The charge statement of the University of North Carolina System Math Pathways Task Force, adopted in April 2018, was to develop recommendations and processes that supported the efforts of each UNC System institution to implement and scale mathematics pathways that yielded increased student success and learning in gateway mathematics and statistics courses. In addition to defined charge elements, a concerted effort was made by the Task Force to identify successful curricular and pedagogical strategies and models across the UNC System institutions and to disseminate those strategies and models to enhance student success and learning throughout the System.
In August 2019, the UNC System Math Pathways Task Force published its report – UNC System Math Pathways Task Force Recommendations – which identified eight recommendations, strategies and relevant resources to support System-wide implementation of mathematics pathways. These eight recommendations include:
- Design of Math Pathways. The Task Force recommendations that each institution develop campus-specific groups of disciplinary majors (i.e., degree clusters) and create visual representations highlighting each of the following: (a) available majors and degree options that can be obtained via each pathway, and (b) the math pathway required for each of those groups of disciplinary majors.
- Student Support. The Task Force recommends that, using disaggregated math course data, individual institutions regularly review their student support programs and adjust as needed.
- Curriculum, Pedagogy & Faculty Engagement (3a). As institutions develop or refine their math pathways and student support models, the Task Force recommends that each institution critically examine student learning outcomes, mathematics course content, and sequencing of courses to ensure that students’ mathematical experience is relevant and appropriate for their individual programs of study.
Curriculum, Pedagogy & Faculty Engagement (3b). The Task Force recommends designing and implementing System-wide mechanisms for identifying and disseminating impactful, promising practices on the teaching, content, and delivery of lower-level undergraduate mathematics courses, including strategies for reducing disparities in student learning for diverse student groups, and on the training of faculty and graduate students to teach those courses.
- Advising. The Task Force recommends that each institution critically reviews and appropriately updates advising programs (e.g., structure, policies, and processes) to ensure effective advising of students into the appropriate mathematics pathway based on students’ academic and career goals. Advising programs that have proven effective can serve as models to other institutions.
- Placement. The Task Force recommends that each institution evaluate its current placement practices to determine effectiveness in initial math course placement. Each institution may consider different, and perhaps multiple, measures for each of its college-level mathematics courses, based on those measures deemed appropriate.
- K-14. The Task Force recommends strengthening partnerships among educational institutions in order to: analyze data that can affect seamless movement at each transition point (e.g., high school to college; community college to university), share best practices for teaching and learning, increase availability and diversity of academic supports, and increase opportunities for 9th-12th graders to engage with academic and professional communities.
- Transfer & Applicability. The Task Force recommends that deliberate collaboration and communication be established to ensure more seamless and effective student transfer and course applicability between and among UNC System and NCCCS institutions.
- Data & Assessment. In support of data collection and all recommendations in this report, we recommend that the UNC System Office add mechanisms by which to identify all gateway and entry-level mathematics and statistics courses in Student Data Mart16 and use it regularly to analyze and provide outcomes-based information to UNC System universities.
In spring 2020, the UNC System Math Pathways Task Force achieved a major milestone by securing System-wide agreement from all 17 UNC System institutions of their commitment to implement core elements of mathematics pathways.