In the Fall 2018 semester, the Math Center administered 341 quizzes and tests and had 259 visits to drop-in tutoring. In Fall 2017, there were 102 students who signed in 589 times.
Keene State’s Math Center is commonly used among students with a math major, but the Center urges that any student is free to use the helpful opportunities and resources.
Math Center testing coordinator Lisha Hunter shared that, “There’s a piece of our culture as a whole that is very accepting of this idea that math is terrible and that it’s okay to be terrible at math. And [while] it’s true some will struggle with it more than others, [math] is a fact of life. We (the Math Center) would love to be a part in that shift that says, ‘math is hard, but it is a skill everyone can get better at, and we will give you the resources and the time to get better at it.’
Some students feel overwhelmed and nervous about the Math Center and asking for help.
“Many hear on the first day in the syllabus, here’s the math center, and here’s what we offer. If students were feeling apprehensive we would suggest to just give it a try once,” Hunter said.
The Math Center provides numerous options for help.
“We have four different areas where we offer help: Assessment and proficiency testing, drop in tutoring with one-on-one tutoring for certain classes. Another component is the PCAs (Peer Course Assistants), which offers in class support, and the fourth piece that we offer is help with the praxis exam for education majors,” Hunter said.
The Math Center is open for drop in Monday through Thursday. Hunter said the goal of the Math center is, “To provide a comfortable and relaxed place to come and do mathematics. We want to have a space where students know that they can come and find a group of people who want to help them, who want to see them succeed and even convey that mathematics is fun, and to be helpful to students,” Hunter said.
The Math Center is always looking for ways to make things more suitable for the students.
In Hunter’s years at KSC, she was also a math tutor and hopes that students will see how accessible and comfortable the environment truly is.
One of the head tutors and PCAs, Nicholas Ahlgren, works one-on-one with many students. He sees about 5 students a week regularly for tutoring.
“My main goal being a tutor is to help a student succeed in a math class when they know what they are doing and need extra guidance here and there, or if they had a bad mathematical upbringing, and help them learn from those issues,” Ahlgren said.
Ahlgren is a senior and has been tutoring since his freshman year. Through the years he has definitely seen a change is the way he has tutored.
“Before, I was more group oriented. Now I’m more individual, but I want to help each and every student do their problems that they need to. I’ll do problems with you then let you do some on your own,” Ahlgren said.
Ahlgren does customize and accommodate for each student he tutors.
“I would increase our hours if we had the ability to, we would love to be more out there on campus to increase students,” Ahlgren said.
Each student that comes into the math center explains the class they are taking, and then a tutor will be assigned. The student will also have to fill out a form for what they are really trying to get out of this experience.
“I’m hoping that since I won’t be here next fall that I can give new experience to the new PCAs who want to help the Math Center. Newer PCAs are going to need to learn how to adapt,” Ahlgren said.
A student Ahlgren tutors is Jackson Turni, a secondary education major, who spends most of his days at the Math Center and the mathematics building in general.
“I come probably every day—I have a math class every day—then come in here (the Math Center) all the time to do work,” Turni said.
The Math Center truly helps students, Turni says, and without the facility he feels like he wouldn’t be where he is today.
“The class I’m in right now is very challenging, and the resources that are here are very helpful and have helped me learn a lot more,” Turni said.
The Math Center provides almost everything, Turni says. The only thing they lack is being open on the weekends as well.
“Last week I was here from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Ahlgren has a study session til 8, and he stayed extra to make sure I fully understood what I was doing and helped me get it all done,” Turni said.
Turni has definitely put in the hours and it sure has payed off. He will more than likely continue with the program for the rest of his years here at KSC.
“I’m very [grateful] this is free, but I would still ask about the options,” Turni said.
He wants other student who might be on the fence about the Math Center to just give it a try.
“Just show up. There’s always a tutor here that will help during the week, and there are also other students willing to help as well,” Turni said.
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