Rethinking Math Remediation: Increasing Student Completion through Pathway Redesign Oregon CCWD Work Group Meeting December 6, 2013 Myra Snell Mathematics Professor, Los Medanos College Math Lead, California Acceleration Project http://cap.3csn.org
What’s the problem? The more levels of developmental courses a student must go through, the less likely that student is to ever complete college English or math. Bailey, Thomas. (February 2009). Rethinking Developmental Education. CCRC Brief. Community College Research Center. Teachers College, Columbia University.
Nationwide data256,672 first-time degree-seeking students from 57 colleges participating in Achieving the Dream Referral, Enrollment, and Completion in Developmental Education Sequences in Community Colleges (CCRC Working Paper No. 15). By: Thomas Bailey, Dong WookJeong & Sung-Woo Cho. December 2008. New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. (Revised November 2009).
DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACTAcross California In California, Black and Latino students are much more likely to be placed 3-4 levels below college math: Black students: 61% Latino students: 53% White students: 34% Asian students: 32% Perry, M.; Bahr, P.R.; Rosin, M.; & Woodward, K.M. (2010). Course-taking patterns, policies, and practices in developmental education in the California Community Colleges. Mountain View, CA: EdSource.
Remedial attrition: a structural problem Students placed 2 levels below college Math face 6 “exit points” where they fall away: • Do they enroll in the first course? • If they enroll, do they pass the first course? • If they pass, do they enroll in the next course? • If they enroll, do they pass the second course? • If they pass, do they enroll in the college-level course? • If they enroll, do they pass the college-level course? Students placed 3 levels down face 8 exit points.
Illustration: Los medanos College Fall 2010 Cohort. Students tracked from their first developmental Math enrollment and followed for all subsequent Math enrollments for 3 years. Pass rates includes students passing on first or repeated attempts within timeframe. Basic Skills Cohort Tracker, DataMart. Students beginning two levels below College Math: • Do they enroll in the first course (Elem. Alg.)? ??% • If they enroll, do they pass the first course? 73% (190/259) • If they pass, do they enroll in the next course (Int. Alg.)? 78% (148/190) • If they enroll, do they pass the second course? 74% (109/148) • If they pass, do they enroll in the college-levelcourse? 73% (80/109) • If they enroll, do they pass the college-level course? 79% (63/80) (0.73)(0.78)(0.74)(0.73)(0.79)= 24%
A Thought experiment…if more students passed the first course, How many would complete college level? (0.73)(0.78)(0.74)(0.73)(0.79)= 24% If 80% passed the first course… If 90% passed the first course… What if 90% passed and persisted at each point?
BOTTOM LINE Improving our results within the existing multi-level system will not improve completion rates. We need to fundamentally restructure our approach to serving under-prepared students and reduce the exit points where we lose them.
Why A Statistics Pathway at 21 colleges in CA? • Most students (abut 70%) take Statistics to satisfy GE requirements for transfer • Algebra preparation is not well aligned with Statistics (look forward, not back)
LMC statistics pathway • A pre-stat course + transferable Intro Stats • Pre-stat course is 6 semester units with no prerequisite; students at all placement levels can enroll • Backwards design from Statistics: content contextualized in data analysis; looks and feels like first 1/3 of a college-level statistics course with a heavier emphasis on regression with linear and exponential functions; project-based • Just-in-time remediation of algebra and arithmetic topics • Attention to the affective domain
A Peek into a Pre-stats Classroom • Video footage from Myra Snell’s pre-statistics course, Fall 2009. Course is open to students at all placement levels. • Los Medanos students grapple with a problem from the national statistics exam, CAOS • Video filmed and edited by Jose Reynoso, a student co-inquirer working with Snell through a grant from the Faculty Inquiry Network http://cap.3csn.org/teaching/teaching-pre-statistics-courses/
LMC Statistics Pathway: Benefits For Students At All Placement Levels Los Medanos completion rates by placement level
Statistics Pathways offered at 21 CA Community Colleges with support from the California Acceleration Projecthttp://cap.3csn.org • Part of California Community College Success Network (3CSN): a professional development network funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office • Colleges interested in pathway redesign apply (must offer at least 2 sections of pre-stats a year and share data) • Those accepted send a team of math faculty (2-4 people) • Attend three 2-3 day curriculum institutes during an 8-month period • Coaching from faculty experienced with teaching in statistics pathways • Shared curricular resources
California Acceleration ProjectPrinciples for Curricular Redesign • Colleges develop localized versions of a statistics pathway (content, units, pre-requisites differ) that shorten remediation and align it with statistics • Most statistics pathways reflect five key principles: • Backward design from college-level courses • Relevant, thinking-oriented curriculum • Just-in-time remediation • Low-stakes, collaborative practice • Intentional support for students’ affective needs
California Acceleration Project Evaluation Preliminary Results • Craig Hayward • Terrence Willett • Community College League of California, Annual Conference 2013 • Burlingame, California
The Impact of Acceleration Two analyses of student completion of transferable Math at 6colleges piloting acceleration in 2011-12 • Completion rates by placement level among 333 students with no prior course taking in math at the college • Results from a logistic regression model of the impact of accelerated courses, 501 students (includes students with prior math course attempts) RP Group, CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, CCLC Annual Conference, November 2013
Accelerated Students: Key Demographics Most placed into multiple semesters of remediation in the traditional sequence • Math: 46% at three or more levels below; 38% at two levels below Greater proportion of Black &Hispanic students than traditional curriculum, fewer Asians in Math • Math: 41% Hispanic (+9%); 12% Black (+1%); 5% Asian (-13%) RP Group, CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, CCLC Annual Conference, November 2013
Cohort Completion Rate: First-Time Math Students RP Group, CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, CCLC Annual Conference, November 2013
Multivariate ModelFirst-time takers & students with prior course-taking in discipline Logistic regression assessed the impact of acceleration on student completion of college-level courses, controlling for other variables that influence completion: Placement level in the sequence First-time status in the sequence Prior successes and non-successes in the sequence Ethnicity (Asian, Black, Hispanic) Gender Starting term (Fall 2011 or Spring 2012) Math: 501 accelerated & 41,110 comparison students Model is strongly predictive (Nagelkerke R Squares of .533) RP Group, CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, CCLC Annual Conference, November 2013
Multivariate Model:Key Findings Accelerated students 3.3x more likely to complete transferable Math course No achievement gap for Hispanic & Black students in accelerated math. In accelerated math pathways, race is no longer predictive of completion for Hispanics or Blacks. In math, students’ initial placement is no longer predictive of their completion. • RP Group, CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, CCLC Annual Conference, November 2013
Sample Assessments • Away from…decontextualized algebra, mimicry of symbolic procedures and template word problems An apple falling from a tree is h feet above the ground t seconds after it begins to fall, where h=64-16t^2. How long does it take the apple to hit the ground? • Toward… data analysis and decision-making in the face of uncertainty What factors correlate with low birth weights? Use graphs and conditional percentages to investigate the relationship between one of the factors in the data set and low birth weight. Present your results in 500 words or less, include relevant graphs and calculations. Data set: Birth weights and 6 qualitative factors from a Massachusetts study of 189 pregnant women.
Intentional Support for Students’ Affective Needs Student fears and fixed mindsets are two of the biggest challenges to overcome in high-challenge accelerated classes. • The College Fear Factor by Rebecca Cox Many community college students fear that they’re not cut out for college and cope with this fear by withdrawing and/or “avoiding assessment” (e.g., not take tests, not turn in papers) • “Brainology” by Carol Dweck Whether students have a “fixed” or “growth” mindset about their own intelligence strongly influences their academic performance, especially their response to challenging tasks
Student Reflections “It was developing my critical thinking. Not just looking at a formula and learning how to solve it – you know, where does this go, what are the rules….It’s more about evaluating, it’s more about the analysis…It’s more about understanding how to make a conclusion about the data set.” Describing her instructor’s approach to the class: “It’s kind of like…You dig in and get your hands dirty, however you feel you need to, and I’m here for you to help clarify, to help understand, help get you along better. I like that. It’s more like the instructor is a facilitator, as opposed to, I’m spewing out all this information that I need you to regurgitate on an exam.” -Accelerated Pre-Statistics Students at College of the Canyons
Faculty Reflections What I learned about myself as a teacher: “I love teaching this class. It resonates with everything I want out of teaching.” “What I learned about myself as a teacher is that the less teaching I do, the better. Students seem to gain more with student-centered classes.” “I unconsciously and unknowingly ‘teach’ in ways that sometimes exacerbate rather than ameliorate ‘affective issues.’” What I learned about students: “Students are interested in learning the ‘understanding,’ not just the ‘how.’ I get lots of ‘what if’ questions, more than before.” “I kind of started getting into this mindset, Well, if they don’t care, I can’t make them care…I really just thought it was laziness. Now I realize…it’s just that students are intimidated. They don’t want to act like they care because then they would be failures if they didn’t succeed.”
Implementation Challenges: ARticulation Current policies at CSU and UC require that all transferable math courses have Intermediate Algebra pre-requisite (regardless of relevance) Current solution: Use Title 5 (CA Ed Code) mandate that colleges provide pre-requisite challenge mechanisms to students who can demonstrate they can be successful in a higher-level course without the pre-requisite. Colleges piloting redesigned statistics pathways are keeping Intermediate Algebra as the official pre-requisite for Statistics but using expedited pre-req challenge process to qualify successful pre-stats students for Statistics.
CA Ed Code § 55003. Policies for Prerequisites, Corequisites and Advisories on Recommended Preparation. (p) Any prerequisite or corequisite may be challenged by a student on one or more of the grounds listed below. .... Challenges shall be resolved in a timely manner and, if the challenge is upheld, the student shall be permitted to enroll in the course or program in question. Grounds for challenge are … (4) the student has the knowledge or ability to succeed in the course or program despite not meeting the prerequisite or corequisite; ...
Implementation Challenges: Professional development Accelerated remediation math involves significant changes to what and how faculty are teaching. And textbooks/other resources are overwhelmingly geared toward traditional, decelerated approaches. Emerging solution: Free collaborative faculty development through 3CSN, funded by the state chancellor’s office to provide professional development for the Basic Skills Initiative
Closing Advice: Getting started at your college Getting started at your college: • In a department meeting examine your department’s pipeline data to make the case for shortening the remedial sequence • Read and discuss recent briefs on math pathways (See resources at Complete College America or Learning Works) • Turn objections into research questions • Advocate for running a pllot (preferably for several semesters) and agree on formative evidence to examine • Connect to innovators at other colleges to share in the development of curriculum and for support • Whenever possible put a student face on the work, use student voices (interviews, classroom video, etc.)
Closing Advice: Working on Broader Policy obstacles • Create an echo chamber: present at local conferences, put this issue on agendas for any and all relevant committees both inside and outside your college, tap listserves and other networks • Help administrators, A&R personnel, and counselors understand the rationale for pathways and ask them to help navigate implementation obstacles • Create opportunities for conversation with four-year partners (pose questions, discuss research, use data) • Connect your initiative to broader goals (e.g. college grant goals, AtD,, statewide completion goals, Obama’s 2020 Vision) • Be patient and persistent • Always advocate for students