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MASTER Math at

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MASTER Math is Northern Virginia Community College's developmental math program.  

The content of Developmental Math is divided into 10 units. To view the content of the units and sample problems, click here.

NOVA offers the Math Technology-Based (MTT) courses that provide instruction of the 10 units (numbered as Units 0-9) using a modified emporium model.  The courses offered at NOVA are:

MTT  4                        4 credits

MTT  3                        3 credits

MTT  2                        2 credits

MTT  1                        1 credit

BSK  1                        1 credit – Unit 0 only


You must complete the Virginia Placement Test before enrolling in any math course. Students are encouraged to meet with a counselor or an advisor after taking the Virginia Placement Test but before registering. The student needs to determine the required entry credit math course, depending on their program of study, and to look at the units from which they are exempt based on placement scores.  The advisor will then identify the specific units the student needs to study to reach his or her exit point. 


Students who need to start with Unit 0 should sign up for BSK 1.  It is a four-week course.


Students working in Units 1-9 sign up for an MTT course.  NOVA will use the 4 credit course, MTT 4, as the “default” for most students who do not need Unit 0, specifically, those who are known to need at least 4 units to reach their desired exit point, or those who aren’t sure in advance how many units they need. 


Those who need fewer than 4 units will need permission to register in MTT 1, 2, or 3, if they need 1, 2 or 3 units, respectively, to reach their exit point (see the table below). 


Students who register for BSK 1 may -- at the same time – also register up for an MTT 3 course which begins when the BSK 1 course finishes. 


Students who do not complete BSK 1 successfully will be withdrawn from MTT 3. Unsuccessful students with financial aid will have their aid amount recalculated unless they find another 3 credit course to use as a replacement.  If they do not register in another 3 credit course, they will need to return some of their aid.

The units you are required to complete and your exit point from developmental math depend on the entry credit mathematics course required by your program of study:



MTH 126

UNITS 0 - 3

MTH 150, 151, 152, 157

UNITS 0 - 5

MTH 115, 181

UNITS 0 - 6

MTH 163, 166

UNITS 0 - 9

MTT courses use mastery-based learning allowing students to test out of material that they have already mastered to assist with completing developmental math more quickly.

MTT courses offer the the redesigned version of MTH 1, MTH 2, MTH 3 and MTH 4, allowing the student to concentrate on units of material based on individual strengths and weaknesses.   Students work on MyMathLab for instruction, assignments and assessments while receiving one-on-one assistance from the instructor. Students are also expected to work on MyMathLab outside of the scheduled class times and required lab hours.

The number of attendance hours required depends on the session you are attending. Attendance is counted as part of the final grade.Students are required to work in the MASTER Math Lab on the campus where your class meets.

Click here to see the progression chart for math courses.

Click on the links below for location and hours of operation of the MASTER Math Labs on each campus.

Alexandria | Annandale | Loudoun | Manassas | Woodbridge |


To learn more about the redesigned courses, click here.

To see the current schedule of classes, click here.

What are some of the benefits the redesigned developmental math courses?

·         You have the opportunity to complete developmental math quickly.

Students are encouraged to work through the course material as quickly as they can absorb and master the material. Students who understand the concepts in a unit can move through the unit quickly and don’t have to adjust their pace to slower students in the class.

·         You have the opportunity to test out of material you already know.

Students start each unit by taking a pretest. If a student passes the pretest s/he can move directly on to the next unit without spending time on material s/he has already mastered.

·         You don’t have to repeat an entire course.

Previously, a student who failed a developmental math course had to repeat the entire course even though s/he may have already mastered the material covered in the first part of the course. Under the redesign, once a student has shown mastery of a particular topic s/he won’t be asked to retake that topic and can concentrate on learning and mastering new material.

·         You can receive one-on-one instruction from your teacher.

The instructor of a section of an MTT course will circulate through the classroom while the students are working on the computer. The instructor will be able to help students individually with their particular questions and concerns instead of having to lecture to the entire class.

·         You may take exams and quizzes more than once.

If a student does not pass a module quiz or a unit test s/he will spend additional time doing homework problems related to that module/unit and then will retake the quiz/test. The student doesn’t proceed to the next module/unit until s/he shows mastery in the current one. Ultimately this benefits the students by allowing them to spend the time necessary for them to master each unit instead of being forced to move on to new material in order to keep pace with the class.

·         Students receive immediate feedback and step-by-step assistance while doing the homework.

Students do their homework on-line using MyLabsPlus. After a student answers a homework problem the software lets her/him know immediately if the answer is correct. A student who gets a wrong answer can try the problem again and if s/he is having trouble solving a problem s/he can receive immediate help that includes hints to solve the problem, a demonstration of how to solve a similar problem and step-by-step assistance in solving the problem.

·         Students spend their time doing math in a computer lab with instructors and tutors for assistance instead of watching someone else do math.

Class time for the students will be spent on the computer viewing power point slides or short videos to learn the material and then doing homework. They will be able to ask their instructor for help but won’t be sitting passively listening to a lecture. Rather, they will be actively doing math themselves.

·         Students use the same textbook and software for developmental math studies regardless of NOVA campus.

Students purchase a single MyLabsPlus access code which they will use for all the units in developmental math. The two volumes of the textbook and course material will be the same on all NOVA campuses.

·         Purchasing a hard copy of the textbook is optional.

Students are required to purchase a MyLabsPlus access code which will give them access to the textbook on-line. They are not required to purchase a hard copy of the book – though they may do so if they choose.

·         Students purchase a single software code for the entire developmental math sequence.

The same MyLabsPlus access code will be used for the entire developmental math sequence or until the edition of the textbook changes.





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Last modified: November 18, 2011