College Readiness

Back to Policy Resources

Back to Policy Resources

Issue: College readiness has traditionally been defined as readiness for College Algebra, with the assumption that all students are following a mathematics pathway leading to calculus. Consequently, in many states, college readiness is linked to completion of intermediate algebra and equivalent cut-off scores on standardized tests designed to assess algebraic manipulation skills.

Institutions are redesigning developmental prerequisites and placement standards to better align to the college-level mathematics courses that students need for their chosen programs of study—many of which do not require calculus.

The Dana Center works with state agencies, higher education systems, and policymakers to redefine college readiness more flexibly. We work with faculty to design more effective mathematics pathways with appropriate content and readiness standards. For example, these efforts enable students, who are pursuing programs of study that are not algebraically-intensive, to be considered college ready by meeting readiness standards aligned to the college-level math course they will enter. These standards can be met through appropriate placement measures or through developmental courses with content aligned to their math pathway.


  • Mathematics Prerequisites for Success in Introductory Statistics by Roxy Peck, Rob Gould, and Jessica Utts: An independent analysis of the prerequisite skills and concepts that students need to be successful in Introductory Statistics. Recommended resource for faculty planning content and setting readiness standards for gateway statistics courses.
  • Call to Action to Expand Access to Statistics: Dana Center recommendations on increasing access to statistics by eliminating algebraic-intensive readiness standards. Recommended resource for faculty, administrators, and others involved in designing math pathways.

Texas Policy Resources:

Spotlight resource


Texas Success Initiative (TSI): Negotiated Rulemaking Update (August 2014) [pdf, 78KB]: A summary of changes to the Texas Education Administrative Code regarding the new definitions of college.