Saturday, April 28, 2012

Math Pathways: Designing for Success

On Friday April 27, 2012, Los Angeles Pierce College hosted a conference to share ideas about curricular and institutional redesign efforts for mathematics at two-year colleges.  A central theme was to improve the rate that  students are able to achieve degrees, certificates, and transfers to four-year institutions--essentially the "to and through" goal embraced by the Statway and Quantway projects of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and by the New Mathways projects of the Charles A. Dana Center.

A substantial majority of community college students who take a placement exam place into remedial education courses.  And perhaps only one in five of those who place in remedial math ever succeed in passing a college level math course.

Julie Phelps of Valencia Community College FL was the keynote speaker. She provided a national perspective on the the scope of the problem of students languishing in developmental math classes and discussed some of the initiatives throughout the U.S. that are trying to address the issue.

The break-out sessions at the conference were grouped into three themes:  Before Algebra, STEM Pathways, and Non-STEM Pathways.  At each break-out, math faculty panelists from local community colleges (Pasadena City College, College of the Canyons, and Pierce) discussed strategies being implemented at their campuses.

The conference was sponsored by the California Community Colleges Success Network (3CSN) under the leadership of Deborah Harrington and organized by dean Crystal Kiekel of Pierce College. The website will host slideshows for not only the keynote presentation from Julie Phelps, but also from the break-out presenters Linda Hintzman, Charlie Hogue, and Roger Yang  of Pasadena City College; Kathy Kubo and Matt Teachout of College of the Canyons; Bob Martinez, Jenni Martinez, Ben Smith, Kathie Yoder, and Kathy Yoshiwara of Los Angeles Pierce College.


geoff said...

Report on 4/27 3CSN meeting at Pierce

Bruce Yoshiwara said...

Regarding Geoff's report:

1) 3CSN is funded by the California state chancellor's office, not by a private foundation.

2) My facetious question about AMATYC was merely to get a plug for AMATYC (and was not any criticism about a perceived omission of AMATYC). Actually Julie Phelps is herself a representative of AMATYC--she was AMATYC's liaison with the Carnegie Foundation's Quantway and Statway initiatives at the time of the 3CSN conference.

Nor was CMC^3-South being slighted. CMC^3-South does not have nor endorse any pathway initiatives. I was part of the planning team for this 3CSN conference, and I'm on the executive boards of CMC^3 South (and AMATYC), so 3CSN did actually involve professional math organizations.

3) The main purpose of the conference was to highlight some examples of redesigns to improve student success, where a key criterion of program success is getting students from developmental level through a transfer level math class. The fact that Pearson was not mentioned reflects that the initiatives discussed did not use Pearson products, or at least not significantly.

geoff said...

Thanks for the response, Bruce. I am happy to hear your support for 3CSN, and you've allayed some of my skepticism.

At College of the Desert we are currently planning to do something very similar to what you all are doing at Pierce and what the folks are doing at PCC: an immersion program to boot strap students who might otherwise repeat the pattern of half-baked failure of which we see too much.

Thanks for leading the way and being the beacon of math pedagogy innovation that you are.