# Core Principle 5

## Align courses with programs of study.

*Every student is provided access to multiple pathways, such as statistics and data science, that integrate rigorous math appropriate to different disciplines and to the well-paying careers of today and tomorrow.*

There is growing consensus among professional associations of mathematicians that intermediate algebra and college algebra should not be the default requirement for programs that do not depend on their content. Students pursuing a program that does not require calculus would be better served by taking a rigorous mathematics course aligned with their intended major. High-quality gateway courses in statistics or mathematical modeling, rather than college algebra, may be more appropriate for the large percentage of students who are not in a STEM program. To determine the appropriate math courses for a given program of study, it is important to consider the competencies needed for successful employment in a field of study as well as to map backwards from the competencies needed to perform well in a major’s advanced courses.

Significant focus should also be placed on ensuring that faculty receive the necessary professional development to teach alternative math courses. Currently, most math faculty only receive training in calculus-based pathways; with no prior training in statistics, many are reluctant to teach these courses. Faculty within and across two-year and four-year institutions must also be supported in outlining program-level outcomes and in aligning math courses with broad fields of study or meta majors. Ensuring the integration of pathways with gateway courses is crucial. In addition to the intentional and ongoing support of faculty, advisors also require professional development and training to provide effective, tailored advising that results in students taking the right math coursework for their educational and career goals.

Finally, the most effective institutions know that math pathways must not simply be created and set in stone, lest they become barriers to student success in the future. Care should be taken to ensure that pathways are continually modernized and aligned to provide real access to high-remuneration careers in an evolving world of work.

Next Principle### Sources

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### Implementation Guides

American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Project. Guided Pathways: Planning, Implementation, Evaluation.

Charles A. Dana Center. Mathematics Pathways. Guide to Aligning Mathematics Pathways to Programs of Study.

Charles A. Dana Center. Mathematics Pathways. Implementation Guide.

Community College Research Center. Implementing Guided Pathways: Early Insights From the AACC Pathways Colleges.