Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Shane Brown
PORTALES – Dr. Regina Aragon, associate professor of mathematics at Eastern New Mexico University, has been receiving national attention for her "rubric" approach to teaching math. According to Dr. Aragon, the "rubric" approach is a matrix which categorizes different levels of mastery of math concepts.
Dr. Aragon noted that her "rubric" approach was initiated as a result of ENMU's institutional initiative to use classroom-based assessment, spearheaded by the Assessment Office.
She made a presentation on the projects she used for Assessment in her college algebra math classes at the 2002 joint meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Mathematical Society (AMS). As a result of her presentation, Dr. Aragon was invited to be on a radio talk show, Math Medley, that airs out of Phoenix.
She was also asked to be a member of a panel for the MAA Committee of the Undergraduate Program of Mathematics. Her panel addressed "Curriculum Reform Across the First Two Years" at the 2003 joint meetings of the MAA and the AMS.
Dr. Aragon uses a "rubric" approach in her college algebra math class, and mathematicians tell her that this approach is something new.
"I give my students projects in which they have to apply what they learned in class to the ‘real world,'" Dr. Aragon said. The projects are graded using a rubric scale, which is not common in grading math. "Using this approach lets me know if they are reaching the goals that I set for them; it shows me what areas need improvement."
The radio talk show and the panel were based on reform in math. "There are some well-known mathematicians that have been on Math Medley, such as Uri Treisman, so it was an honor being invited," Dr. Aragon noted. The panel that Dr. Aragon was on consisted of five other mathematicians, who discussed curriculum reform across the first two years.
"The reason for all of the attention was because the rubric made evident that the traditional problems I assigned were not challenging students to use the higher-order thinking skills that I expected of them, and reform is a big topic in mathematics," Dr. Aragon concluded.
Dr. Aragon is married to well-known local artist Ken Leap.
(photo by Shane Brown)