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L&C Giving High School Students an Algebra Advantage

Article by: Laura Inlow, linlow@lc.edu
GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is making the transition to higher education easier for area students who might not otherwise sign up for a fourth year of math during high school.

“Many students who have a hard time with math and who decide to take their senior year off tend to do poorly once they reach the college level,” said L&C Math Professor Tom Steinmann.

Algebra Advantage is a pilot program, currently offered at Brussels, Bunker Hill, Civic Memorial and Staunton High Schools, which encourages students to stay in math for a fourth year, while at the same time preparing them to jump straight into college level math once they enter Lewis and Clark.

“So far, two semesters of the program are yielding positive results in our participating high schools,” said L&C Dean of Transfer Programs Jill Lane. 

Students taking part in the Algebra Advantage program take L&C’s MATH 112 – Elementary Algebra, during the fall semester of their senior year, then those scoring a C or better move onto MATH 116 – Intermediate Algebra in the spring.

Because they are taken at the high schools, these courses are free and waive the need for students to take a math placement exam when they arrive at L&C.

In addition, they feed into college-level courses such as MATH 137 – Elementary Math Modeling, MATH 145 – General Education Statistics, MATH 131 – College Algebra, and MATH 142 – Math for Elementary Education Teachers, which saves students both time and money. 

“What a wonderful opportunity Algebra Advantage is for high school students,” said Clarissa Maag, a teacher at Civic Memorial High School. “To be able to gain Lewis and Clark Community College credit and be academically ready to enter higher level math courses right after high school is invaluable.”

“My experience with the Algebra Advantage offering was very positive,” said Cynthia Albrecht, a math teacher at Bunker Hill High School. “For those students motivated to start college study on level, it provided a great opportunity for review and catchup.”

L&C Vice President of Academic Affairs Linda Chapman said the college would like to expand the program to include more high schools. Teachers at each school would be paired with a full time L&C math instructor to implement the program.

“Nearly 76 percent, or 31 of 41 students that participated last year, will be able to enroll in L&C math at college level,” Chapman said. “Based on their high school success, those students are currently being observed to see how they do once they reach college.”

Schools interested in adding the Algebra Advantage to their curriculum, or those wanting to know more, can contact Steinmann at (618) 468-4845 or tsteinma@lc.edu.