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Incoming freshmen who weren’t quite ready for calculus had a special opportunity to relearn material before the start of the fall semester. They were able to attend Math Camp, a three-week program, launched by the UMass Lowell Mathematics Department faculty, to give students who needed it an extra push toward competency.
Students majoring in engineering, science, math or sound recording technology must take the Calculus Readiness Test (CRT) prior to registering for orientation. The results of the test, developed by the math department, determine if the student is ready for a university-level calculus course.
The structure of Math Camp -- offered online and on campus -- gives students and the instructor the ability to track progress every week, and work on problems accordingly.
Adjunct Prof. Charles Ormsby, who has been teaching calculus for five years, and Prof. Ronald Brent are conducting the Math Camp.
“The program works to help students make that jump into calculus,” says Ormsby. "Success in Calculus I requires that students have a solid foundation in algebra and trigonometry. Without these skills, it is extremely difficult to comprehend the new concepts introduced in calculus and even more difficult to put those concepts into practice. Most of the time, when students fail calculus, they are really failing algebra and/or trigonometry," he explains.
Students get another chance to take calculus and parents like the idea of the extra help offered at the camp. Brent says, “Parents have told me that ‘properly assessing where my child belongs is fantastic,’ and one parent was amazed that ‘a professor at the university took the time to call me, on the weekend no less, to answer my questions about the placement procedure.’ ”