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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

‘Second Chance’ for math students

Second Chance, an experimental program allows students with at least a C in their math course to retake their final exam if they failed or missed it the first time around. Photo by || Kimberly Washington || [email protected]

The math department at City College is examining the possibility of implementing Second Chance, an experimental program that would allow students to repeat their final in order to pass the class.

A panel of math professors met March 17 to discuss the results of the experiment.

The discussion was led by a four-professor panel, which included math professors John Segal, Hsiao Wang, Debbie Van Sickle and Angelena Lambert. Although the program is currently limited to the math department, professors from other departments attended to consider the feasibility of implementing Second Chance.

At the end of the fall 2010 semester, 20 students were selected from Math 100 and Math 120 classes and given the opportunity to retake their final exams according to the panel. The goal was to see if students who had maintained at least a C in their math courses but had failed or missed their finals, could pass their final exams.

This idea behind this program is that it would save math students time and money and help the math department, which is already impacted because of course cuts.

Ryan Tidwell, a student at City College taking general education classes, said, “It would be great to see that in a lot of other classes like an English class or a history class.”

The criteria for participating in Second Chance included students who demonstrated good attendance and consistently turned in homework. They were chosen to attend intensive study sessions, three hours a day for five days before the exam. Tutors were present to work individually with the participants. The students’ math teachers determined who passed and who did not. The teachers also determined the students’ final grades, regardless of the exam results.
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Many questions were discussed during the meeting, in particular how faculty could ensure that Second Chance students were proficient enough to not only reach the next math level, but could also succeed once there.

“A student who is getting an 80 percent in the class and turns in their homework but who for some reason tanks on the final is the perfect candidate,” said Segal.

Luke Procopio, a student at City College finishing his general education, said, “I would want to do it. It’s better than failing.”

With the economy directly affecting City College through funding cuts, fee hikes and class shortages, Second Chance is seen by some in the math department as a cost-effective way for students to save time and money that would otherwise be spent repeating courses.

“The program was a way for the college to spend a small amount of money to save a large amount of money,” said Van Sickle.

Segal emphasized that Second Chance is still very much in the experimental phase.

“We have a lot more work to do before we know if some version of this will become a part of our program,” said Segal. “At the present time we only have plans to try this one more time with a very limited number of students from just two courses. We will then analyze the results and decide how to go forward.”

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