The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation to Help CSU Dominguez Hills Bridge Math Proficiency Divide

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation has awarded California State University, Dominguez Hills a $250,000 grant allocated over two years to expand its summer and first year developmental math program to include all incoming freshmen who require additional math courses to bring them to college-level proficiency.

Lack of true college-readiness in math in the critical first year of his or her university experience has been shown to have negative implications on a student’s ability to continue their college education, especially for students who come from low-income areas and are often the first in their families to attend college. The grant also will allow the university to explore promising practices and pedagogy in developmental math.

Despite meeting CSU admission eligibility, many of CSU Dominguez Hills’s incoming freshmen who take the CSU-standardized Entry Level Math (ELM) exam, which freshman must take prior to enrolling to determine their math placement, test into developmental math. In 2008, university officials began looking at how they could better serve these students and improve their success rate. The result was the creation of the Developmental Education Academy, which provides summer courses and first-year support to students who score lowest on the ELM. It was initially designed for 150 Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students and later doubled to include students outside the EOP program. Grants, including ones from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, have supported the program.

Progress reports over the past three years indicate that more than 90 percent of students in the academy successfully complete their remediation requirements within one year and boast higher grade point averages and number of units completed compared to the general freshman population. In addition, the attrition rate of academy students is lower.

This new grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation will allow CSU Dominguez Hills to institute a program that will seek to increase academic success and persistence among all freshmen needing developmental math by implementing strategies and activities that have proved effective in the Developmental Education Academy. Students will take part in a rigorous summer program and will be placed in cohort classes and receive supplemental instruction throughout their first academic year.

“Research and experience tell us that these practices work,” Martin Blank Jr., chief operating officer and trustee of The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation explains. “We hope that this comprehensive effort at CSUDH will demonstrate the kinds of student successes that are possible, even among academically under-prepared students, and that these practices are adopted system wide.”

“We are honored to receive this grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation to further develop and expand this impressive program,” said University President Mildred García. “As one of the most diverse public universities west of the Mississippi, this provides us with another tool to help our students progress toward their degree.”

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