Student Attributes for Math Success

Developing and enhancing the right student attributes can go a long way in determining math success. Taking personal responsibility for learning, a willingness to persevere in the face of time-consuming or complex tasks, attending to detail, curiosity, and being able to contribute to and benefit from group problem-solving are all essential to the successful completion of any math problem or course. Students begin developing these attributes early on in school, but often at varying levels of skill. And because math places a premium on these attributes, many students find they are in need of enhancement in one or more of these areas.

As our state’s remediation data bear out, too many students enter higher education – particularly 2-year institutions – needing basic skills. Because of this, the Transition Math Project led an intentional, statewide focus on student attributes using the Student Attributes for Math Success (collaboratively developed by Washington state math teachers and faculty as part of the College Readiness Math Standards) with the clear outcome of developing a rich array of easily accessible exemplar classroom resources and lessons learned in the form of rich case studies that promote replication, adoption, and continued refinements. TMP received a grant from College Spark Washington ( ) in 2009-10 to support a coalition of high school teachers, college faculty and administrative leaders comprised of five demonstration sites around the state, building on existing TMP partnerships and work: Yakima Valley, Kitsap County (Olympic Peninsula), Seattle, Renton and Highline. The broad goal was to contribute toward improved student preparation for post-secondary success by deepening and extending existing curricular work and teacher professional development in support of implementing the Student Attributes for Math Success:

  • Demonstrates intellectual engagement
  • Takes responsibility for own learning
  • Perseveres when faced with time-consuming or complex tasks
  • Pays attention to detail

These attributes are a critical component of and foundation for the College Readiness Mathematics Standards developed by math teachers and faculty around the state as part of the Transition Math Project.The products, lessons learned and classroom materials in support of math attributes that have been developed through the SAMS work are available here.