January 22, 2009
Students laboring over their math homework may not realize it, but passing Algebra turns out to be a gateway to later achievement in life.
According to a recent study from the American Institute of Research, students who complete Algebra II are more than twice as likely to graduate from college compared to students with less math preparation. Algebra mastery can help remedy the persistent achievement gap in public schools, since students who complete Algebra II go to college and earn a degree at the same rate no matter what their race or income.
Skilled math tutors are in high demand, yet there is no nationally recognized math tutor-training program. Now, thanks to a $25,000 gift from the AT&T Foundation, UNC Asheville's Math Department is launching a new Math Tutor Certification Program to ensure that math tutors in Asheville City and Buncombe County schools can perform at the highest levels.
The long-term goal of the program is to create a cadre of math tutors skilled in teaching, and knowledgeable about school policies and the math curriculum that students are studying in each grade. "We are seeking to develop a math tutor certification program for Asheville and Buncombe County that will serve as a national model for training math tutors to be effective, knowledgeable and accountable," said David Peifer, UNC Asheville Mathematics Department Chair and Associate Professor.
The generous donation from AT&T will help support the first of three phases of a Math Tutor Certification Program. The first phase will focus on developing a curriculum for training math tutors, the second phase will be a 2009-2010 math tutor pilot program serving several Asheville and Buncombe County schools, and the third phase will be an expansion of the program.
"Unfortunately, teachers alone cannot give the required attention for success in math to every single student," said LaVoy Spooner, AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs. "No matter how many resources teachers have, student achievement is uneven. Some students need more individual review and encouragement. Our grant seeks to help supply trained tutors who will meet this need in our schools systems and after-school programs. AT&T is pleased to present this gift to UNC Asheville in support of the university's continued commitment to enhancing educational attainment for all students and especially those who face the greatest educational challenges."
The Math Tutor Certification Program is a project of UNC Asheville's Math Department community outreach effort, the Asheville Initiative for Math (AIM).
For more information about the Math Tutor Certification Program, call UNC Asheville's Math Department at 828.251.6556.