I have come up with these personas based on 11 years of personal experience in teaching Business Math. These are based on anecdotal observations. In all first year programs, Business Math 1 is offered in the fall and Business Math 2 is offered in the winter. They were used as design aids in rethinking the teaching practices and learning resources, as outlined in this Guide to Using Student Personas for faculty enhancing and redesigning their courses.
Megan is a recent high school graduate. She has fairly good basic skills but says that she’s never been good at “word problems”. She lives at home with supportive parents and has good intentions to do well at college. She has joined the college varsity soccer team.
By the end of the first month, Megan has a hard time keeping up with demands of college, a part time job, and the soccer team. She comes to class regularly, but struggles with the homework. She doesn’t seek out extra help, hoping that things will just work out.
After failing the first two tests (there are four tests in the course), she comes in to see the teacher. Megan takes responsibility and realizes that she must do something. She starts coming in for extra help. It will be hard to pass the course at this point since she needs an average of 70% on the last two tests. She doesn’t want to give up.
After a lot of hard work in the second half of the term, Megan just barely passes the course. She has earned a pass, but it will probably struggle with Business Math 2 next semester.
Allie is a recent high school graduate. She has very weak basic skills and says that she’s never been good at “word problems”. She lives at home and works at least 20 hours per week at her job in retail. Her parents want her to go to college.
Allie is very interested in her social life and the fun things about college. She doesn’t do any homework. By the end of the first month, she decides that it’s better to hang out in the cafeteria than it is to come to math class. When she comes to class, she has a hard time following the lesson and chats with classmates instead.
She shows up for the first two tests, but fails both miserably. After that, she stops coming to class altogether.
She fails math and a few other courses. She is put on academic probation. Her parents want her to continue, but she wants to drop out.
Adriana is 25 and has been out of school for 5 years. She didn’t do well at math in high school and is very nervous about coming to college. She lives at home with her parents who support her.
Adriana has a lot of holes in her basic skills and these compound her difficulties with word problems. She doesn’t seek any extra help. She gets a doctor’s note for the first two tests. She writes a make-up test for both of these and fails miserably. She starts to miss a lot of classes in the second half of the term.
She fails the third test. She doesn’t show up for the last test.
David is a recent high school graduate living with his parents. He works part time at a restaurant and tries to get as many shifts as possible. His parents are helping with his tuition, but he wants extra money to buy a new car.
David has strong basic skill and pretty good problem solving skills. He doesn’t like to write very much. He doesn’t usually take notes in class, but he does follow along and try to get the answers with his calculator. He’s pleased when he’s correct, which is often. If he doesn’t get the correct answer, he just shrugs it off. He may take a few sketchy notes.
He does do some homework, but stops once he can’t get the answer to a question. He’s made a friend in class who has similar homework habits. Although he has a lot of potential, he sets the bar pretty low. As long as he passes the course, he’ll be happy.
He manages to pass the course with a 60%. With these study and homework habits, he will have difficulty passing Business Math 2.