New Approches to Developmental Math and Math Anxiety

I stumbled on an interesting article on Developmental Math at Community Colleges. There is information on changing the delivery of developmental math education and including non-cognitive skills like mindsets and math anxiety.

 It’s entitled: “Algebra Doesn’t have to be Scary” located at:


It talks about the high failure and attrition rate of Developmental Math Students and a program by Carnegie called “… the Community College Pathways Program, a network of community colleges, professional associations, and researchers determined to improve math literacy.”

Important Points:

  • The program came up with two courses Statway and Quantway.
    • Statway a one year course that combines High School Algebra and college statistics.
    • Quantway was divided into two semesters, “one more focused on developmental math, the other more focused on college-level quantitative reasoning.”
  • Both courses deal with
    • Math Anxiety helping students identify and deal with self-fulfilling prophesies
    • productive struggle” or  “the idea that struggling with the material means you’re learning and growing, even if you don’t get to the right answer,’ and Mindset.
  • Statway was launched in 2011, in  19 Community Colleges and two 4 yr. schools
    • 78% of students who participated where placed two levels below college math
    • Across the CC’s only 5.9% of Developmental Math students had earned college credit in Math one year later
    • Of the students who participated in Statway 51% had earned college credit in Math 1 year later.
    • These success rates were repeated in the second year of Statway
  • 33 Campuses including La Guardia Community College (CUNY) are implementing Statway now
  • 11 are implementing Quantway
    • Quantway has reported similar results in the Carnegie report I am including.
  • Starting in 2012, new colleges pay start-up fees to join the consortium—$25,000 in the first year and $20,000 in the second.
  • Carnegie also offers a free, five-week Quantway course through online provider NovoEd

 Carnegie Website:

Carnegie information on “Productive Persistence”:

 With research labs devoted to theses area:

  • Anxiety Dr. Sian Beilock and Seattle Central Community College
  • Threat Reappraisal Dr. Jeremy Jamieson and Cuyahoga Community College
  • Mindsets Dr. David Yeager and Austin Community College (Report for the White House Meeting on Excellence in Education attached)

It interesting to see how colleges are trying to deal with the these problems using current research and changes to traditional delivery of developmental math.

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