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Equity. Access. Excellence.

Looking at the Impact of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Model

Through our work in higher education policies, structures, and teaching practices, the Dana Center aims to improve students’ success in postsecondary mathematics and guided pathways.

Read about some of the internal and external evaluations examining the impact of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) model on outcomes for postsecondary students.


Math Pathways to Completion

Since 2016, the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College has been conducting evaluations on Math Pathways to Completion (MPC) work in six states: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington.

Researchers from CCRC conducted qualitative interviews, focus groups, and observations of the MPC work to gather baseline data on each state regarding structures, processes, and policies related to math course taking and matriculation. CCRC also provided technical assistance to states, assisting them in understanding their data and using the data to plan for math pathways implementation.

Impact Reported

Early findings indicated there are five critical dimensions of scaling mathematics pathways statewide:

  1. Statewide scaling of mathematics pathways requires attention to both the transferability and applicability of alternative college-level mathematics courses. 
  2. State-level change is enabled by engagement and leadership from across two-year and four-year sectors.  
  3. In order to move toward scaling, states must devise robust mechanisms for gaining consensus on student learning outcomes of multiple mathematics pathways.
  4. State-level scaling work is enabled by the engagement of a diverse array of non-mathematics stakeholders, including institutional administrators, state-level policymakers, advisors, and faculty from multiple disciplines.  
  5. Planning for mathematics pathways implementation is advantaged by close coordination with ongoing reforms to developmental mathematics, guided pathways, and other similar initiatives. 

Upcoming Reports

Funding for CCRC MPC work will end in April 2019, and the final report is expected at that time.


Temple Foundation, East Texas

The Dana Center received a grant through the Temple Foundation to work with two- and four-year institutions in East Texas. This work focuses on the implementation of co-requisite mathematics pathways through multiple strands of work: Leadership, Policy, Advising, Faculty Capacity, K12 Transition, and Regional Infrastructure.

The Dana Center evaluation team will evaluate the regional approach to scaling math pathways. This will help determine what actions and resources are necessary and sufficient for scaling and the impact of Dana Center work on student enrollment and completion in entry-level postsecondary math courses.

In addition, the evaluation effort will determine the impact of regional, institutional, and K12-higher education partnership activities and the necessary tools and resources for establishing coherence and building capacity for sustained work beyond the project period.

Upcoming Reports

As of Fall 2018, the evaluation work is in its early stages. Data collection began June 2018 at the Temple Leadership Convening. The first internal report is set for publication and dissemination fall 2018.


Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) Randomized Study of Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) study, conducted by researchers from MDRC and Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College (CCRC), in collaboration with the Dana Center, randomly enrolled students into either DCMP developmental math courses or traditional developmental math over two years.

Sources of evidence included site visits, classroom observations, focus groups, individual interviews, and analysis of student-level data to determine the success of the DCMP model and curriculum.

Early findings show significantly more DCMP students passed their developmental math requirementsand enrolledin and passed acollege-level math course within one year than did students in traditional developmental education. Findings also show positive changes in students’ classroom experience.

Upcoming Reports

Full results will be available in fall 2019.


Combining Multiple Pathways Aligned to Fields of Study with Developmental Acceleration: A Multi-College Investigation of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways in Texas

To determine differences in student outcomes for students who enroll in traditional developmental math courses and students who enroll in accelerated DCMP math courses, University of Texas at Austin professor Lauren Schudde, in collaboration with the Dana Center evaluation team, retrieved high school and postsecondary student data from Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 cohorts from the Texas Education Research Center (ERC), the state longitudinal database.

Impact Reported

Using propensity score matching to match traditional developmental education and DCMP students, Dr. Schudde found the following results for the Fall 2014 cohort. Students in the accelerated model accumulated more college-level credits by the end of their first year in college than did their peers in developmental education. They were also equally likely as their peers to complete developmental education requirements and were more likely:

  • to enroll in gateway math courses,
  • to pass gateway math courses, and
  • to persist in college than were their peers who enrolled in traditional developmental math sequences.

For the fall 2015 cohort of students, there was a statistically significant improvement in student outcomes for students who enrolled in accelerated math pathways including, increases in

  • enrolling in college math,
  • passing college math, and 
  • earning a higher percentage of college-level credits in the semester after an accelerated math pathways course.  

Upcoming Reports

This project is longitudinally tracking students from Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016. Analysis of the Fall 2016 cohort will be available in 2018.