Pathway to Calculus

Precalculus should not be merely a sequence of courses that comes before Calculus but should be designed intentionally to be preparatory for the concepts, problems, and techniques that a student will encounter in Calculus and should emphasize problem solving and creative thinking.   

The current work on the Pathway to Calculus emphasizes identifying a carefully aligned, cohesive set of course objectives but does not stop there. Colleges are paying careful attention to course design, authentic assessment, engaging and effective classroom practices, and how they are using their classes to offer a meaningful learning opportunity for all of their students. 


Precalculus Course Description: From Summer 2020-Winter 2021, a work group consisting of math faculty representing the community and technical colleges and the baccalaureate institutions in Washington has created this description which outlines a rigorous two course precalculus sequence prioritizing preparing students for Calculus.

A new Canvas shell is being developed to house materials crowdsourced from Washington Precalculus CTC and BI faculty. Details coming soon.

Materials from Previous Work

March 19, 2021 Reasoning with Functions 1&2 Materials (Meeting Recording)

The Dana Center has created a two-course college-level sequence designed to prepare “intermediate algebra ready students” for college-level Calculus.  The newest update of these materials will be available this fall.   The in-class activities and instructor resources will be openly available for use by any instructor, and online assignments will be available at a low cost on the Quaero platform through Access Alliance for Education.

Joan Zoellner, from the Dana Center,  offered information and answered questions about the curriculum.

February 24, 2021, 2:30-4:30pm: Rethinking the Pathway to Calculus Virtual Workshop. This workshop was designed for math faculty who are currently teaching, or will be teaching, college-level math courses that prepare students for Calculus.

Faculty from Washington CTC’s and BI’s participated in this workshop designed by our partners at the Dana Center. All meeting materials including a meeting recording are available in a Dana Center dropbox.

June 2020February 3, 2021: The Precalculus Working Group met on the first Wednesday of each month. Meeting times were used used to build on the statewide 2017 work to create common expectations for Math& 141 and 142. If you would like to be added to the list of faculty to receive updates, please e-mail directly. The “working document” is open for comments: Course Description

June 17, 2020: The Precalculus Working Group met to start the work of setting expectations for the Pre-Calculus sequence. Power point slides and a Zoom recording of the June 17 meeting.

May 27, 2020: Big Issues with Moving Math& 141 to Remote Instruction.  We had a lively discussion with 34 faculty from 13 colleges.  Notes from the meeting.

October 25, 2017: The Washington MPC project partnered with the Dana Center to co-host a Washington symposium on the pathway to calculus (see the agenda and additional Dana Center material above). 50 faculty and administrators representing 9 community and technical colleges and 5 of the 6 public baccalaureates (all but Evergreen State) participated in a lively and productive discussion of issues related to the STEM pathway.


Driving the design of the STEM_prep_Content Paper_2017feb6


Other Resources

Dana Center Curricular Resources – The Pathway to Calculus: A two-course college-level sequence designed to prepare students for college-level Calculus.

The STEM Core Alliance -currently the Seattle District, Highline, and Tacoma
are Core Partners from the state of Washington.

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