Keep Calm and Pass the Math Test!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.15.00 PMMath is often the most feared and difficult content area for adult learners. As test takers are expected to demonstrate a higher understanding of number sense, mathematical reasoning, and algebraic thinking, how do we get adult learners past the High School Equivalency Math Test? Using information presented at Foundation Skills: Building a Foundation for Life, the 2014 Nebraska Adult Education Conference by Emily Duncan, Adult Education Coordinator from Northeast Community College, we are aligning the i-Pathways Basic Math and Math curriculum with the most commonly missed GED(r) Test Questions.

Let’s begin with the i-Pathways Basic Math. The goal of the i-Pathways Basic Math curriculum is to teach number sense and ensure any gaps in knowledge are addressed as students prepare for higher-level algebraic thinking in the Math curriculum. The units of instruction are:

  • Whole Numbers – Place Value, Rounding and Estimating
  • Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Decimals
  • Ratios and Proportions
  • Percentages 

Notice the units that address Ratios and Proportions and Percentages are bolded. This is because students are struggling with use scale factors to find the magnitude of size and change. They need to convert between actual drawings and scale drawings. Often, solving problems like this can be solved using proportions. Additionally, students need to solve two-step problems with percentages. In order to do this, students need to fully understand percentages and have practice with real word problems.

Once students have worked though the foundational concepts in Basic Math, they are ready to move into the Math Module. i-Pathways has 7 units of instruction. They are:

  • Introduction to Real Numbers
  • Variables and Algebraic Expressions
  • Introduction to Geometry
  • Linear Inequalities in One Variable
  • Linear Functions
  • Polynomials and Factoring
  • Rational Expressions

So, what are students missing on the GED® Test? And what are the i-Pathways connections? Students are struggling with the following:

GeometryScreen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.11.18 PM

  • computing the area and circumference of circles and find the radius and diameter of a circle when given the area or circumference
  • computing the perimeter and area of polygons, find side lengths of a polygon when given the perimeter or area
  • compute the perimeter and area of two dimensional composite shapes, which could include circles
  • These concepts are covered in i-Pathways: Unit 3: Introduction to Geometry

Linear Equations

  • creating linear expressions as part of word-to symbol translations or representing situations they are given
  • create one-or two variable linear equations to represent situations they are givenScreen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.08.01 PM
  • solving one-variable linear equations and formulas with multiple variables
  • solving linear inequalities in one variable
  • locating points on a coordinator plan
  • finding the slope of a line from a graph equation or table
  • These concepts are covered in i-Pathways: Units 4: Linear Inequalities in One Variable and 5: Linear Functions

Quadratic Equations

  • solving quadratic equations with real solutions
  • This concept is covered in i-Pathways: Units 6: Polynomials and Factoring

As Emilie shared her final thoughts about preparing students for their Math tests, she highlighted the need for students to understand Math vocabulary. It is the key to understanding problems and solving them correctly.Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.03.12 PM

Every lesson in i-Pathways begins with Key Terms. 

Thanks to Emilie Duncan for sharing her expertise at the conference!

3 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Pass the Math Test!

    • Pam, what part of Math are you struggling with? Please don’t stress. Let’s start with the beginning – build the foundation and get comfortable with the skills and build on them. Keep us posted and I will share some links with you that might help.

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