Many students in the Deep East Texas region have hopes and dreams of earning a college degree leading to a better life for themselves and their families. All too often, mathematics course completion has been a challenge to achieving those dreams. From misalignment of math courses with students’ programs of study to student placement into long developmental sequences, it was clear the system needed to be transformed within and across the educational ecosystem.
Overview: Creating Alignment for Student Success
Gateway mathematics course completion has been particularly challenging for students in many regions and states, including Deep East Texas.
With the support of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, in 2017 the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin embarked on an initiative to work with 11 higher education institutions and select K–12 partners in Deep East Texas to create better alignment of math courses to students’ programs of study through the implementation of multiple mathematics pathways. The “Accelerating Mathematics Pathways in Deep East Texas” project also addressed key transfer and co-requisite issues across these institutions.
We focused on building strong relationships and fostering conversations to create deeper collaboration and shared understanding across the participating institutions: Angelina College, Kilgore College, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College–Orange, Lamar State College–Port Arthur, Lamar University, Lee College, Panola College, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texarkana College, and Texas A&M University–Texarkana.
Outcomes: Creating Better Opportunities for Students
100% of the institutions now offer at least three mathematics pathways to meet quantitative core curriculum requirements needed for degree completion. Having multiple pathways is essential for gateway math course alignment to programs of study and for transfer across institutions.
There was a 116% increase in completion of a college-level math course in two years. This increase translates to 633 additional students—who had been identified as needing a developmental math course—who passed a college-level math course, putting them on the pathway to credential completion.
Institutions increased co-requisite course enrollment in two years, from 17 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019, on average.
Long-term relationships formed across institutions to foster ongoing dialogue and support continuous improvement, particularly around transfer and applicability.
Elements for Success: Our Approach to Change
Focusing on collaboration, we supported institutions to better align mathematics courses and to implement continuous improvement processes. The project focused on multiple strands of work.
Conducting professional learning on scaling math pathways for campus leaders and faculty
Exploring conditions and local policies needed to scale math pathways
Developing tools and resources to advise students on the best pathway aligned for their programs of study
Supporting faculty in using accelerated math courses to reduce time to completion of credit-bearing courses
Fostering collaboration with regional school districts to align transition courses with math pathways
Building the infrastructure to lead math pathways work through developing tools and resources to assist mid-level leaders in change management
For the full impact of this work, download the overview or full report.
Learn more about our work in Deep East Texas
Download the overview or full report.