Making Equity a Priority in Implementing and Scaling Mathematics Pathways

The Dana Center believes that each student should gain access to quality mathematics instruction, feel empowered and engaged as a mathematical learner, experience success in mathematics, and become fully prepared for the quantitative demands of their future careers and lives. However, the current system of  mathematics education fails to meet the needs of so many of our students, whose opportunities to succeed are limited by their race or economic class. 

Implementing and scaling mathematics pathways can create those conditions when equity is intentionally deemed a priority by institutions and educators.

The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways commitment to equity focuses on improving access, learning, and outcomes for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students as well as students from low-income communities.

We have chosen to focus on these populations because we believe this is where the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways strategies can have the greatest impact.

We recognize that other groups, including women, English-language learners, and students with disabilities, are also marginalized in mathematics education and that problems of inequity are not limited to higher education opportunities.

The essential actions outlined in this guide will benefit all student populations, even beyond their postsecondary years.

As an institution…

  • Ask the right questions to inform equity priorities.
  • Collect the right data and other information to answer equity-focused questions.
  • Examine disaggregated data to make inequities visible.
  • Engage in equity-minded sensemaking discussions to interpret and interrogate inequities as a signal that structures, policies, and/or practices are not working as intended.
  • Define and align equity goals with institutional strategic priorities to implement and scale mathematics pathways as a foundation for success.
  • Dedicate resources, time, and space to advance and be accountable to equity goals.

As an individual…

  • Assess and challenge one’s own assumptions and ideas that permeate our practices.
  • Take responsibility and intentional action toward the equitable experiences and success of historically marginalized student groups. 

General efforts to improve mathematics education have value but will not in themselves create more equitable experiences and outcomes for students. Dana Center Mathematics Pathways efforts, therefore, must intentionally and explicitly seek to provide students with access to quality mathematics education and to improve equity in student learning, course outcomes, and attainment of credentials that promote upward mobility and informed engagement in a democratic society.