Strong Start To Finish
Steps to Success

Prioritizing Success for All Students

In this Steps to Success we learn how Maryland community college and university leaders have implemented a new, shortened statistics pathway as a math option for six community college and four universities.
March 11, 2019
Dr. Alycia Marshall, Nancy Shapiro
Tags: Alignment, 4. Streamline remediation options., Transfer and Course Applicability

Historically, a college education has often been linked to economic growth and success in life (National Research Council, 2013; Treisman, 2015). Unfortunately, a student’s lack of ability to persist through remedial coursework, particularly in mathematics, can negatively impact college completion. To make matters worse, more students are now entering college underprepared for college-level mathematics (USDE, 2017). As a result, mathematics has been labeled as “too difficult,” and the discipline itself has been depicted as a “barrier” to college completion and certain STEM careers (Bressoud, 2018; Bryk & Treisman 2010; Saxe & Braddy, 2015). This issue is compounded by a perceived lack of relevance and alignment to students’ majors and future career goals. More troubling is the disproportionate number of minority and low-income students who are often placed in developmental mathematics courses (EdSource, 2012), further delaying college completion and potentially widening the achievement gap. In response to this, the state of Maryland has joined a nationwide mathematics pathways movement to better align courses with programs of study while shortening the time to college completion. This Steps to Success Paper will discuss how a shortened statistics pathway was developed and successfully implemented in the state of Maryland so that other states and systems may benefit from this experience.