U-M and Detroit school work together to raise math standards

October 16, 2006
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Once a week, University of Michigan mathematics lecturer Nkem Khumbah drives to Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School to work with math teachers to help bring 175 high school students up to college level.

The plan: Give public high school students the chance to learn what’s expected in college level mathematics courses through the Michigan Calculus Achievement Project (M-CAP), an effort to align high school mathematics instruction with the expectations of a rigorous college calculus course.

The King students are part of a project that could eventually be expanded into other schools.

Research shows many Americans and some teachers lack sound mathematical skills, leaving U.S. 12th grade math students trailing their peers in 21 other nations. In turn, many college freshmen feel insecure by the time they reach a college math class. U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Comprehensive Studies Program is trying to help bridge that gap with the new program.

The project is the brainchild of CSP Director William Collins who has long noticed that too many high school students enter college unfamiliar with the expectations of faculty.

” We want to challenge students to develop a solid foundation in mathematics and thus to have a better idea of what’s expected so that they can be ready for calculus courses in college,”