Re-Thinking Pre-College Math Project
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Washington Student Completion Initiative:Re-Thinking Pre-College Math Project
Background/Overall Goal:
This project builds on and extends the successes of and lessons learned from the Transition Math Project (TMP), including the College Readiness Mathematics Standards as a central foundation, shifting the focus of the intervention from high schools to the pre-college math programs in Washington community and technical colleges. Long-term the project is designed to increase student success and college/career readiness in mathematics, but over the three-year term of the grant those long-term goals are addressed through and assessed primarily by focusing on the core design principles above in a focused effort to improve the pre-college mathematics experience for students in Washington community and technical colleges.

Specific Focus:
We will develop and support a coalition of community and technical colleges focused on improving student math achievement by making substantive changes in core educational practices (curriculum, instructional practices and teacher support, assessment) and teacher beliefs and behaviors in their pre-college math programs. Participating institutions will be selected based on their willingness to commit fully to the work, assemble an appropriate team of faculty and instructional leaders, engage part-time faculty in the work, and where possible strengthen community partnerships (businesses, area high schools, university colleges of education). A key feature of these college teams is that they would include a solid commitment from the math department collectively, not just from individual and isolated math faculty. During the first year of the project, faculty from the colleges in the coalition would be guided through a review and analysis of a limited menu of “practices worthy of attention” across the major domains of educational practice: curriculum, instruction (approaches and teacher support), and assessment (see list below for some examples). The goal will be to build consensus around a set of strategies and then explore the consequences and implications of attempting to “go to scale” around adopting/adapting these strategies across the set of colleges in the coalition.

The pre-college math work will focus on three critical long-term outcomes related to student achievement in math: preparation, performance, and persistence. In order to address those long-term outcomes, the work proposed addresses more intermediate outcomes around curricular structures and teacher behaviors and beliefs that are essential levers for producing the long-term student outcomes. A crucial aspect of the learning anticipated from this project involves understanding more fully the processes and challenges involved in taking these changes in structures and behaviors/beliefs to scale, both within a college math department and across multiple colleges in a system.

Intermediate Outcomes
ØDesign and implement new curricular models in pre-college math The first year of the project will focus initially on reviewing, analyzing and sharing existing work around Washington and the country with respect to pre-college math curricula. Through this process a select cohort of colleges will be invited into the ongoing project and will define specific strategies to pursue within the project parameters. The selected colleges will implement and evaluate their strategies in year two, then document/disseminate their work in year three.

ØDevelop a math community of practice supporting teachers in addressing changes in math instructional strategies and classroom approaches In addition to exploring curricular models, year one of the grant will engage faculty involved in the project in discussions of current research on learning and pedagogical approaches in mathematics. Facilitated by the Washington Center staff, faculty will form Inquiry Groups around targeted instructional strategies to provide ongoing support and technical assistance for project colleges. These faculty-led Inquiry Groups will become ongoing resources for the system as a whole after the grant ends.

ØRefine and extend use of web-based resource providing math assessment support for students and teachersWashington Math Assessment and Placement (WAMAP.org), one of the key components of the Transition Math Project, provides an extensive library of math tasks and items that teachers can use in a variety of ways to diagnose and assess math competence. Our goal in this project is to utilize the existing WAMAP “power users” as resources for integrating the platform more fully into the pre-college math curriculum at the cohort of colleges involved. Through this process we will also continue refining the platform and work to make it more widely available, as a free, open-source tool, to both college and high school math teachers.

Long-term Outcomes
1.Preparation—students at the participating colleges will improve their college readiness in mathematics as measured by the College Readiness Math Test [or some other common set of items representing a consensus set of core elements of college readiness in mathematics].
2.Performance—the percentage of students completing the pre-college math courses they attempt at the participating colleges will increase and the students’ grades in those courses will improve.
3.Persistence—the number of students at the participating colleges taking and completing a college-level math course will increase, as will the number of those students earning the subsequent Student Achievement momentum points (15 college-level credits and 30 college-level credits—see http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_studentachievement.aspx for more details about the Student Achievement Initiative).

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