Effectiveness of Fast Track and Advanced Fast Track programs at Montgomery College and feasibility of expansion to other colleges and universities
In order to help students better prepare for the mandatory mathematics placement tests, some colleges have started to offer Accelerated Learning Programs. These programs offer refresher courses to enable students to review mathematics or reading skills and then to possibly reassess for placement into a higher level course--all within the same time frame as a traditional course. To this end, Montgomery College offers Fast Track and Advanced Fast Track review courses. The Fast Track review course offered at Montgomery College is a 20 hours intensive review of pre-algebra and elementary algebra topics and is intended for students who would like the opportunity to try to improve their course placement. Depending on the student's score in the Fast Track examination, a student can potentially place into a higher level mathematics course. The Advanced Fast Track review course offered at Montgomery College is a 20 hours intensive review of topics pertaining to elementary algebra and intermediate-algebra. Students who successfully complete Advanced Fast Track will be eligible to take a college level math course. A math course is considered a college level math course if it can be used to complete the course requirements for a degree at Montgomery College. The main purpose of this study was to determine if the Fast Track and Advanced Fast Track review courses at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland do adequately prepare students for academic success in their subsequent college level mathematics classes at Montgomery College. This research examined the longitudinal effectiveness of the Fast Track and Advanced Fast Track courses at Montgomery College. The student's success rates in the college level mathematics courses were thoroughly examined, and compared to success rates of students with similar backgrounds who did not take Fast Track/Advanced Fast Track courses. Also included in this research was a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data by utilizing the SPSS software. First attempt grades of Montgomery College students in developmental as well as college level mathematics courses from 1999 to present were gathered and analyzed. Twenty students of Montgomery College, Rockville Campus who have participated in Fast Track/Advanced Fast Track programs, and twenty students who have not were interviewed. This includes a total of nine students who have taken Fast Track and eleven students who have taken Advanced Fast Track courses.