Highlands College

Highlands College Photo

School Representative: Denise Elakovich – Math Department Chair
Date EdReady Montana Program Implemented: 5/8/2014
Grade Levels of Students Utilizing EdREady MT: 2-Year College Students in Developmental Math Classes looking to attend Highlands College or Montana Tech

Highlands Background Info:

Highlands College, a 2-year college located in the mining city of Butte, Montana, has been working with and utilizing the EdReady Montana program for the past two years to help improve retention, completion and differentiation in their developmental math sequence (all classes below the 100-level). Recently EdReady Montana’s Program Manager, Dr. Ryan Schrenk, spoke with Denise Elakovich, Highlands College Math Department Chair regarding their current use of the program. Highlands College is the first college featured by EdReady Montana to begin to show and tell the story of how students, educators and schools in the state of Montana benefit from the program.

Q: Please describe how the EdReady Montana program is being utilized at your school.

Considerations: Grade levels, Remediation, Acceleration, Intervention, Skill Building, Classroom Supplement


The main problem we are addressing is retention in remedial classes at Highlands College. EdReady was easy to implement as a supplement to instruction for Math 065 (Pre-Algebra), Math 090 (Basic Algebra) and M095 (Intermediate Algebra) classes. When compared to other possible solutions, it was a low-cost option for students and could access from anywhere. The versatility of the program makes it useful inside and outside of the classroom by students. The program is being used as a supplement to all developmental math classes, students are given points in class for the mastery test scores on individual topics inside their EdReady goal.

Q: How are you integrating the EdReady Montana program into daily lesson plans?

Considerations: Homework vs. In-Class use, Graded vs. Non-Graded, Special Classroom Arrangements or Lab Scheduling, etc.


All three developmental math teachers use the EdReady topic mastery as a homework grade inside the course. Some instructors show presentation videos in the class, others use it outside the class to flip the classroom and have students bring notes to class and all three instructors stay close to the presentation methods for teaching the concepts so it allows students who miss class for any reason the ability to more easily make up the work and get similar information to how it was covered inside class.

Three classes this semester use the computer labs for in-class work. Due to class sizes and limited computer lab space, seven class sections access the computer labs outside of class time. We have two combination classes that allow students to accelerate through more than one class in a semester. For example, the combination class (M065/M090) allows a student to complete both sections in one semester for the same tuition cost as signing up for just M065. We also offer a similar class for M090/M095. This format has been very motivating for students allowing them to lessen their time to their 100-level required math classes and save costs on developmental classes.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the program?



From a student’s perspective, the presentations since they are short and concise and they find it easy to take notes while viewing them. They also like viewing and being able to review the worked examples.

From an instructor’s perspective, I like that the students can utilize both the topic test as well as the learning resources in EdReady. The system also provides feedback about what they’ve missed and what they need to address without giving them the answer directly. It forces students to ask questions and review (on their own and/or with the instructor) until they learn the concepts based upon their personalized study path and how they answer the mastery test questions. In the past, students wouldn’t ask the questions about what they were unable to complete in the homework. This has changed since using EdReady.

Q: What, or who, has made implementation at your school successful?



(from EdReady Montana Staff) Denise’s leadership in implementing EdReady with the support of Highlands College Dean (John Garic) in the first set of accelerated classes in Summer 2014 has led the way for many other educators in Montana to adopt the system to supplement their classroom instruction.
The blended learning approach to teaching the class in the computer lab and rotating between instructor led lessons and EdReady for anyone not taking part in the direct instruction followed by individual help sessions is a great example of giving students control over the pace and time spent on basic math skills.

Q: How have your students reacted to the program?



Students in classes not using EdReady and above 100-level are requesting that we implement it in those classes as well.

Students are much more positive about using EdReady in the class now. Many are coming to College having used it in High School and in the Adult Basic Education Centers.

Q: What are you most proud of in your implementation, or what has surprised you most about utilizing the program?



This past fall semester I had 13 students who all completed at least one developmental math course as well as their college level math class. Two students completed two levels of developmental level math and the college level math class in one semester! There is no way that I, as an educator, could have customized a solution to facilitate that outcome without EdReady. In this model, each student must complete the EdReady goal by mastering all of the topics then successfully pass the written final for each class before moving on to the next one.

The students who completed the 3 classes in one semester came in with very low test scores but bought into the program, spent lots of time practicing out of class-time and when they entered M121 (College Algebra) they were (in my observation) better prepared for the concepts than some students who were already in the class and tested into it on the placement tests. On top of this, they were single parents who worked and attended school but they are now both in the 4-year program at Montana Tech in less than one semester! This is exactly the sort of result EdReady has helped facilitate for our program and students.

Q: What advice does your school have for other schools, programs, administrators or teachers looking to implement the program?



To maximize the use of EdReady and to use it for remediation in a class or program, most students will not use the class all on their own. You have to figure out a way to provide a score or some sort of reward for it.

If using it to improve placement scores, there needs to be support for the students to get into the program and begin to learn how to use it. We found that students who were just enrolled into the program with no follow up support tended not to utilize the program.

The program is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instructors can develop many uses for the program inside and outside of their classes. They can use the videos in the class to show then supplement your own instruction since some of the videos are “better than what I can do on my own”. They can have students watch and review in class as they circulate the room and assist with problems. They can use it to flip the classroom and have the students watch before coming to class then assess what sort of review is needed in class to teach the material most effectively.

School Contact Information

Address: 1300 W. Park Street, Butte, MT 59701

Phone Number: 406-496-3731