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Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

The Joyful Conspiracy: Ensuring all students benefit from relevant, rigorous mathematics pathways.

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Mathematics should…

Prepare students for the future.

Mathematics should…

Enable students to meet their educational goals.

Mathematics should…

Support and empower students as learners.

The Status Quo Is Unacceptable

Hundreds of thousands of students fail higher education mathematics courses every year. Hundreds of thousands more pass courses that do not prepare them for their futures.

A growing body of evidence identifies traditional postsecondary mathematics as a primary obstacle to degree completion and equitable outcomes for millions of students.

Mathematics should not be a barrier to student success. Knowledge of mathematics empowers individuals to engage productively in a society and economy that increasingly rely on data and quantitative reasoning.

Through the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP), we address this problem through a systemic strategy and work with stakeholders from national associations to the classroom level.

Mathematics pathways are a rapidly growing national movement in colleges and universities that better support student learning and success. We seek to ensure that ALL students have access to high-quality mathematics pathways that:

  • Are aligned to students’ goals;
  • Accelerate student progress toward completion;
  • Integrate student learning supports;
  • Use evidence-based curriculum and pedagogy.

The DCMP has worked in more than 30 states with numerous higher education systems and hundreds of colleges and universities to develop and implement mathematics pathways.

Learn more about the evidence behind math pathways.

The DCMP Principles at Work

The DCMP defines high-quality mathematics pathways based on four principles. We provide tools, services, and resources to help local leaders determine their own vision for math pathways based on the DCMP model.

Mathematics pathways are structured so that:

  1. All students, regardless of college readiness, enter directly into mathematics pathways aligned to their programs of study.
  2. Students complete their first college-level math requirement in their first year of college.
  3. Strategies to support students as learners are integrated into courses and are aligned across the institution.
  4. Instruction incorporates evidence-based curriculum and pedagogy.

Working Across the System

A systemic problem requires a systemic solution. The Charles A. Dana Center understands that faculty, student affairs professionals, administrators, and others at the local level are essential to implementing mathematics pathways. But their efforts are often hindered by obstacles in state policy or in the transfer and applicability of courses across institutions.

The DCMP theory of change is based on working across all levels of the system. Action at the local institutional and classroom levels informs and influences state and national leadership. In turn, change at the national and state levels enables broad, large-scale action locally.

How the DCMP Works

  • National Level
    • Present models and evidence of effectiveness
    • Mobilize and collaborate with professional associations
    • Foster discussion and learning in the field
  • State, System, and Regional Levels
    • Empower faculty at 2- and 4-year institutions to take leadership roles
    • Mobilize state, system, and regional leaders and organizations to work with faculty
    • Provide processes and services to address state-, system-, and regional-level challenges in policy and cross-institutional coordination
  • Institutional Level
    • Develop and provide implementation tools and professional learning services
    • Support cross-institutional collaborations and engage local leaders
  • Classroom Level
    • Mobilize and engage faculty
    • Develop and provide professional learning services and course materials
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