Until recently, most colleges required students to pass a college-level algebra course in order to earn a degree. As many as 50 to 70 percent of community college students enter college underprepared to take these courses, and fewer than 20 percent of such students ever complete a college-level math course; the rest are effectively blocked from earning 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 study’s 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 advisors are able to place eligible students into the correct pathways and that students’ math credits will transfer seamlessly to four-year college partners.
This brief reports on early findings of CAPR’s math pathways project. A final report in 2019 will track students for a year or more, into their college-level math courses.