Washington Community and Technical colleges are broad access institutions, and like other such institutions around the country, we continue to struggle with ways to provide students with the right supports for their degree mathematics courses. Data continues to emerge highlighting the low success rates for students attempting to navigate long precollege sequences on their way to college level mathematics and the disproportionate effect that this has on some of our most underserved populations.
We have tried to adjust by shortening pathways and honing the curriculum within the precollege courses. Although modest improvements have been seen, success rates are still very low; especially for students starting more than one level below college level. It is incumbent on institutions to adjust. As faculty acknowledge the failure of the traditional sequences, they also realize that enrolling an underprepared student into a traditional college level course without additional supports is not a recipe for success.
One model, gaining national attention because of its early success, is the corequisite model. In this model, students who normally would have been enrolled in a standalone precollege course are instead enrolled in the first college level math course for their degree path along with a corequisite course that allows time for “just in time” support. By aligning the support course directly with the college level content, students see the algebra that they will need in a context that shows them why it is important and at the exact time that they need it instead of months earlier.
As of Fall 2020, over half of our CTC’s are experimenting with corequisite courses. A quick view of self-reported data giving the State of our Sate in Fall 2020 can be found here: State of the State
Twelve of our Washington CTC’s are participating in a Corequisite Learning Community supported by College Spark Washington. If you would like more information about what it would take to include a team from your Washington CTC to participate, contact Laura Schueller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corequisite Launch Day 2022
For the past few years a number of colleges within our system have been experimenting with, implementing, and even scaling corequisite mathematics courses. Twelve of those colleges have been involved in a College Spark Washington Learning Community for the last 18 months where they have learned from and with each other in their corequisite work.
We have learned a great deal and are hoping to share that learning with other colleges who are interested in launching, restarting, or growing their own corequisite work.
On January 19th, there was a series of three meetings to share out some of our learnings:
Making the Case for Mathematics Corequisites – A chance to set some common language and look at data.
A copy of the slide deck: “Making the Case for Mathematics Corequisites”
Mitigating the Obstacles to Implementing Mathematics Corequisites – A look at some of the common obstacles (other departments using precollege courses as prerequisites, scheduling, deciding on the “right” number of credits, grading policies) and looking at what other colleges in our system have done to mitigate these problems.
A copy of the slide deck: “Mitigating the Obstacles to Implementing Mathematics Corequisites”
Let’s Talk Curriculum – A session especially for mathematics faculty to think about what it means to design corequisite courses as just in time college level support and how to find course materials.
A copy of the slide deck: “Let’s Talk Curriculum”
Materials from February 2021 Learning Community
The February 2021 Learning Community meeting was focused on sharing learning. We had a chance to hear from Washington CTC faculty about the choices they made, why they made them, what they were glad they did, and what they were trying to change.
Helen Burn from Highline College mentioned the Curriculum Research Group Web Page that has a link to a page about their Corequisite work. On this page is another link to a page that highlights some of Highline’s data. Helen mentioned that this could be a place for other colleges to highlight their data as well.
Cody Fouts from Pierce mentioned the importance of communication to staff throughout the college (especially advisors), other faculty, and students. As part of their communication strategy, Highline has a designated web page, a single page flyer in PDF format of information, and a video explaining the course structure and for whom they are appropriate. https://math.highline.edu/math-classes-extra-support/
Dawn Draus from LCC encouraged folks to include Transitional Studies math faculty in their discussions about course outcomes and pathways. Their one page description of options and pathways highlights the success they have had with aligning their courses.
Andria Villines from Bellevue College noted how important making the case for corequisites was – both for faculty within the mathematics department and for faculty and staff in other departments. There is some great work out of the Public Policy Institute of California that reinforces the value of assuming students are ready for college level work and that our focus should be on supporting those courses instead of focusing on the precollege pathways. A three page overview of the study offers a bite sized look at what they found.
Winter 2020 Guided Pathways Retreat -Presentation
On January 16, 2020 at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton, WA, Laura Schueller gave a short interactive presentation during a breakout session to a group of faculty and administrators who were working to implement corequisite mathematics at their colleges. The presentation focused on clarify what colleges were trying to do and why and identifying some of the issues that had come up with colleges in their early stages of implementation.
Fall 2019 Corequisite Convening
On November 5, 2019, Joan Zoellner from The Charles A. Dana Center and Tammi Marshall from Cuyamaca College provided a one day follow up workshop to support colleges who had participated in the Fall 2018 convening in the continuation of their work. Colleges who were not able to participate in 2018 were able to “catch up” with a virtual workshop.
The focus of the event was continuous improvement. Colleges were encouraged to use a workbook to plan the ongoing process at their own colleges.
During the meeting, colleges created “Success and Challenges” posters as well as “Continuous Improvements” posters. Pictures of all of these posters as well as all other meeting materials can be found in a box maintained by the Dana Center: November 2019 Meeting Materials
Summer 2019 Guided Pathways Retreat – Presentation
On August 7, 2019, Joan Zoellner, a Course Program Specialist from the Dana Center, presented to a group of faculty and administrators from the Washington Guided Pathways cohort colleges on using Corequisite Math to address the Math Equity Gap.
Fall 2018 Corequisite Convening:
On November 7-8, 2018 some 65 participants from 16 Washington community and technical colleges (plus Eastern Washington University) joined several national experts and facilitators provided by the UT Austin Charles Dana Center in a 2-day workshop focused on a “deep-dive” exploration of math co-requisite model implementation–specific examples, logistics, successes, challenges, etc. Colleges committed to implementing co-requisite approaches in math at some scale.
It was a working session for the college teams in attendance; as one example, teams were asked to prepare and share posters documenting their current (or planned) pathways work with a co-requisite connection; here’s a great example from Clark College: Clark College – Washington Co-Requisite Mathematics Presentation_v11-6-2018
Participants were also provided with a variety of examples syllabi from different co-requisite approaches at colleges across the country; here are just a few: