Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Long-Term Follow-Up Cost Analysis

By Dan Cullinan | November 2023

Student taking notes in classroom

Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP), a project of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, launched in 2011 as an effort to improve students’ outcomes in their early math courses. The early version of DCMP diversified developmental and college-level math course content into distinct pathways that better aligned with students’ career interests and streamlined the developmental math sequence into a one-semester developmental course. The model also included evidence-based curricula and pedagogy to engage students in active problem-solving, drawing on real-life situations.

CAPR began studying DCMP in 2014, evaluating its impacts on student success through a randomized controlled trial at four Texas community colleges and examining the program costs. Early findings, including cost findings, were released in 2019.

This brief is part of a follow-up study that reports on longer-term student outcomes and provides additional cost data analysis from the five years of follow-up research. It also compares costs to cumulative academic outcomes, providing estimates of cost effectiveness. A supplement to the brief breaks down the costs into categories.

The incremental cost of this early version of DCMP over five years was $790 per student when compared with status quo programing. The difference in cost per college credit earned between the program and status quo groups is minimal. For long-term outcomes, there is no confirmed difference in the cost effectiveness between DCMP as it was implemented in this study and the status quo.


Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Long-Term Follow-Up Cost Analysis
Supplement to Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Long-Term Follow-Up Cost Analysis

Key Findings

Combining the start-up and ongoing costs for two years, the program cost is estimated at $1,183,550, or $1,380 per student, $790 more than for the traditional developmental sequence.

The program group took nearly one less credit than the control group on average because of reduced developmental course-taking, saving on average between $80 and $220 in tuition and fees, depending on district and state of residence.

The cost-effectiveness, or cost per outcome, was similar across research groups, with slightly lower costs for DCMP students who ever earned a credential or were enrolled in a four-year college, but slightly higher costs per credit earned.