Chattanooga State Community College Higher Education Tech Innovation

U Do the Math turns students into active learners and instructors into learning facilitators.

“For us, the success of our developmental math course redesign is measured in the number of students who are successfully completing their developmental course sequence in less time, therefore saving money for the students, (and allowing them to enter) college-level math courses sooner.”
—Katie Acks, Professor of Mathematics, University of Hawaii Maui College

The Innovation: U Do the Math Program

The U Do the Math program tackles the problem of student success in developmental math courses, using a student-centric approach. Students work through online course modules by solving math problems in class and at a central computer lab. Instructors function as learning partners, working together with students as needed on the course. Students progress at their own pace, advancing to the next module when they prove subject mastery. When they complete all modules in a course successfully, students can immediately continue to the next course in the developmental math sequence, giving them the option of exiting developmental math in one semester.

Results Achieved: Students—including those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those in high school—thrive in U Do the Math’s supportive learning community.

  • Effective for the institution: By using U Do the Math, Chattanooga State’s increased student success in developmental math from 48% to 65%. With its streamlined developmental math sequence, the college saw a 44% increase in students successfully exiting the program into college-level math courses.
  • Benefits low-income students: During the NGLC grant period, low-income students in U Do the Math at Chattanooga Stateperformed at nearly identical levels as all other students in course completion, fall-to-spring semester retention, and completing more than one developmental course in a single semester. 
  • Improves transitions for high school students: When U Do the Math was brought into high schools, it had a 67% completion rate in its first year. The initiative saved students $6.4M in tuition and textbook costs and sent 5,000 students who would have required developmental courses right into college-level math when they started college.

Long-term Goals: 

  • Expand the U Do the Math program to other higher education institutions nationally through its partnership with Education Trust
  • Expand to high schools statewide as part of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program.
1st ever Legacy Award goes to U Do the Math

Participating Institutions:

  • Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC)
  • University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC)

Dissemination Partner:

  • The Education Trust

The Grant Project:

Chattanooga State received a grant in April 2011. 

NGLC’s grant financed the establishment of the U Do the Math program in partner institutions. Project leaders promoted broader adoption by preparing classrooms and math labs for the new model , refining the developmental math courses and sequence, and disseminating program practices.