The DCMP model

Principles to Guide Lasting Impact

In the DCMP model, strategies to support students as learners are integrated into courses and aligned across the institution. Institutions are able to implement changes rapidly, at scale, and with close attention to continuous improvement. Institutions and departments engage in a deliberate and thoughtful process of continuous improvement to ensure high–quality, effective instruction.

The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways model relies on four principles. These ideas guide and inform all planning and implementation activities for departments, institutions, and systems pursuing a DCMP–based pathways implementation. 

Explore the DCMP



The DCMP Principles - A Deeper Look

  • Principle 1

    All students, regardless of college readiness, enter directly into mathematics pathways aligned to their programs of study.

  • Principle 2

    Students complete their first college-level mathematics requirement in their first year of college.

  • Principle 3

    Strategies to support students as learners are integrated into courses and are aligned across the institution.

  • Principle 4

    Instruction incorporates evidence-based curriculum and pedagogy.

Principle 1 requires collaboration between disciplines and between faculty and student support services, both within and across institutions:

  • States and institutions identify a small number of math pathways to fit the needs of students in various programs. At the state level, the gateway course in each pathway is defined by learning outcomes created by faculty leaders informed by research, recommendations from professional associations, and other leaders and practices in other states.
  • State or regional agreements ensure that the different math pathways will apply consistently and predictably to programs of study or meta–majors across institutions. See an example of emerging pathways in Texasview full resourceDownloadFile. Institutions make unambiguous recommendations for the preferred or default mathematics pathway for meta–majors.
  • The process of selecting the appropriate mathematics pathway is supported by an advising experience that helps students make informed decisions about their career and life goals.

Principle 2 requires institutional policy and course structures that serve all populations of students:

Principle 3 addresses practice within courses and across the institution:

  • Activities, materials, and pedagogyview full resourceDownloadFile that help students develop the skills, attitudes, and beliefs necessary to be successful, independent learners enhance mathematics instruction in all courses, especially entry–level courses.
  • These strategies build upon and align with other institutional student support programs so that students receive consistent and coherent supports across their entire college experience.
  • Faculty and student support staff have joint “ownership” of the student success agenda. Institutional structures and processes encourage and enhance collaboration.

Principle 4 focuses on the internal work of the mathematics department:

  • Mathematics faculty set internal standards for instructional practice.
  • Mathematics chairs and other leaders establish a culture of continuous improvement in which faculty feel safe to debate, critique, and ask for support for improving instructional practice.
  • The mathematics department establishes respectful supports and professional learning opportunities to help faculty meet the standards for instructional practice.
  • The Dana Center advocates for instructional practices and curriculum design that allow students to actively engage with challenging mathematical problem solving with supports to help students develop persistence and skills over time. Further, students develop communication skills and have opportunities to build relationships with peers and faculty.
Students, Faculty, and Administrators Discuss Their Experiences with Math Pathways

Student Voices

Lone Star College–Kingwood student Travis Graves shares his experience in taking math courses aligned with the DCMP model, which allow him to learn math that is applicable to everyday life.


Faculty Voices

Faculty members discuss the importance of active learning pedagogy training and note how Dana Center professional learning workshops support faculty as they explore “all the moving parts and how they fit together.”


Across the Institution: Temple College

The President, Department Chair, Math Lab Coordinator, and other stakeholders at Temple College discuss how implementation of the DCMP model requires cross–institutional conversations and ensures “all people come to the table.”