Facing the challenge of math as a gatekeeper to college completion
At the State University of New York (SUNY), we are committed to ensuring that every student graduates and is well prepared for success in the workforce. We know that strengthening and accelerating student learning in mathematics is critical to achieving our goal. Our data show that mathematics, and developmental mathematics in particular, has been a primary gatekeeper to college completion for thousands of our students. We had to radically change how we approach mathematics education if we were going to help more students reach their college and career goals.
The search for a new approach
We began by working with faculty in our system to investigate new alternative approaches within our system and across the field. As part of our investigation, we learned about Carnegie Math Pathways and their quantitative and statistical reasoning pathways – Quantway and Statway. Impressed by the evidence of the Pathways’ impact in other systems and states, as well as the philosophy behind their student-centered approach and dedication to professional learning, our faculty made the case for adoption and our system decided to formally partner with Carnegie Math Pathways to bring these course options to SUNY colleges and universities.
Improvements in outcomes and the student experience
Our partnership with Carnegie Math Pathways has given SUNY colleges the tools to transform the way they serve students who need support in mathematics, laying the groundwork for increased graduation and completion rates. Originally piloted at two SUNY colleges, Quantway and Statway has now been used at more than half of the community colleges across our system.
Our Pathways-implementing colleges have demonstrated a noticeable improvement in student outcomes compared to students in traditional course sequences. Several of our schools have also made important advances in addressing equity gaps in success rates.
The relevant curriculum, combined with a collaborative learning approach and embedded social emotional learning support have truly made a difference to students. Our faculty are seeing improved attendance, engagement, and success in their classes. And students are telling us that they really feel like their math course has a purpose. Students have shared that Carnegie Math Pathways has helped them overcome math anxiety and helped them develop skills they never thought possible.
Our students’ success through Quantway and Statway is bringing both personal and institutional benefits. Students are achieving their gateway math credit within one year and building confidence that is supporting them as they advance in their studies and beyond. By investing in math instruction and providing math options that are meaningful to students’ studies and careers, our colleges are seeing improved and more equitable outcomes.
Building the infrastructure for institutional improvement
Our partnership has helped us catalyze a system-wide network of faculty, administrators, and advisors committed to institutionalizing math pathways and supporting faculty learning and development.
Through this professional network, our educators have benefited from robust professional learning including Pathways trainings, mentorship development, and opportunities to share resources and support each other in improving practice. In partnership with Carnegie Math Pathways, we’ve coordinated large bi-annual learning forums that bring research and practitioner expertise together to improve students’ experiences in learning mathematics.
The result is a transformation in learning and teaching at 28 SUNY institutions that has impacted more than 20,000 students and over 475 faculty, administrators, advisors, and support staff.
Carnegie Math Pathways has also helped us build the infrastructure for our culture of student success that is integral to our corresponding efforts in corequisite English, multiple measures placement, and Guided Pathways.
Thanks to the early work of dramatically rethinking our math programs and our partnership with Carnegie Math Pathways, SUNY has begun making a real difference in our students’ success in math, and valuable strides towards ensuring the success of all our students.