President's Report 2007

The Math Plague

By Dr. Sherry Mantyka

Photo of the book cover of The Math Plague

While there are barriers to learning mathematics, Dr. Sherry Mantyka says that none of these are insurmountable. The Math Plague looks at a myriad of stumbling blocks and provides a good way around them.

Dr. Mantyka, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the director of the Mathematics Learning Centre, has years of experience working successfully with thousands of post-secondary under-achievers in mathematics. It all began in 1988 when province-wide data on the math skill levels of high school graduates entering Memorial University was collected. This data showed that 44 per cent of these students graduating from an academic math stream in high school had a math skill level of Grade six or below, and 38 per cent had a junior high math skill level.

Furthermore, follow-up studies of students’ performance in a university pre-calculus course, it was discovered that their pass rate in that course was only 20 and 50 per cent, respectively.

Photo of Dr. Sherry Mantyka

Dr. Sherry Mantyka

In 1988, in response to this situation, Dr. Mantyka founded the Mathematics Learning Centre (MLC) at Memorial University to investigate why this was so and how to correct it. Her work focused on the students with the lowest skill levels because initially the university allowed students to self-select to participate in the program at the MLC.

The Math Plague is an amalgamation of the things Dr. Mantyka learned at the MLC. The book is divided into 38 small sections, each containing a confirmed principle for the effective learning of mathematics.

The Math Plague is published by MayT Consulting and can be ordered by calling (709) 579-5879.

More publishing Successes