Kristin Harker, left, helps her students Jessica Cooper, center, and Hayley Hysell connect a string of rubber bands for a hands-on math lesson at Madison Consolidated High School. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Kristin Harker, left, helps her students Jessica Cooper, center, and Hayley Hysell connect a string of rubber bands for a hands-on math lesson at Madison Consolidated High School. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Madison Consolidated High School is one of six schools in Indiana participating in a pilot math program designed to prepare college-bound students who aren't ready for college-level math courses.

Math teacher Lee Strassell calls it a readiness class.

"There's a national - we can call it a national - epidemic of students entering college not ready for credit-bearing classes," Strassell said.

The new course, called transitional math, prepares those students to deal with a college courseload.

Strassell cited a study from the nonprofit group Complete College America that reported 46 percent of freshmen entering a two-year college, and 12 percent entering a four-year college need to be enrolled in math remediation courses.

Of those students, 63 percent at the two-year colleges and 57 percent at the four-year colleges complete the remediation courses.

"That is slap you in the dog-gone face crazy," Strassell said.

Which is why he is hoping to get transitional math approved as a senior-level math class in the future.

The class was developed by the Southern Regional Education Board. Strassell was one of several math teachers in the state to review the course before the pilot process began. He also agreed to help test transitional math at the high school.

Strassell asked Kristin Harker to teach the transitional math course. She went to a week-long training session to learn how to teach the class.

The course, Harker said, consists of more cooperative based learning, presentations and investigation than a normal math class.

"So far the class has been very successful," she said.

Harker said the course utilizes individualized activities to measure what students have learned from class activities.

"It's more of an assessment," she said

Strassell said the rigor of the class is meant to help students experience what the next level of schooling is like.

"That's what schools want now. Colleges are looking for four years of rigorous math classes."