UH Math Course Aligns with Career Readiness

August 2013 | Houston, Texas
BY: Amy Williams

The University of Houston's (UH) teachHouston program and Leigh Hollyer, lecturer in the UH Department of Mathematics at UH, have partnered in an effort to streamline math courses for career readiness to students. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board funded the grant to UH in Summer 2012 in hopes that better techniques and approaches would be gained from this effort.

Math 3311, Functions and Modeling, is taught by Hollyer and is the course that was chosen to participate in the grant study. It is considered a Writing in the Disciplines course, as students learn how to correctly communicate mathematical concepts, as well as understand math from an analytical perspective.

According to Hollyer, "The study’s purpose was to see how we can better serve and prepare our students who are going into Mathematics education."

This was done by bringing in two former teachHouston alumni and one student teacher who is a teachHouston senior — all of whom have formerly taken MATH 3311, yet each brings a different perspective to the table based on their teaching careers. Hollyer also received feedback from a Mathematics of Arts in Mathematics graduate student who has 18 years of high school math teaching experience.

“By bringing in these three former students, we were able to see what they learned in 3311 that was beneficial to their career of teaching math and what, in hindsight now that they are in the field, could have been taught in more detail or taught differently in the course,” Hollyer explained.

In Fall 2012, the class was evaluated on its list of functions and exponential pattern worksheets covered during the semester. Both parts of the class are meant to contain material high school students learn in pre-calculus and calculus. Hollyer separately reviewed content covered in her class with each former 3311 student and then compared their findings with one another’s experience in the workplace.

Hollyer has adapted the course’s learning outcomes based on the results that the grant study produced.

“The student and alumni on the committee came up with a variety of new functions, interesting quotations and reflection questions that were incorporated into the handouts,” Hollyer concluded, “The graduate student provided a great deal of experience in developing the new worksheets.”

Hollyer’s newly changed Function List and Pattern Worksheet are readily available for all secondary or postsecondary educators who would like to see what is trending in career readiness and pre-calculus/calculus high school classes. To receive more information on either one of these tools, please contact Hollyer directly.