Changes to Developmental Math curriculum adding up to student success

The number of students enrolled in Developmental Math at Austin Community College (ACC) is declining — and that's a good thing.

"That means we are getting them into their college credit courses faster," says Dr. Charles Cook, provost/executive vice president of Academic Affairs.

ACC is also exceeding state mandates, which requires 50 percent of developmental students to be enrolled in co-requisite courses by fall 2019. ACC had more than 60 percent of its students enrolled in co-requisite courses in the fall and more than 77 percent of its students enrolled in co-requisite courses in the spring.

"We began in fall 2017, and we started to scale things quickly as soon as we started seeing the results," says Carolynn Reed, Mathematics and Developmental Mathematics department chair. "It just didn't make sense to have students taking classes the old way if the new way is really making a difference."

ACC used to have several levels of Developmental Math courses that students would have to pass before getting into a college-level course, but the college restructured its math curriculum in fall 2017 as part of its Guided Pathways work.

Under the new co-requisite model, students who test into Developmental Math go directly into college-level courses called Gateway Math courses and they take a supplemental support course that they enroll in at the same time that is tailored specifically to the content in that college-level course.

ACC now has five Gateway Math courses: Contemporary Math, Elementary Statistics, Math for Business and Economics, and two College Algebra courses, one for students who are Calculus bound and one for students who don't need to do any other math courses.

The revamping of the curriculum was documented in a five-part documentary film series about colleges in the process of implementing Guided Pathways called Voices of Pathways: A Series About Community Colleges and Transformational Change.

The video follows an ACC student in Developmental Math and highlights the work ACC has done to help students succeed. Watch the full documentary below.