Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

February 2016

Oklahoma Joins Mathematics Pathways to Completion Project

Leaders and policymakers in five states, including Oklahoma, will develop state mathematics task forces and work to improve college student success through a new initiative from The University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center.

The project currently works with 50 community college systems and 28 universities in Texas and seven other states, and this expansion will bring the project to five additional states: Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Washington. The three-year project is funded by a $2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Dana Center will work with mathematics leaders and policymakers in the expansion states to replicate these successes and develop each state’s mathematics task force. The task force supports faculty leadership, sets the vision and creates the momentum to promote mathematics “pathways.” The focus of the project is to provide students with new math pathways that give them choices among several different courses or course sequences in which they learn rigorous mathematics relevant to their chosen field of study. The math pathways approach requires shifting the focus from individual courses toward identifying full pathways that provide a cohesive learning experience.

“We are pleased that Oklahoma has been selected to work with the Dana Center as part of the Mathematics Pathways to Completion Project,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This is a unique opportunity to customize and strengthen the math learning experience for Oklahoma students and significantly improve math learning outcomes in our state.”

After one year of implementation in Texas, 23 percent of students enrolled in the New Mathways Project’s developmental math course successfully completed a college-credit-bearing math course within one year, compared to the statewide average of 8 percent. Campuses that more fully implemented the program had 43 percent of students earn college credit within one year.

The New Mathways Project model is guided by four principles to ensure high-quality implementation across many college systems and states:
•Multiple pathways with relevant and challenging mathematics content aligned to specific fields of study.
•Acceleration that allows students to complete a college-level math course more quickly than in the traditional developmental math sequence.
•Intentional use of strategies to help students develop skills.
•Curriculum design and pedagogy based on proven practice.

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