About Transition Math Project

The Transition Mathematics Project (TMP) is designed to help students successfully progress from high school math to college-level math. TMP identified the math skills and knowledge high school graduates need to complete college-level work, meet minimum admission requirements and avoid remediation upon enrolling in college.

History

Studies show that twenty-two percent of college freshman need a remedial course in mathematics (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education). In 2-year colleges the problem is even more acute; almost one-third of Washington students graduating from high school begin their higher education experience in two-year colleges, and of those students, 45% take pre-college (remedial) math in their first year. 45% of high school graduates who enter Washington’s two-year colleges directly after high school need to take pre-college math before they are ready for credit math courses (Source: WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges).

The Transition Mathematics Project (TMP) was designed to reverse this trend by helping students successfully progress from high school math to college-level math. With the participation of high school and college math educators, TMP has identified the math skills and knowledge high school graduates need to complete college-level work, meet minimum admission requirements and avoid remediation upon enrolling in college.

Since its start in 2004, TMP has:

  • Defined clear and consistent expectations in math so teachers can effectively prepare all students to succeed after high school and avoid remediation in college or post-secondary training - detailed in the College Readiness Mathematics Standards
  • Developed practical communications materials so students and parents understand what it takes to be prepared for college-level math and quantitative reasoning - available in the Math Lab for parents and students and the Marketing Toolkit for educators
  • Established local/regional partnerships with high school and college instructors to share math curricula, teaching methods, and best practices in its second phase scope of work

 

Goals

View the TMP Logic Model

Aligning standards and expectations for mathematics so students enrolling in college will be prepared to enter college-level math courses, including the alignment of: 1) eleventh- and twelfth-grade math curricula with college introductory curricula and 2) the high school math and college/university math knowledge and skills tested on high school assessments, including the WASL, and the placement assessments used by 2-year colleges and baccalaureate institutions. In addition, high school graduation requirements as related to college and university admission requirements will be examined.

Increasing student success in completing math requirements in high school and college through clear standards and expectations, improved instructional course and program design, teaching methods, and classroom assessments.

Building capacity of teachers and instructors to align curriculum and instruction to standards and expectations through improved instructional course and program design, teaching methods, and classroom assessments.

Communicating math expectations to students through clear and consistent messages and focused educational advising. In particular, students (and their parents) need to understand that achieving the math standard on the WASL does not necessarily mean that students are prepared for college-level math.

Results

In October 2005, TMP underwent a comprehensive formative evaluation led by Washington State University’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center. The goal of the evaluation was to ask the project’s key stakeholders to identify accomplishments and challenges in Phase I of the project, and suggest recommendations for improvement.

The most consistent, compelling and notable finding of this evaluation was that respondents were very positive in their remarks about the project. In particular, they appreciated the open communication across educational sectors that allowed them to find common ground. Respondents were uniform in their appreciation for project leaders providing space and time for face-to-face communication, to which they attached great value, both personally and professionally. They lauded the quality of the standards, which they view as well-conceived and relevant, and they have high expectations for their usefulness. Since then, TMP has propelled its groundbreaking work even further.  The following reports and summaries highlight results from Phases I & II statewide and local work.

 

FAQ

What is the TMP?

The Transition Mathematics Project (TMP) is designed to help students successfully progress from high school math to college-level math. TMP identified the math skills and knowledge high school graduates need to, meet minimum admission requirements, avoid remediation upon enrolling in college, and complete college-level work.

Who is involved?

The standards were developed by teachers and faculty from high schools, community and technical colleges, and universities working together. The project is coordinated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), the Council of Presidents (COP), and the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB), with SBCTC serving as the lead agency.

What are the standards?

Final College Readiness Standards were released in March, 2006. These standards are competency-based statements about what a student needs to know and be able to do in order to successfully transition to entry-level college coursework in math or other studies requiring an understanding of math. “College” means any postsecondary-level education.

How is TMP working to align with Washington state’s learning requirements developed for the state public K-12 system?

In Phase I, TMP workgroups used the structure and content of the grade 9/10 Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) to build the TMP College Readiness Standards (CRS). These CRS were then used to develop Grade Level Expectations for grades 11 and 12 designed to clarify for high school teachers the transition from the grade 9/10 GLEs to the College Readiness Standards. With a major revision of the K-12 system’s standards underway, TMP Phase II has conducted a comparative analysis between the College Readiness Standards and the most current draft of the new state high school standards. The result was that teachers and faculty saw significant coherence between the sets of standards. Once the state standards are finalized, TMP will conduct a second review and offer recommendations for changes related to any significant differences identified.

How are national and international standards taken into account?

As one of its first steps, the Transition Math Project reviewed existing national and international standards work, primarily Achieve’s American Diploma Project, the Standards for Success project, and Oregon’s PASS project. TMP also used resource experts from Achieve and around the country to help examine the connection between the TMP standards and various national and international standards (including TIMSS and PISA).

What impact has the project had?

Final standards were released in March 2006 and as of December, 2008 over 30,000 copies have been distributed statewide. Work is underway to implement those standards now, starting with work in eighteen local partnerships around the state focused on outreach materials, curricula and teaching strategies. These partnerships include faculty and administrators from 25 higher education institutions (two- and four-year), 64 school districts, two Educational Service Districts (ESDs), and other regional consortia. The impact so far is the increased attention TMP has brought to clear college readiness expectations in math and the need for closer collaboration among high school math teachers and college math faculty.

Ultimately, its impact will be improved preparation for college-level work, evidenced by the lessening of the need for remedial math and placement into higher level math-related coursework in college. Those results are still several years out as new curricula are designed, put into place, and completed by students who then graduate from high school with increased skills.