Early Outcomes of Texas Community College Students Enrolled in Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Prerequisite Developmental Courses
By Lauren Schudde and Akiva Yonah Meiselman | August 2019
To improve outcomes in math, many Texas colleges are adopting mathematics pathways, which accelerate developmental math and tailor math courses to different majors instead of requiring all students to take algebra. This study examines whether students participating in Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) developmental courses enroll in and pass college-level math courses at higher rates than students who take traditional developmental math courses. While the research question is one that is also pursued by CAPR’s evaluation of DCMP, the student sample and analytic methods used in this study are different. CAPR’s evaluation includes a randomized controlled trial at four Texas community colleges; this study employs regression analysis controlling for student characteristics using student-level data compiled by the state from the more than 20 Texas community colleges that implemented the DCMP model in 2015 and 2016.
Results from this study are encouraging. They suggest that DCMP compressed prerequisite developmental courses are effective at accelerating community college students through their math requirements, which is consistent with interim findings from CAPR’s evaluation study of DCMP. Yet this study also found systematic sorting of students into DCMP by race/ethnicity—colleges tended to enroll larger numbers of White students and fewer numbers of Hispanic students into the program—which could exacerbate educational inequalities.
Since the time of this study, many colleges in Texas and elsewhere that are reforming their developmental offerings shifted from compressed prerequisite developmental math courses to corequisite coursework in which students take college-level and developmental math in the same term. Full implementation of corequisite remediation could provide more equal access to opportunities to advance to and through college-level coursework.