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Projects & Initiatives

Advancing Math Pathways for Student Success

Advancing Mathematics Pathways for Student Success (AMPSS) is a coalition to coordinate a national drive to address undergraduate mathematics as a significant academic barrier for students pursuing degrees and credentials.

AMPSS is planning a multi-year effort to stimulate and guide states or regions to modernize mathematics pathways in their 2- and 4-year institutions. By the fall of 2017, we hope to be able to invite statewide teams to join the more than a dozen states that already have efforts underway — with the aim to impact 30 additional states in the next five years.

During the current planning phase, this site will provide an introduction to AMPSS and will serve as a portal for directing any inquiries to the AMPSS project director or to the appropriate partner organization.

The problem: math is a roadblock for students

Students too often fail to progress through required “gateway” math courses that are key to future success. Many students enroll in remedial math, for example, but 70 percent fail to ever enroll in credit-bearing math courses. And of those who do enroll, nearly half fail.

For many students, this is simply because their math pathway is irrelevant: Most students’ majors do not require Calculus, yet they are by default placed in a course (Algebra) aimed at preparing them for Calculus. As a result, many students aren’t as engaged in their coursework because they don’t find it relevant.

The solution: rethink how math is delivered

Rethinking math pathways ensures that students’ math courses are relevant to their program of study. Crucially, students typically find this coursework more accessible and interesting – helping them better succeed not just in math, but in their majors and careers as well.

To facilitate student success, many institutions in several states are now implementing:

  • Statistics-focused pathways for social science majors;
  • Quantitative reasoning or mathematical methods pathways for humanities and fine arts majors;
  • Algebra and Calculus pathways for STEM and business majors; and
  • Successfully redesigned pathways that are readily transferrable across institutions.