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Solving for Equity in Practice: New Insights on Advancing College Math Opportunity and Success
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August 2021
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Report

Solving for Equity in Practice: New Insights on Advancing College Math Opportunity and Success

by
Pamela Burdman
,
Rogéair D. Purnell
,

Some California colleges are making significant progress on reforming mathematics education, implementing strategies shown to improve math outcomes for students, including those who are traditionally underrepresented. Yet additional steps are needed to close continuing equity gaps at postsecondary institutions.

Just Equations’ latest report, Solving for Equity in Practice: New Insights on Advancing College Math Opportunity and Success, explores how college and university professionals analyze and address the equity implications of redesigned math pathways to ensure that all students can access rigorous and relevant college-level math courses. In particular, colleges have made significant headway in replacing remedial prerequisites with corequisite courses and other forms of concurrent support so that students have access to rigorous and relevant college-level math courses aligned with their majors.

Solving for Equity in Practice authors Rogéair D. Purnell and Pamela Burdman analyzed six California postsecondary institutions that have demonstrated early momentum in implementing math reforms, synthesizing key learning from interviews with college professionals and students at Citrus College, Cuyamaca College, Los Medanos College, Pasadena City College, Porterville College and San Diego State University.

“The intention of math requirements should be to prepare students for their futures, rather than to sort or track students,” the authors note. “As such, clear and inclusive definitions of rigor and relevance—together with concurrent supports—are a foundation for advancing equity in college-level math outcomes.”

The report also highlights two untapped opportunities that will be necessary to achieving colleges’ equity goals: adopting inclusive classroom practices as well as ensuring that traditionally excluded students have the opportunity to enter STEM fields.

Solving for Equity in Practice builds on the previous report Solving for Equity, which set forth four strategies that colleges need to pursue to ensure that their math requirements are implemented in equitable ways.

Future studies from Just Equations will continue to examine strategies that expand math opportunities for college students, especially marginalized students.

Executive Summary
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