The Pathways represent a completely new approach to developmental mathematics. Based on academic research and practitioner knowledge, the Pathways instructional system addresses the wide range of drivers contributing to the developmental mathematics crisis.
The instructional system for the Pathways was designed through a systems-level approach. Seeing the developmental mathematics crisis as a system failure, practitioners and researchers worked together to create an instructional system that touch on key drivers across the system:
- Advancing Quality Teaching
- Network engagement
- Productive Persistence
- Rapid analytics
- Relevant content
Statway and Quantway are constantly being revised and improved by faculty and researchers. Additional advice and ideas are contributed by the Pathways Steering Committee, a group of leaders within the community college space.
Advancing Quality Teaching
The Pathways are built around a pedagogical style that is new to many faculty. Recognizing this challenge, Advancing Quality Teaching is designed to support faculty in becoming effective Quantway and Statway instructors through ongoing mentoring, online training and forums, and in-person meetings.
Faculty members have access to online activities and resources designed to prepare them to teach Quantway/Statway and to introduce them to the Pathways Networked Improvement Community.
Experienced Statway and Quantway faculty are paired with new faculty members to provide advice, tips, and a consistent resource through phone calls, online activities, and events.
All faculty are invited to attend regional and national meetings that provide intensive training and support. The Annual National Pathways Forum is a keystone event for everyone in the network.
As a networked improvement community, faculty, administrators, and institutional researchers are dedicated to designing, testing, and adapting promising ideas to address the needs of students taking developmental mathematics. Faculty are able to innovate within their classrooms and share their learnings with other faculty, so that they may test and adapt the idea to work for them. Working with researchers and Carnegie staff, faculty utilize Pathways student data to build an evidentiary basis for scaling their ideas to all Statway and Quantway classes.
Pathways is designed to address the substantial socio-emotional and psychological hurdles many students face. Drawing on the research base developed over many years, faculty are and have been testing strategies to help students persevere and succeed. We call this package of skills and tenacity that students need to succeed in an academic setting productive persistence.
Embracing the improvement science approach, faculty and researchers have been working together to design, test, and refine interventions to promote student engagement and success. Faculty identified numerous personal and psychological attributes of students who successfully navigate development math, including a belief in their potential as math students, a willingness to face challenges or failure, and relationships with their classmates. Faculty then created routines, practices, and tools to help all students develop the needed mindset and skills to succeed.
Data collection and analysis are at the heart of the Pathways. As a networked improvement community, all Quantway and Statway students take common surveys and assessments. These shared metrics highlight variation and allow for deeper research around bright spots and areas to improve across the network. Administering a common summative assessment across Quantway and Statway allows all network members to see the clear success this new system is having on student success and where the network should focus improvement efforts next.
At the classroom level, instructors receive information specific to their students’ mindsets and background mathematics understanding to help faculty troubleshoot and address students’ needs from the beginning of the semester. Faculty have a sense of how students are engaging with the concepts throughout the semester and can adapt their practices and provide additional resources to students who need it during the semester.
Developmental mathematics courses often focus on the same content that students have struggled with previously. Statway and Quantway were designed to focus on mathematics that students will use in their everyday lives to understand the world around them. Delving into practical problems, such as car loan payments and the electoral college, students do not spend time simply memorizing formulas, but instead on seeing how mathematics relates to them. From day one students are using statistics or quantitative reasoning skills with the developmental mathematics concepts underlining the lessons where needed. This allows for students to engage in math that is meaningful and useful for them.