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Mathematics Pathways to Completion: Setting the Conditions for Statewide Reform in Higher Education

By: Susan Bickerstaff, Octaviano Chavarín & Julia Raufman
Mathematics Pathways to Completion: Setting the Conditions for Statewide Reform in Higher Education

The Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the developer of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) model, initiated the Mathematics Pathways to Completion (MPC) project to support each of six states in developing a broad statewide vision for mathematics pathways and a plan for institutional implementation of the DCMP model over three years. At institutions offering mathematics pathways, students take an introductory college-level mathematics course that is well matched with their major or program of study. The goal is to align students’ mathematics coursework with their academic and career needs, redirecting non-STEM students from lengthy algebraic-intensive course sequences. Importantly, students referred to developmental mathematics take preparatory coursework that is aligned to their particular introductory college-level mathematics course, often using an accelerated approach such as a corequisite model.

Mathematics pathways are a promising approach for improving student outcomes, but if implementation happens one college at a time and without statewide policy support, the potential for scaling is diminished. This report describes the structure of the MPC project and the supports that the Dana Center is offering to participating states. In addition, drawing on 33 semi-structured interviews with mathematics faculty, state-level leaders, and technical assistance providers across the six states, this report explores the question: What state-level structures, conditions, and processes facilitate statewide implementation of mathematics pathways?