Northridge Math

Project Summary

Title: Bridging the Gap: Improving Passing Rates in Math 103 – Mathematical Methods for Business

Category: Improving Success in Mathematics Courses

About 3,250 students a year at California State University Northridge (CSUN) enroll in an introductory mathematics course that fulfills a major program requirement or a prerequisite to one. In these courses, only 55-65% of students achieve a grade of C or better. (These numbers are not unique to CSUN.) The entrance requirements to the CSU call for students to have exposure to all or most of the prerequisite material in these courses. The dominant reason for failure in these courses is the lack fluidity and/or depth of understanding of the mathematics taken in secondary school. What is missing is a bridge between the prerequisites and the college-level course material.

This project will develop a “Bridge-the-Gap” solution to increase student success in these courses. The solution model has two key elements: 1) a prerequisite test that determines the existing level of understanding of prerequisite material and 2) a self-paced, modular enrichment laboratory that includes the integration of advanced software tools and face-to-face time with a laboratory instructor. Resources and assignments in the laboratory will be placed in distinct online modules, which the students can move through at their own pace. Because each student will be unique in their understanding and retention of prerequisite material, each student can focus on his or her areas of specific difficulty. The enrichment laboratory will also provide an instructor to assist students having difficulties with the material and/or software. This hybrid format, therefore, allows students to move at their own pace, but have access to face-to-face time with an instructor when their encounter difficulties.

Contact: Katherine Stevenson,


Katherine F. Stevenson, Department of Mathematics (Project leader)
Helena Noronha, Chair, Department of Mathematics
William Watkins, Department of Mathematics
Randal Cummings, Director of Online Instruction