Evaluation of Developmental Math Pathways and Student Outcomes

Evaluation of Developmental Math Pathways and Student Outcomes 2017-05-31T11:10:50+00:00

Research suggests that accelerated developmental math, better alignment between student goals and course content, and student-centered pedagogical practices improve students’ progress through remediation and better prepare them for college-level courses. The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) project, developed by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, incorporates each of these attributes by providing accelerated developmental and college-level math pathways, which differentiate math content and instruction to fit students’ career needs. A 2015 MDRC report analyzes the development of the DCMP at nine Texas colleges. CAPR’s instruction study addresses the following questions:

  1. Do DCMP students have better academic outcomes than students in traditional developmental math programs? Are these outcomes mediated through changes in student engagement?
  2. To what degree is there fidelity to the DCMP model across colleges? What aspects of DCMP are consistent across sites? What adaptations were made and why?
  3. How do the curriculum and pedagogy in DCMP courses differ from the colleges’ traditional developmental math courses?
  4. Is DCMP cost-effective relative to business as usual?

The five-year study is conducted in collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center and several Texas community colleges currently implementing the DCMP model.

The Study Design

The research sample will be composed of approximately 2,000 students at four to six colleges in Texas who are assessed as in need of one or two levels of developmental math. Students who agree to participate and meet the study criteria will be randomly assigned into a treatment group that enters the yearlong DCMP program or into a control group that enters the colleges’ traditional developmental and college-level math sequence. A random assignment design is ideal for this study because any differences in later outcomes can be attributed to this difference in type of developmental math course sequence.

Students will be followed for at least four semesters after their developmental math sequence assignment to learn about their subsequent performance in college. The outcomes of primary interest are completion of developmental and college-level math courses, average number of math credits earned, transfer to a four-year institution, and overall academic progress and course completion. This wide array of measures will give a more complete picture of students’ success in math, rather than of success only in passing the DCMP courses.

Lead Researcher:

>  Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow

Recent Publications:

Math in the Real World: Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

By Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, John Diamond, and Elena Serna-Wallender | May 2017

Math in the Real World: Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics PathwaysUntil recently, most colleges required students to pass a college-level algebra course in order to earn a degree. As many as 50 percent to 70 percent of community college students enter college unprepared to take these courses, and fewer than 20 percent of such students ever successfully complete a college-level math course; the rest are effectively blocked from achieving a college degree.

In 2012, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin introduced the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP, formerly known as the New Mathways Project), which aims to revise the structure, content, and pedagogy of developmental and college-level math classes in an effort to improve students’ outcomes. In 2014, CAPR partnered with the Dana Center to launch a rigorous evaluation of the DCMP.

Overall, the findings are encouraging; DCMP students are having qualitatively different classroom experiences from those of students in traditional developmental math courses and enrolling in and passing these courses at higher rates. However, work still needs to be done to ensure that all eligible students are correctly advised into these new pathways and that their math credits will transfer seamlessly to four-year college partners.

Download

Math in the Real World: Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways
Supplementary Tables

Related Blog Post

Math for Life: Preliminary Results From the CAPR Study of Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

>  View all publication from this project

Recent Presentations:

Showing the Data: Multiple Studies of Dana Center Math Pathways (DCMP)

Panelists will present four studies of the Dana Center Math Pathways (DCMP) initiative. Studies include a randomized control trial focusing on the curriculum, descriptive and quantitative analysis of publicly available datasets, and analysis of a survey instrument measuring changes in student self-efficacy as well as a description of the Dana Center’s internal evaluation.

Participants

Evan Weissman, MDRC and CAPR

Jennifer Dorsey, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Conference:

American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Annual Conference

Date and Time:

November 10, 2017
12:35–1:25 PM

Location:

San Diego, CA

Venue:

Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina | Nautilus 4

Using Evidence to Refine STEM Initiatives: Lessons Learned From the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

Description forthcoming.

Participants

Evan Weissman, MDRC and CAPR

Jennifer Dorsey, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Conference:

American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) 2017 Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference

Date and Time:

TBA

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Venue:

The Westin St. Francis

Making Math Count: Building Accelerated Math Pathways and Early Findings on Their Impact on Students’ Success

In this session, the Charles A. Dana Center, MDRC researchers, and math practitioners (TBD) will discuss successes and challenges of implementing classroom, institutional, and state policy reforms to support the development of multiple math pathways. The Dana Center will begin by introducing the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) and their work to support college faculty, institutions, and states in implementing math pathways at scale. Additionally, a math practitioner (TBD) will share on-the-ground experiences with implementing these pathways within his or her college. MDRC researchers will then share beginning implementation and impact findings from a random assignment study of these pathways at four Texas colleges, including faculty and student perspectives as well as lessons for successfully implementing the pathways at scale within an institution.

Participants

Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, MDRC and CAPR

Jennifer Dorsey, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Conference:

2017 Strengthening Student Success Conference

Date and Time:

October 11, 2017
11:30 AM–12:30 PM

Location:

Burlingame, CA

Venue:

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport

>  View all presentations from this project