MyLab Math

Creating a path to Math success

One of the greatest challenges that US colleges face is that many students enter unprepared to complete college-­level mathematics courses. The vast majority of students entering higher education—close to 70 percent—place into pre-college or developmental math courses.

Developmental math courses include topics that should be covered in middle and high school and are traditionally non-credit bearing. Incoming students are often unaware of and unprepared for this requirement, which can create significant anxiety and reluctance about their math ability.

Students in developmental math courses often lack confidence and  preparation which can result in low course retention, like students dropping out. MyLab Math™ seeks to help these students succeed and complete their courses through ongoing practice and encouraging feedback.

Intended outcome

Learners achieve a pass overall.

MyLab Math is designed to help learners improve their math skills. In a study of MyLab Math use in developmental math courses, we saw that the number of attempts made on MyLab Math homework assignments were predictive of all students’ probability of passing the course.

For students newly enrolled in fall 2015, the probability of passing the course increased from 9.8% to 53% when they increased their number of homework attempts using MyLab Math.

For students enrolled prior to fall 2015 (and likely repeating the developmental math course), the probability of passing increased from 72% to 87%.  

That is, the more students returned to work on homework problems until they got them right, the more likely they were to pass the course.

In addition, for newly enrolled students with average homework usage, mastering more unique objectives can more than double the probability of passing the course from 9.8% to 24%.

Documented Homework and Final Course Success at Pulaski Technical College (Experiences from an educator study)

Pulaski Technical College (PTC) needed to implement a system where all homework, exams, final exams, and grade weighting systems were the same across the board for the nearly 9,500 students enrolled in developmental math classes. The college selected MyLab Math to fill that need and give students “just in time” access to homework assistance.

According to Ebony Conley, Interim Dean of Academic Success: “Students who passed the Pre-Algebra Skills course spent twice as much time per week working on homework in MyLab Math as those who did not pass.”

"I had a ‘gut feeling’ it was going well but the numbers were retention rate quadrupled...I am hoping that my colleagues will sit up and take notice, and maybe we can consider Rockswold [interactive assignment in MyLab Math course] when we discuss changing books.”

Pilot participant in Texas

Intended outcome

Learners complete the course and show success in
subsequent courses.

MyLab Math features have been designed to help students be more likely to complete the course, succeed in math, often for the first time, further fostering a positive mindset about math.

We wanted to see how students using MyLab Math performed in two different settings: one where students were face-to-face with the instructor in a classroom and another where learning was computer-based with limited interaction with an instructor.

  • We found that the use of MyLab Math in a computer-based course was effective for students who entered the course with more than basic math skills, but was not effective for students with lower math skills.
  • For students with high prior math ability, use of MyLab Math in a computer-based environment resulted in higher final exam scores than no use of MyLab Math in a face-to-face environment.
  • Conversely, students with lower prior math ability resulted in higher final exam scores in the face-to-face environment.

The results of an additional study suggests that mastery of the homework and assessments within MyLab Math is predictive of students’ performance on the external quizzes and exams administered in the course.  

Students and Instructor Feedback from Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College (Experiences from an educator study)

The college’s goal was to use MyLab Math to offer students flexibility to progress through the developmental course sequence while maintaining student success. Claudean Ellis Mathematics Assistant Professor at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College has indicated that for them:

"Homework scores and quiz scores were very strongly correlated in Basic Algebra. In addition, test scores were strongly correlated with both the number of homework assignments completed and homework scores in Basic Algebra.”

Students at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College added that:

"[MyLab Math] gave me an understanding of what I should be learning and opportunities to learn.”

"I believe [the benefits of MyLab Math] are can work on math anywhere, it give examples and even a tab that works it out with you then you receive a new problem.”

Engaging, Personalized Math Learning Experience

Now used by over 2.5 million students each year, MyLab Math provides assessment, tutorials and multimedia resources that deliver engaging and personalized experiences for each student. Each course is developed to accompany Pearson’s best-selling digital and print content, developed by instructors and thought-leaders from developmental through advanced mathematics.

Since 2001, MyLab Math has reached 39 million higher education students across all math courses. It is designed to create a positive experience for students, influenced by more than 30 years of research to help students study regardless of their previous achievement levels in mathematics.

MyLab Math students have access to a variety of multimedia resources, including in-exercise learning aids, videos, and animations, to further explain mathematical concepts. MyLab Math captures students' results in a robust gradebook, which includes item analysis data, allowing instructors to track class­wide progress on specific learning objectives and adjust teaching strategies as needed.

By providing every student a personalized remediation plan through the material and tracking progress at the objective level, MyLab Math effectively lowers the student to instructor ratio, ­a feature that is especially important for the success of developmental mathematics students.

All of these strategies and features combine to help enable each student to be more likely to complete the course, succeed in math, often for the first time, further fostering a positive mindset.

Age/Stage: Higher Education

Type: Courseware

Report Downloads

Read how we conducted the research in the 2015-2016 Research Report.