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Mathematics Success Initiative

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Course Placement and Multiple Measures (PDF, 185k)
Math Pathways: Higher Education Mathematics Reform (PDF, 187k)
OSRHE CCMR College/University List (PDF, 100k)


The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have identified college completion as their No. 1 goal and continue working to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma. Lack of student success in mathematics has been identified as a significant barrier to increasing persistence and ultimately, degree completion. To improve retention and graduation rates of all students, the State Regents focused attention on mathematics success by addressing the following goals:

  • Goal 1: Improve mathematics preparation of students entering college.
  • Goal 2: Reform mathematics remediation to be more effective.
  • Goal 3: Strengthen mathematics preparation for all majors.

Oklahoma was named the national model for degree completion by CCA with a plan focused on:

  • Promoting college readiness.
  • Transforming remediation.
  • Strengthening pathways to certificates and degrees.
  • Expanding adult degree completion efforts.
  • Rewarding performance and completion.

Two of the five Oklahoma CCA initiatives involve higher education and K-12 working together to develop and implement a strategy that seeks to identify students who aren’t on target to be college-ready by graduation and ensure that every Oklahoma institution will implement transformational models of remedial placement and support through a statewide, phased implementation and refinement process. The primary activities have been centered around mathematics success.

The State Regents implemented diversified mathematics pathways (PDF, 187k) to help ensure students enroll in math courses that align with their degree of study and the needs of their future careers. The four math course options – quantitative reasoning, statistics, functions and modeling, and pre-calculus – are designed for first-time college students.

Oklahoma’s colleges and universities have worked hard to ensure that every Oklahoman has the support necessary to earn a college degree. Higher education has moved beyond a heavy reliance on college admission testing; while these tests are a valuable tool to determine a students’ college readiness, they’re only one of many tools. Standardized testing is no longer the primary means to determine if a student is prepared for college-level coursework. Under a multiple measures approach (PDF, 185k), our colleges and universities incorporate two or more criteria to determine course placement in math and English. Criteria include high school GPA, high school courses, class ranking and degree of study. Our institutions have implemented corequisite supports to replace traditional remediation models. Corequisite remediation (PDF, 185k) is a critical component of a comprehensive student success strategy for students traditionally deemed unprepared for college coursework. The co-requisite model allows students to enroll in college-level gateway courses while receiving the just-in-time support they need to master the subject. 

Course Equivalency Project (CEP)

For 20 years, OSRHE’s Course Equivalency Project (CEP) has provided course equivalency information to facilitate student transfer within the state system of higher education. Beginning at the 2014 annual meeting, faculty from numerous disciplines discussed the mathematics courses currently required for the major and where alternate courses to college algebra may be possible. Using CEP to support a state system mathematics pathways model continues.

Launch Years Initiative

Oklahoma was recently selected to join 19 other states as participants in the Launch Years Initiative, which supports the scaling of mathematics pathways from high school through postsecondary education and into the workplace, aligned to students’ goals and aspirations. Other states joining the Launch Years Initiative are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Policy Modifications

The State Regents approved a revised assessment and remediation policy with two significant changes from the previous policies. The first is to identify assessments that more accurately describe a student’s chance at success in entry-level courses. The second revision allows remediation to be offered through a variety of mechanisms, including the corequisite model. While the assessment and remediation policies were being considered, several institutions received OSRHE’s permission to use different assessment procedures and to offer developmental education in formats other than a remedial course. Reports are being collected to document the effectiveness of these approaches.

State and National Partnerships

Collaboration with the State Department of Education includes the current review of common education standards in mathematics that prepare students for college-level mathematics, consideration of a 12th-grade mathematics course for students not prepared for college-level mathematics and work with the Mathematics Success Group. The secondary mathematics director serves on the OSRHE Mathematics Steering Committee and was a trained leader for the strategy meetings.

Oklahoma joined Achieving the Dream (AtD) in 2007 and belongs to the Jobs for the Future (JFF) State Policy Network, and two Oklahoma colleges – Oklahoma City Community College and Rose State College – are national AtD leader colleges. Oklahoma also is a participant in JFF’s Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success, a national leadership group convened to help solve crucial state policy challenges affecting community colleges. The goals are to design and drive adoption of policies to support scaling effective innovation and to produce significant change. As part of this work, OSRHE is represented on the Redesign of Developmental Education Task Force, whose goal is to transform developmental education into an on-ramp to a program of study. Oklahoma is a member of the Cross-State STEM Workgroup funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust through JFF and also contributed to ” A Call to Action to Improve Mathematics Placement Policies and Processes: Six Policy Recommendations to Increase STEM Student Aspirations.”

OSRHE continues to work closely with SREB, which has offered assistance in efforts to implement a 12th-grade high school transitional course from the higher education institutions, such as the model used in Tennessee. SREB will also support the Mathematics Success work team charged with developing systematic, strategic conversations between high schools and colleges.

Professional associations, such as OACADA and OKAIR, are briefed by OSRHE staff regarding policy changes and higher education issues, and input is solicited. OACADA members who heard Treisman speak at OSRHE’s mathematics convenings invited him to present at the 2015 OACADA conference on guided pathways, tough decisions, persistence and grit. OKAIR members will serve on all of the work teams so that measurable outcomes will be included.