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Gary Beasley Finds Solution for Student Attrition

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01.13.2009Admin, Faculty & Staff

When he found that attrition in his second year photonics technology courses was running at about 60%, Central Carolina Community College’s Gary Beasley, Laser & Photonics Technology Lead, looked for the reason his students were not coming back. His diagnosis: They were struggling with the math required for the program.

Beasley began working with the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) to find a solution. Working with OP-TEC, a math supplement was developed that covered the core mathematics concepts required for his Laser & Photonics programs. Each student that begins the program uses the math supplement, “Mathematics for Photonics Education.” Before he begins a new topic, Beasley advises the students that to be successful they need to be proficient in a particular math concept and assigns one of the chapters in the supplement. Diagnostic tests help instructors identify students who are weak on that particular topic. With the use of this tool, the attrition rate has dropped to close to zero.

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