, Muskogee, OK

October 13, 2012

High school officials see math as key

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— More 11th- and 12th-graders are taking math classes as area high schools seek to reduce the percentage of their graduates taking remedial college courses.

Schools also are offering courses focusing on improving ACT scores, which colleges use for admission and placement.

Statistics from the Board of Regents for Higher Education showed 47 percent of freshmen at Oklahoma community colleges took remedial math in 2011. The 2011 figures also showed 26 percent of freshmen took remedial English and 18.2 percent took remedial reading.

Of first-time Connors State College students, 63.5 percent took remedial math, followed by 35.5 percent English and 23.4 percent remedial reading. CSC Director of College and Community Relations Lyndsey Sullivan said about half of CSC’s incoming freshmen are traditional students just out of high school and the other half is made up of students returning to school.

MHS has revamped its math classes for all four grades.

The Education Oversight Board Office of Accountability showed 54.3 percent of Muskogee High School graduates from 2008 to 2010 took at least one remedial course.  The state average for those years was 39.2 percent of Oklahoma high school graduates taking a remedial course.

“We’re pushing our juniors and seniors to get into the higher-level math classes,” said MHS Principal Dewayne Pemberton.

The high school also has students taking geometry before they take Algebra II. In the past, when students took Algebra II first, many MHS students took the ACT test before having taken geometry, a major component of the ACT test.

MHS also offers ACT preparation classes, Pemberton said. “And our college and career center has seven computers where kids can do ACT prep work.

Reports from the Education Oversight Board Office of Accountability showed 42.6 percent of Fort Gibson High School graduates from 2008 to 2010 took at least one remedial course at an Oklahoma college.

“We’re now trying to get upper classes to take math so they don’t have to lay out a year,” said Fort Gibson Principal Gary Sparks said.

He said FGHS students still need math refreshers “even though they have taken their three required math classes.”

The state’s college preparatory/work ready curriculum requires three units of mathematics, which would include Algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, calculus or math analysis.

Sparks said FGHS offers upper-level math classes such as calculus, math finance, and statistics.

FGHS offers ACT preparation courses in the fall and spring trimesters.

The Education Oversight Board Office of Accountability showed 41.3 percent of Hilldale High School graduates took at least one remedial course from 2008 to 2010.

Hilldale encourages its students to enroll in an ACT prep course, said HHS counselor Judy Moore.

“The class spends half a semester doing ACT math and half a semester doing ACT English,” Moore said.

She said her office also helps students access programs offered in the area and online.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or