Large numbers of students entering community colleges are deemed not academically prepared for college-level math. These students have historically been assigned to one or more non-credit-bearing courses for remedial, often called developmental, math instruction before they can take college-level courses. Research has found that most students assigned to traditional developmental math course sequences never complete those sequences or attain a credential. The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) model was created in 2011 to better support the needs of these students. It diversifies developmental and college-level math course content, separating it into distinct pathways that better align with students’ career interests. It also streamlines the developmental math sequence so students can move into college-level courses more quickly.
This brief highlights the findings from a rigorous long-term follow-up study of an early version of the DCMP model. The study found that the model had a sustained impact on students’ successful completion of their first college-level math course of 5.6 percentage points after five years. This impact on college-level math completion did not lead to discernible effects on credential completion, however. Since the launch of this early version of DCMP, the Dana Center has continued to refine and update the model over time and the findings in this study do not reflect the effects of the current version of the DCMP model. The findings do offer some insights that may inform the current implementation of math pathways and other developmental math reforms.