is more relaxing compared to a classroom setting because you can get more one-on-one help,” said Math Lab manager Melissa Mikkelsen.

The lab registered nearly 1,200 student check-ins within the first two months of operation – from mid-August to late October 2019.

Additionally, the lab has boosted pass rates across all course groups: Remedial, Contemporary Math and College Algebra, according to Associate Dean Matt Arterburn’s official performance report conducted in fall 2019.

In past semesters, an average of 58% of students would pass their fundamental math course with a C or better. Under the new system in fall 2019, 73% of students passed their fundamental math course, according to Arterburn’s performance report.

The success has come much sooner than Arterburn expected.

“The goal was to see a 70% student success rate by the end of spring 2021,” said Arterburn in an email Monday. “To have achieved this already represents an unanticipated level of success.”

Flexibility for scheduling and staff friendliness are a few more factors of the lab’s recent success.

“We’re open after 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and we’re open on Sunday,” said Mikkelsen. “We see a lot of students utilizing those flexible hours.”

Sophomore public administration major Chartell Grissom gave some recognition to Mikkelsen for remaining patient with students when being asked the same question repeatedly.

“I went in and the math lab was overflowing with people trying to do diagnostic testing,” said Grissom. “She [Mikkelsen] never got frustrated with anyone and was going around the lab helping students.”

Students can find lab hours and additional information for tutoring on the official Washburn University webpage.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Jada Johnson