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to assess student achievement of the General Education goal of Quantitative Reasoning at Capital Community College 2002-2003

The Common Math Assignment is based on data included in a front-page Hartford Courant article entitled "Poverty's Web Widens" (by Mike Swift, May 22, 2002). In fall 2002, ten teachers embedded the assignment into the course syllabi of fourteen sections of courses across a wide curricular range. Students were asked to read the text of the article, which discusses changes in income distribution throughout Connecticut, and then to study an accompanying data table, which was the basis for ten increasingly complex math questions. An eleventh question asked students to explicate how the math clarified the larger discussion of poverty in Connecticut, and a twelfth question linked the poverty issue and the mathematical formulations with a topic of importance to the course in which the CMA was embedded.

Five hundred students participated in the fall of 2002 and were graded for their work in whatever way made sense for the courses that they were in. One hundred of their papers were be randomly selected for special scoring by the Student Learning Assessment Team, using a rubric and methods designed by math teachers on the Team. The anonymity of these samples was carefully controlled, and individual scores were correlated with academic history categories to identify areas where math learning could be improved through targeted pedagogy. The anonymous aggregate results will be shared with the participating teachers and students.

The process will be repeated in the spring of 2003, and a report on the year's findings will be distributed to academic leaders as information to help in the planning of improved instructional and support services.

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