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Creating Accelerated Pathways for Student Success in Mathematics: A Snapshot of Courses Offered at the Launch of the Mathematics Pathways to Completion Project

Creating Accelerated Pathways for Student Success in Mathematics: A Snapshot of Courses Offered at the Launch of the Mathematics Pathways to Completion Project

Mathematics requirements are a significant barrier to completing a college credential for many college students. In an effort to change the tide, colleges across the country are working to implement mathematics pathways, which encourages all students to enroll in one of several college-level mathematics courses that best aligns with their chosen field of study soon after entering college.

Effectively implementing and scaling mathematics pathways is challenging, particularly because doing so requires significant cross-institutional coordination. To address potential problems, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin launched its three-year Mathematics Pathways to Completion project in 2015 and worked to support the implementation and scaling of the model in six states. The goal was that all students at public two- and four-year institutions in each state would have the opportunity to complete a transferable, college-level mathematics course aligned to their program of study within one year of enrollment, regardless of their initial level of preparation.

To aid state-level planning and establish a baseline for the states’ internal evaluation efforts, the Dana Center and CCRC developed and administered a survey to collect information about institutions’ fall 2017 mathematics course offerings. This research brief describes findings from the aggregated baseline survey results, which indicate that though college algebra was the most frequently offered college-level mathematics course in fall 2017, many institutions offered a variety of other mathematics courses that could be aligned to non-STEM programs of study. However, large proportions of students would not have been able to complete these courses within one year of enrollment, either as a result of multi-semester developmental course sequences or college-level prerequisite requirements.