Incoming UNLV Freshmen Attend Math Bootcamp - 8 News NOW

Incoming UNLV Freshmen Attend Math Bootcamp

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LAS VEGAS -- A summer bridge program is being offered to some incoming UNLV freshmen to help them improve necessary math skills.

Even though students are accepted into college, according to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, many students struggle in math with such concepts as ratios, fractions and scientific notation.

The university is trying to turn things around.

Classes are already in session for 400 UNLV freshman, although no college credit is earned.

The program is designed to prepare the incoming students for college-level math courses.

Ricardo Rodriguez, who graduated from Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, took honors algebra, but still missed the mark on his placement test.

Now he is playing catch-up.

"I don't want to take remedial math," Rodriguez said. "You have to pay for it, but you don't get college credit."

He said the summer bootcamp is better not only because it costs less, but he will be able to register for college-level courses his first semester as a freshman, instead of losing a semester to remedial studies.

UNLV Academic Success Center Dean Ann McDonough said the program helps solve a complex equation.

"We can all stare at the problem and say, oh, my gosh this is a real problem, or we can use that energy and find solutions," McDonough said.

Why are some graduates unprepared for key college level courses? Interim Dean Rama Venkat of UNLV's College of Engineering sums it up.

"When we looked at the data last couple of years, what we noticed is that the students were coming from (Clark County School District)," Venkat said. "That's where we draw most of our students from -- 25 percent of them are at least a year away from starting the first level of courses that we need in mathematics, which means that they are already two years behind."

The benefits of the program allow students to save time and money. Also, many math-based careers are in demand, they are higher paying and despite what the economy does, they remain strong.

"Even though the job market has been really bad for most areas, engineering never suffered," Venkat said.

Rodriguez, an aspiring businessman, said he isn't letting a few problems stand in the way of his future.

"I know I'm going to pass," he said.

In the fall of 2012, 30 percent of UNLV's incoming freshman who enrolled in remediation courses were from Nevada.

The Clark County School District released the following list of programs it is running to improve students' math skills:

Elementary Schools

Walter Bracken STEAM Academy;

Mabel Hoggard Elementary School - Math and Science;

John Vanderburg Elementary School - Rainforest Biosphere;

Frank Lamping Elementary School - William McCool Science Center;

Middle Schools

Jim Bridger Middle School - Academy of Mathematics, Science and Engineering;

James Cashman Middle School - Academy of Mathematics, Science and Engineering;

Hyde Park Middle School - Academy of Science and Mathematics;

High Schools

Ed W. Clark High School - Academy of Mathematics, Science and Applied Technology, Academy of Finance;

Desert Pines High School - Institute for Integrated Studies at Desert Pines HS, Academy of Information Technology;

Ranch High School - Academy of Aerospace and Aviation.

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