Instructional Policies

Content to be Covered
Math Lab Requirements
Student Learning Outcomes
Testing and Make-up Test Procedures

The Math Department at Las Positas College is very committed to making sure that every student has access to a consistent and quality math course and is supported in their endeavors to be successful both during and after the class meeting times.

We believe every effort must be made to ensure that a student has access to the supports the need get and keep the student back on track mathematically. To this end, we encourage instructors to make themselves available outside of the classroom. Students should also be encouraged to study in the Open Math Lab (located in the Integrated Learning Center in Building 1200) and to sign up for a free Mathematics Tutor (located in the Tutorial Center in Building 2400). The material must be patiently presented, especially in the non-transferable courses, and students' questions must be given high priority. Students should never be made to feel that they or their questions are stupid; if a student needs additional assistant than time allows in the classroom, they should be positively encouraged to take advantage of the many resources available to them for free, and at a pace and mode appropriate to their learning needs.

Content to be Covered

In teaching all of our courses, we see the need for a consistent and uniform approach. Whether a class is taught by a full-time or by a part-time instructor, the student should encounter similar demands, policies, and expectations.  This means that the course content, as outlined in the course outline of record, must be covered.   The course outline of record is our contract with our transfer institutions, with each other, and our students about what the course will detail.   Failure to do so puts your students at a disadvantage, leads to discrepancies across the sections, and problems for the students in their next course.   In addition, Course Information Sheets and Course Coordinators are available to answer any additional questions you may have regarding the specific content or expectations of a course.   Instructors should not skip a topic listed on the coverage sheet, even though they think that it should have been learned in some previous course or even if it is covered in another course.


Math Lab Requirements

Many of our math courses have a required TBA (to be arranged) lab hour attached to their course; this TBA lab hour is part of the course outline of record.  If your course has a TBA lab hour, your syllabus must state that students are required to attend the lab for one hour per week for a minimum of 17 lab hours over the semester.  The Open Math Lab provides a place for students to get the help they need to succeed in math.  To satisfy their lab requirement, students must go to the Open Math Lab in the Integrated Learning Center, ILC, to work on lab assignments, created by you.  Lab assignments must be something more than doing homework.  There are many examples of good math labs that the department is currently collaborating on; we encourage you talk with other instructors and share labs.   To allow for maximum flexibility, the lab hour is TBA (to be arranged), rather than scheduled.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes, SLOs, are learning proficiencies the Department feels every student enrolled in our math classes should be encouraged master.    

Our Program SLOs are:

  • Students demonstrated the ability to use symbolic, graphical, numerical, and written representations of mathematical ideas.  
  • Students demonstrated they could read, write, listen to, and speak mathematics with understanding.
  • Students demonstrated the ability to use mathematical reasoning to solve problems and a generalized problem solving process to work word problems.
  • Students will learn mathematics through modeling real-world situations.
  • Students will use appropriate technology to enhance their mathematical thinking and understanding, solve mathematical problems, and judge the reasonableness of their results.

To be accredited, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) now requires that a college must be instituting an assessment process with student learning outcomes.  Each semester we will go through a cycle of assessing, evaluating results, making changes to improve student success, and then reevaluating to find out if our efforts worked.  Every semester, every course will go through this cycle of evaluation and revision based on the SLO outcomes.  The Course Information Sheet and Course Coordinators will be able to tell you current information about the specific assessments for your course. You may also click here to obtain an Excel spreadsheet containing SLOs for all courses and the SLO assessment procedure.

For more background information on what SLOs and how they will be used from a faculty member perspective, please visit our webpage:  “What are SLOs from a Faculty Perspective?


Testing and Make Up Test Procedures

First, we believe very strongly that there should be frequent testing. Tests should allow for partial credit and not be predominantly made up of multiple choice or true-false questions. Take-home tests should rarely, if ever, be given. Also, the Department generally discourages open book and open notes testing.   Most of the material should be learned well enough to be recalled. Final exams in general should be comprehensive and taken at the scheduled time. 

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Page last modified: April 25, 2017