Sherri Messersmith has over 25 years of experience teaching many different courses from developmental mathematics through calculus. She is also the author of a successful hardcover series of developmental math textbooks and is a key note speaker at events across the country.
“Developmental students don’t want to fail, they just don’t know how to succeed. Teaching students at the developmental level is not just about teaching mathematics; it’s about helping them learn all of the ‘other’ things it takes to be successful in college (and in life). If students don’t know how to read a textbook, how to manage their time, how to take notes, how to set realistic goals, how to study, etc. —if they don’t know how to be college students, then how can they be successful in our math courses? This challenge for students becomes our challenge as instructors. How do we teach successful student behavior while also getting through the objectives in our math courses?
“First and foremost, this is a math textbook. Its purpose is to present all of the mathematics that is required for a course in the clearest, most mathematically precise way possible through the use of both traditional methods and some tat you will find unique. But we think it is crucial to address study strategies as well, and, in fact, Larry and I wrote the manuscripts this way even before we met Bob! We teamed up to formalize the steps by integrating the P.O.W.E.R. framework into the textbooks, customizing it for teaching and learning mathematics. It turned out to be a very natural fit.”
Nathalie Vega-Rhodes career in higher education began seventeen years ago and has encompassed a number of student-focused positions. For nearly a decade, she has taught mathematics ranging from developmental courses to calculus, as well as student success courses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Houston and a Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Houston—Clear Lake. In addition to teaching, as Mathematics Technology Coordinator at Lone Star College—Kingwood, she assists math faculty with technology-related pedagogical and implementation strategies.
“Students want to be successful in class, but many have not yet developed an academic mindset. Finding meaningful ways to incorporate the tools necessary for developing an academic mindset while not sacrificing content may sometimes be a struggle for instructors. In my classes, the P.O.W.E.R. math books have provided a framework that immerses students in content while also building the skills necessary to succeed in any class. As a result, I have seen unparalleled growth and confidence—once students have these tools (and know how to use them), it is easy for them to be successful!
“The goal of the P.O.W.E.R. series has always been to help students succeed. As technology continues to improve, we find new and innovative ways to connect with our students, from creating a comprehensive video and study guide package to integrating the P.O.W.E.R. framework into online assignments and resources. As our students and their learning environments evolve, we will remain committed to this mission.”
Bob Feldman has a doctorate in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to his years of experience in the classroom, he developed the research-based P.O.W.E.R. framework, written more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters and books, including the popular student success textbook series P.O.W.E.R. Learning.
“Good students are made, not born. What does being a ‘good’ student at the college level mean? Among other things, it means coming to class prepared, taking good notes, developing good study habits, and managing time effectively. These skills can be taught, and taught in ways that lead to success. In fact, careful research shows courses that cover the skills related to college success produce a significant and demonstrable rise in student retention beyond the first semester in college. After years of teaching and doing research in student success, I developed P.O.W.E.R. Learning to help students to achieve their goals in any class and even after they graduate.”
“A developmental math course is often one of the first courses students take at the college level, and it is the gateway to continuing their college education. We have integrated a proven method of helping students develop basic skills into a text written by instructors with years of classroom experience.”
What Students are Saying About P.O.W.E.R.?
In math class, I usually dive head first into the problems, hoping the material will come to me. I don’t evaluate my work which leads to dishonesty about my strengths and weaknesses and whether I understand the concepts enough to move on. The “Evaluate” step in P.O.W.E.R. will really help improve my grades.
—Ashley Grayson, Northeastern Illinois University
The most important steps in P.O.W.E.R. for me are Evaluating and Rethinking because sometimes I don’t follow through and make sure I understand the material. Then wehn we get into harder problems, if I’m not doing so well I feel defeated and give up. Having the P.O.W.E.R. reminders and guidelines will be a great benefit.
—Amanda Koger, Harold Washington College
I always work in a trial-and-error kind of way. P.O.W.E.R. will help me study more efficiently because it breaks down learning into steps. By paying attention to the “Rethink” step I will improve with each chapter.
—Zainab Khomusi, University of Illinois at Chicago
The P.O.W.E.R. framework is like the scientific method for learning. Even outside of class, I think it will help me be successful in business and life goals.
—Nathan Hurde, University of Illinois at Chicago
P.O.W.E.R. would motivate and guide me to take more time with math and recognize and fix my weaknesses.
—Jaimie O’Leary, Northeastern Illinois University
I like that this framework already fits in with a lot of my study habits. It just makes sense.
—Lauren Mosley, Western Illinois University
P.O.W.E.R. will help prepare me to do or learn something that is a little challenging. It helps me identify my goals and what I need to do to get there.
—Nina Turnage, Wilbur Wright College
STUDY STRATEGIES launch each chapter. The P.O.W.E.R. framework presents steps for mastering the different skills students will use to succeed in their developmental math course. For example, these boxes include strategies on time management, taking good notes, and taking a math test.
CHAPTER/SECTION P.O.W.E.R. PLANS help students focus on preparation and organizational skills. These tools give practical suggestions for setting and achieving goals. The steps revolve around best practices for student success before applying P.O.W.E.R. toward leaning specific concepts in math.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER sections will help students understand the big picture and work through the toughest challenge when problem solving: problem recognition, or knowing when to use what method or thought process. These sections include a summary and several problems that help students reason through a problem using conversational, yet mathematically correct, language.
emPOWERme boxes revisit the opening Study Strategies and give students a checklist to evaluate how well they followed through on all of the positive habits recommended to successfully master a skill.
POWERFUL DIGITAL TESTING PROGRAM The digital test bank for the P.O.W.E.R. Math series, available online to adopting instructors, utilizes TestGen® cross-platform test generation software to quickly and easily create customized exams. In addition to a menu of hundreds of test items taken directly from the text, TestGen also allows flexibility for instructors to create their own questions from scratch and gives them the ability to randomize number values. Powerful search and sort functions help quickly locate questions and arrange them in any order, and built-in mathematical templates let instructors insert stylized text, symbols, graphics, and equations directly into questions without the need for a separate equation editor.