Tacoma Community College has been selected as one of 19 community colleges in five states to take part in a two-year, $14 million initiative to improve math literacy. Funded by five foundations, with The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as lead, the experiment will address the high percentage of new college students who are placed in remedial math who either do not successfully complete the sequence of required courses or avoid taking math altogether and therefore never complete their college programs.
The funding organizations for the math experiment include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Each has entered into a partnership with The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to invest in improving student success in community colleges.
The selected colleges will participate in a networked community working toward measureable improvements in student success in development mathematics through two newly designed integrated pathways. The Statistics Pathway (Statway) is designed to engage developmental math students to and through transferable college statistics in one year. The Mathematical Literacy Pathway (Mathway) will be a new one-semester course, replacing elementary and intermediate algebra, followed by completion of a college-level mathematics course.
The Carnegie Foundation notes that “between 60 and 70 percent of students placed into remedial math either do not successfully complete the sequence of required courses, or avoid taking math altogether and therefore never graduate.” For many students, the long process of completing remedial math becomes “an insurmountable barrier to college success.”
The goal of the experiment is to create challenging alternative math pathways that empower students to realize their college goals and positions them for success beyond the math classroom. Both pathways will investigate the best ways to design math instruction so that it is simultaneously more personalized, more effective, and more cost-effective.
Mark Milliron, Deputy Director of Postsecondary Success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stresses that the United States is simply not producing enough trained workers. “These initiatives have the potential to turn developmental math, a stumbling block for too many students, into a starting block for launching a successful career,” he says.
For more information on the math initiative go to: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/statway .
For a list of the 19 colleges participating in the math experiment, go to: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/statway/participating-institutions .