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Research Articles: Placement
Commuting the Math Sentence: Accelerating Developmental Mathematics Using the Co-Requisite Model (2017)
“The results of this study suggest student success may be improved through the implementation of co-requisite pathways. A learner-centered approach to teaching, one offering just-in-time support, is recommended in this study. The co-requisite model coupled with evidence-based instructional methods demonstrates a promising practice in developmental education worthy of further inquiry.”
Fractions in College: How Basic Math Remediation Impacts Community College Students (2019)
Missing just one fractions question on the placement diagnostic, and therefore starting college in a lower-level math course, had negative effects on college persistence and attainment. Missing other skill cutoffs did not have the same impacts. The findings suggest the need to reconsider the specific math expectations that regulate access to college math coursework.
How Are Community College Students Assessed and Placed in Developmental Math? Grounding Our Understanding in Reality (2014)
Examining current assessment and placement policies (A&P) used to assign students to a developmental math sequence in the Los Angeles Community College District, this study finds that faculty and administrators lack the technical expertise and resources necessary to ensure that A&P policies facilitate student success.
Knowing Is Half the Battle, or Is It? A Randomized Experiment of the Impact of Supplemental Notification Letters on Placement Exam Participation, Preparation, and Performance (2019)
Overall, our evidence suggests that students’ prior knowledge about the ramifications of placement exams is not enough to improve performance. Colleges should consider alternative means of assessing college readiness, such as measures of high school achievement, and should provide students who still have to take placement exams with detailed information about test content and study materials before testing.
Mathematics Course Placement Using Holistic Measures: Possibilities for Community College Students (2018)
The findings suggest a holistic approach to mathematics course placement may improve
placement accuracy and provide access to higher-level mathematics courses for community college students without compromising their likelihood of success.
Multiple Measures Placement in North Carolina (2018)
This chapter considers the case of placement tests, examining students who enter community college gateway math and English courses.
The Role of Math Misalignment in the Community College STEM Pathway (2019)
Drawing on analysis of linked high school
and community college student records, we fnd that a majority of students in the study
sample experienced math misalignment in community college. Moreover, math misalignment especially hindered STEM-aspiring students from pursuing STEM pathways. STEMaspiring students who experienced math misalignment were less likely to complete STEM
courses than STEM-aspiring students who were directly placed in transfer-level math. This
study underscores the importance of aligning academic standards across high-school and postsecondary institutions as a means of improving STEM participation.
Using Multiple Measures to Make Math Placement Decisions: Implications for Access and Success in Community Colleges (2015)
Using data from the Los Angeles Community College District, we find that students who were placed into higher-level math due to multiple measures (e.g., GPA and prior math background) performed no differently from their higher scoring peers in terms of passing rates and long term credit completion. The findings suggest that community colleges can improve placement accuracy in developmental math and increase access to higher-level courses by considering multiple measures of student preparedness in their placement rules.
Research Articles: Co-requisites
Commuting the Math Sentence: Accelerating Developmental Mathematics Using the Co-Requisite Model (2017)
The results of this study suggest student success may be improved through the implementation of co-requisite pathways. A learner-centered approach to teaching, one offering just-in-time support, is recommended in this study. The co-requisite model coupled with evidence-based instructional methods demonstrates a promising practice in developmental education worthy of further inquiry.
Corequisite Mathematics Remediation: Results Over Time and in Different Contexts (2019)
Here we report the longer-term
results of a randomized controlled trial comparing corequisite remediation (with statistics) and
traditional algebra remediation (297 students per group). The corequisite group not only
demonstrated significantly higher quantitative course pass rates, but also success in many other
disciplines, as well as significantly higher graduation rates. We also report the results of two
quasi-experimental analyses (propensity score matching) demonstrating higher pass rates for
corequisite mathematics remediation with 347 additional students in different settings. Policies
requiring corequisite mathematics remediation can result in greater student success than is
obtained with traditional remediation.
FOCUS: Sustainable Mathematics Successes (2014)
The FOCUS (Fundamentals of Conceptual Understanding and Success) Co-Requisite Model Intervention (FOCUS Intervention) for College Algebra was developed as part of the Developmental Education Demonstration Projects (DEDP) in Texas. The program was designed to use multiple services, courses, and best practices to support student completion of a credit-bearing mathematics course. The curriculum design and instructional strategies of the College Algebra FOCUS band are described and examples are included to expand on the richness of the model. Using repeated measures of students' mathematics proficiency and baseline comparison group data of students' course grades, we present evidence linking the FOCUS Intervention with increased mathematics proficiency, fewer course withdrawals, and improved course grades.
Key Considerations in Designing Co-requisite Supports (2019)
This chapter explores the structural, cultural, and content decisions made by institutions in implementing co-requisite courses, such as those related to student placement, curricular design, and whether just-in-time supports are separate or embedded. The chapter presents the results of interviews with faculty and administrators at two-year and four-year institutions. Key considerations for designing co-requisite courses are delineated and supported with institutional examples. Recommendations drawn from the learning sciences are also provided.
Piloting and Implementing Mathematics Co-Requisite Courses: A Chair’s Perspective (2020)
Many colleges and universities recently piloted and adopted the co-requisite model of delivery of developmental mathematics while offering more options for students to fulfill their mathematics requirement. We discuss our process for piloting and ultimately implementing the co-requisite model at our university, provide preliminary data on student success in this model, and note the challenges that come with such change in the delivery of developmental mathematics.
What Happens to Underprepared First-Time-in-College Students When Developmental Education is Optional? The Case of Developmental Math and Intermediate Algebra in the First Semester (2018)
We found that roughly a 3rd
of underprepared students enrolled in developmental math, a
3rd enrolled in Intermediate Algebra, and roughly a 3rd
enrolled in no math course whatsoever, with preparation level being related to enrollment pathways. Among those who enrolled in Intermediate Algebra, a small percentage
also enrolled in developmental math in the same semester, either through a compressed or corequisite course, and FTIC students who received same-semester developmental support
were more likely to pass Intermediate Algebra compared with similar underprepared students who took Intermediate Algebra without developmental support.
Research Articles: Interventions/Pedagogy
Early Intervention in College Classes and Improved Student Outcomes (2019)
Using a regression discontinuity framework at the referral threshold, we find that the performance intervention improved student scores on common questions on the final exam by 6.5 to 7.5 percentage points for students at or near the performance threshold. The gains are particularly large for students who entered college with below average math placement scores. These results indicate that low-cost light-touch interventions may significantly affect student academic performance.
Embedded Tutors for Remedial Math
Dissertation: This study focused on a remedial math intervention program developed for students in a community college located in rural Alabama during the academic year of 2018-2019. Specifically, this study will evaluate the impact of an embedded tutor program for remedial math students.
Gaining Ground Findings from the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Impact Study (2019)
CAPR’s evaluation of the DCMP consists of three primary components: (1) an investigation of colleges’ institutional implementation of the DCMP curricular pathways, their fidelity to the DCMP curricular models, and the contrast between the DCMP courses and colleges’ standard
developmental and gateway college-level courses;17 (2) an impact study investigating the effects
of the DCMP on students’ academic outcomes; and (3) a cost study. CAPR researchers conducted
the study at four colleges in Texas (El Paso Community College, Trinity Valley Community College, and two colleges from the Dallas County Community College District — Brookhaven College
and Eastfield College). The key outcomes tracked in the study include completion of the developmental math sequence, completion of a college-level math course, math credits earned,
total credits earned, and receipt of a degree or transfer to a four-year college.
The Impact of the New Rise Model of Developmental Mathematics on Student Retention and Graduation Rates (2021)
This research examined the impact of the new Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) model of developmental mathematics on student retention and graduation rates. The study used a mixed methods approach that included course completion rates, grade distribution reports, and instructor surveys from three North Carolina community colleges to address four research
questions related to the new RISE model. Instructor surveys, with a combination of Likert-scale and open-ended questions, were used to supplement the quantitative data. The four research areas
involved RISE student success in terms of completing the MAT 003 course; completion rates for minorities and by gender in developmental math; the gap in services for distant / remote students
related to completion rates; and a comparison of the RISE math program to previous Developmental Math (DMA) courses for entry into gateway math courses.
Improving Developmental and College-Level Mathematics: Prominent Reforms and the Need to Address Equity (2020)
We examine issues of concern present in traditional developmental math education and how existing reforms—including assessment and placement reforms, acceleration reforms, contextualization reforms, and curricular and pedagogic reforms—aim to address these issues, noting if they are associated with reductions in equity gaps. Lastly, we explore the potential for targeted reforms in developmental math to more effectively address the factors that contribute to inequities in student outcomes, factors such as stereotype threat, math anxiety, instructor bias, and tracking.
Integrating study skills and problem solving into remedial mathematics (2014)
Students at a large urban community college enrolled in seven classes of an experimental
remedial algebra programme, which integrated study skills instruction and collaborative
problem solving. A control group of seven classes was taught in a traditional lecture
format without study skills instruction. Student performance in the course was measured
by a common 25-question multiple-choice exit exam. After controlling for cognitive
and affective differences among students (N = 233), when all other variables were
held constant, students in the experimental classes answered two more questions out of
25 correctly than students in the control group classes.The results suggest problem solving
and study skills are potential areas for further improvement in learning.
Math in the Real World: Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (2017)
Overall, the 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 all eligible students are correctly advised into these new pathways and that their math credits will transfer seamlessly to four-year college partners.
Mindfulness & Mindset: The Winning Combination? The Exploration of The unSTUCK Method® on Developmental Math Students: A Mixed Methods Study (2021)
The results from this study revealed that over 90% of the students found the unSTUCK
strategy beneficial and more than 66% transferred the tools they learned with the strategy to
other areas of their lives. Additionally, the findings showed a 4% decrease in general anxiety
levels, a 7% increase in pass rates, an 11% increase in final exam grades, and a 4% increase in
final course grades as compared to previous years’ data. However, no conclusions could be
drawn surrounding the unSTUCK strategy and its effect on students’ mindset.
An On-Ramp to Student Success A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of a Developmental Education Reform at the City University of New York (2021)
Most community college students are referred to developmental education courses to build basic
skills. These students often struggle in these courses and college more broadly. CUNY Start is a
prematriculation program for students assessed as having significant remedial needs. CUNY Start
students delay matriculation for one semester and receive time-intensive instruction in math, reading, and writing with a prescribed pedagogy delivered by trained teachers. The program aims to
help students complete remediation and prepare for college-level courses. This article describes the results of an experiment at four community colleges (n ≈ 3,800). We estimate that over three
years, including one semester that students spent in the program and two-and-a-half years after the program was complete, CUNY Start substantially increased college readiness, slightly increased credit accumulation, and modestly increased graduation rates (by increasing participation in CUNY’s highly effective ASAP).
A Pedagogy of Preparation: Helping Underprepared Students Succeed in College-Level Coursework in Community Colleges (2021)
This paper presents an overall educational philosophy of working with students underprepared for college-level work, which we term “a pedagogy of preparation.” We consider how instructors scaffolded instruction to foster college readiness in students who were now able to enroll in college-level work regardless of academic preparation after state-level legislation (SB 1720) that dramatically altered the delivery of developmental education in the Florida College System (FCS). We also consider how collaboration increased among campus personnel after the legislation to foster college readiness in students underprepared for college-level work.
Quantitative literacy: Alternative pathway for college developmental mathematics students (2019)
Low passing rates in developmental mathematics have been a serious concern for
community colleges for many years. A course in Quantitative Literacy (QL) offers non-STEM
students an alternative option to introductory algebra as a path to a degree. This paper describes
the implementation and evolution of QL at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Students enrolled in the 17 sections of QL were compared to a matched sample of students from
Elementary Algebra. The students enrolled in QL in the Spring of 2013 were 175% more likely to
have passed a credit-bearing mathematics course one year later, indicating that QL represents a
valuable alternative for non-STEM college students placed into algebra level remediation. Further,
the implementation and preliminary results of a corequisite course combining QL with college
level Quantitative Reasoning (QR) are presented.
Reforming Mathematics Classroom Pedagogy: Evidence-Based Findings and Recommendations for the Developmental Math Classroom (2011)
This literature review examines the evidence base on one potential means for improving the course completion and learning outcomes of developmental mathematics students: reforming mathematics classroom pedagogy. Each study examined for this review was classified into one of six sets according to the main instructional approach focused on in the study. The six sets are: student collaboration, metacognition, problem representation, application, understanding student thinking, and computer-based learning.
Students’ Reactions to Reform Mathematics Pedagogy in a Postsecondary Remedial Mathematics Course (2017)
The students in this study were enrolled in a remedial mathematics course at a small 4-
year university and were taught according to the reform pedagogical principles advocated by
NCTM, AMATYC, and MAA. Since most of the students had not been previously exposed to
these teaching methods, this study obtained students’ reactions (n = 22) to the course through an
anonymous, free-response (not multiple choice) survey at the end of the course. Surveys from
students in two equivalent “traditional” lecture courses (n = 44) were also analyzed and served as
a baseline by which to gauge students’ responses from the reform group. The surveys asked for
general likes and dislikes regarding the pedagogical practices that were employed in their
respective courses. The findings from the surveys were that students in the reform course
generally liked its key features (group work, student presentations, and graphing calculators), but
roughly half of the class wished that the instructor spent more time doing many more example
problems on the board as opposed to giving the class time to explore the mathematical principles
underlying the example problems. Teachers who wish to use reform pedagogical practices need
to be aware of student expectations as they plan their lessons.
Turning Math Remediation into "Homeroom:" Contextualization as a Motivational Environment for Community College Students in Remedial Math (2017)
Despite its compelling promise, contextualization has not been widely utilized in developmental math education at community colleges, and the small body of work that does deal with this topic is by and large descriptive (e.g., Ambrose, Davis, & Ziegler, 2013; Baker et al., 2009; Heckman & Weissglass, 1994; Perin, 2011), with only a handful empirical studies (e.g., Jenkins, Zeidenberg, & Kienzl, 2009; Wiseley, 2009).\n To conclude, we quote Brandon, whom we observed and interviewed during Phase 1 of our study and whose insights perfectly capture the contextualized remedial math classroom as "homeroom," where an approachable, dedicated, and supportive instructor purposefully creates and maintains an inviting, engaging, and motivating space for struggling students to "get" math and beyond. Because every student comes here for something different.
Online Resources, Reports, and Organizations