Research News

UW-Madison's Wang, Prevost co-author chapter on contextualized math courses

September 05, 2017

UW-Madison’s Xueli Wang and Amy Prevost are co-authors of a chapter examining contextualized math courses that appears in the summer 2017 issue of the “New Directions for Community Colleges,” a series that covers current trends in the field of community college education.

Xueli Wang
Xueli Wang
The chapter from Wang and Prevost is titled, “A Researcher–Practitioner Partnership on Remedial Math Contextualization in Career and Technical Education Programs.” 

A preview explains: "This chapter documents a partnership between university-based researchers and community college instructors and practitioners in their collective pursuit to improve student success in manufacturing programs at a large urban two-year technical college, presenting an example of a contextualized instructional approach to teaching developmental math, tightly coupled with research activities that inform instructional practices.”

Wang, the lead author, is an associate professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and a faculty affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education.

Amy Prevost
Prevost is an assistant researcher with the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER).

Also co-authoring the chapter is Yan Wang, the director of institutional research at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The chapter explores how important contextualization is to maximizing student success, as supported by observation, surveys and interviews. Linking math concepts to real-world settings "approached mathematical ideas in myriad ways, and encouraged the pursuit of multiple solutions," and "as a result, students became eager to apply math, as they saw its role in the workforce they desire to enter."

The chapter also discusses how to use institutional data to better serve underprepared students, and how to sustain improvement efforts.