Ivy Tech Community College announces Math Pathways project

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News release from Ivy Tech Community College:

Ivy Tech Community College Announces Math Pathways Project

(December 11, 2013) INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College has created a national, first-of-its-kind new set of Math Pathways within its curriculum. The new pathways will allow the mathematic curriculum to support discipline and program/career needs.

“Over the course of a year, Ivy Tech is retooling its credit and skill development math curriculum into three distinct options, with much of skills development coursework formulated into a single, co-requisite model to improve skill deficiencies the same semester the student enrolls in the credit math class,” said Dr. Mary Ostrye, Provost and Senior Vice President at Ivy Tech. “The primary objectives for the changes are to provide a supportive, accelerated math experience for students who are not quite ready for college -level math, and to provide relevant math curriculum aligned with the needs of workforce. We believe that implementing these three math pathways are important steps toward reaching these goals.”

The first new pathway, Applied Tech Career Pathway, was designed for the School of Technology programs. A new course, Technical Mathematics, with an emphasis on real-life math applications, was created for this pathway. Applied and non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Transfer Pathway is the second pathway established. Ivy Tech created a quantitative reasoning course for this pathway, which was designed to support all non-transfer Associate of Applied Science degrees, Associate of Arts and other transfer programs in the public and social service fields, and most health programs. Finally, the third pathway is the STEM/Algebra-Calculus Transfer Pathway. This pathway begins with College Algebra and is intended for STEM majors in the School of Applied Science/Engineering Technology; science, math, and social science majors in liberal arts; and for business and a select few health programs.

The new pathways are changing the curriculum in several ways. Creation of the pathways led to the elimination of some math courses, resulting in clearer choices and less chance to repeat math classes with a change in major. College algebra is required for fewer majors and is replaced by statistics and reasoning to better match with math skills utilized in the workplace. These changes will permit students with skill deficiencies to begin credit courses earlier in their program, and allow all students to change from one pathway to another with minimal credit loss. Ultimately, many students will be able to complete degree requirements and graduate college in less time.

Ivy Tech’s work to eliminate the one-size-fits-all approach to math aligns with the college’s work with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. According to the Dana Center, a “one-size-fits-all” math course will not meet the nation’s need for a diverse and agile workforce.
Through Ivy Tech’s partnership with the Dana Center, Ivy Tech embarked on an ambitious data-collection effort to determine the math concepts that students need to be successful. That work led to Ivy Tech’s Math Pathways approach to math education.

Ivy Tech is also altering its remedial curriculum at this time so that the co-requisite delivery format is structured for all but the STEM/Algebra-Calculus Math Pathway. This is modeled after the Accelerated Learning Program, which originated at the Community College of Baltimore County and has shown consistent student success with nearly double the pass rates.

The co-requisite model melts remediation with “gateway” courses and provides students with the opportunity to earn credit towards their degree rather than completing a remedial course prior to enrolling in the credit-bearing “gateway” course. Best practices throughout the nation have shown that offering co-requisite remediation can potentially double the traditional remedial student success in the “gateway” course (currently 20 percent in Indiana).

The first semester of statewide implementation for the three math pathways is Fall 2014. Ivy Tech will be in the process of implementing these changes through Fall 2015.

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