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Math Initiative

The current system-wide community and technical college math initiative — Math Pathways to Completion — builds on the work of the system Math Strategic Plan and on earlier math-related efforts — Rethinking Precollege Math, Transition Math Project, and Student Attributes for Math Success (SAMS) — to help all students succeed in math.

Lack of math attainment is the most common stumbling block that prevents students from achieving their academic and career goals. Math is a particular roadblock to academic success and higher lifetime earnings for students of color and students from low-income families — students whose needs are most often left unmet by traditional structures and practices.

Our colleges are central to solving this problem because they reach students at many educational levels:

  • Pre-college courses for recent high school graduates and returning adults.
  • Job training and certification for many mid-level jobs and careers.
  • Academic transfer to baccalaureate colleges and universities.



Bill Moore
Director, K-12 Partnerships

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Mathematics Pathways to Completion (MPC) is a multi-state project (Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Washington) focused on establishing and implementing a statewide vision for math pathways. The overall project goal state is to make that vision a reality at all public higher education institutions, dramatically improving the success of students in developmental and entry-level college mathematics courses by clarifying and expanding appropriate math pathways for students across the state.

The system Math Strategic Plan aims to transform math from an obstacle to an engaging learning experience that opens doors of opportunity. The goal of this plan is to help more students — especially traditionally underserved students — complete academic and professional-technical programs by eliminating barriers to success in math for all students.

  • Define and promote college-level math pathways tailored to students’ academic majors and/ or professional and technical program requirements, and align pre-college curriculum to those pathways.
  • Improve and expand academic and career pathway advising to help students choose math pathways that support their goals, while leaving the door open to reach even higher goals.
  • Extend math reforms to improve opportunities for students interested in a path from professional and technical programs to baccalaureate programs.
    Engage faculty and staff in sustained work to bring improvements in math success to scale.
  • Expand the MESA program.
  • Clearly define and use metrics for measuring progress.

There is a growing consensus nationally that students need different mathematics skills depending on their programs of study. Redesign of entry college-level and developmental mathematics courses to form mathematics pathways is becoming increasingly common as colleges and universities determine how to encourage and support student populations not well served by the traditional calculus sequence.

In Washington state there is a systemic mathematics policy in place, via articulated math pathways described in the Washington Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA), and a statewide math strategic plan identifying math pathways as a central strategy for success.  However, there are three critical problems that need to be addressed in order to bring math pathways to scale in Washington state:

  • Aligning the content of college-level mathematics courses to educational/career pathways
  • Creating clear links between precollege mathematics and college level math pathways
  • Incorporating valid and reliable placement procedures while giving students access to intentional advising procedures framed around math pathways.

To learn more about having your institution participate in the Math Pathways to Completion campus initiative and the fall Designing Math Pathways events, join an informational webinar on May 8 or May 11 (4-5 p.m. each day).

We invite you to participate in the Math Pathways project.

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Last Modified: 8/15/17 12:30 PM