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Changing Equations: How Community Colleges are Re-Thinking College Readiness in Math

The high proportion of community college students requiring math remediation, and the relatively low proportion who succeed in required remedial sequences, make placement in developmental math one of the single greatest barriers to college completion.

This 2013 report highlights experiments to reverse low community college completion rates by redesigning the remedial math most students must take. The efforts were yielding promising results, defying assumptions about the kind of math students really need. The new movement in a growing number of the nation’s community colleges to prioritize preparation for statistics and quantitative reasoning was a major departure from the traditional one-size-fits-all remedial algebra sequence..

Early results – including a dramatic jump from 6 to 51 percent in the proportion of students completing college-level math in their first year of college — were lending credence to the theory that the alternative pathways are better tailored to academic majors that don’t require intermediate algebra.

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