Iowa Higher Education Mathematics Transition Advisory Council

The date for the conference is June 18, 2024.

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The issue of mathematics transitions that students navigate as they move through high school to college and on to career is many faceted and critically impactful across education and workforce development, and affects educators at all levels, business and civic leaders, and most importantly, current and future Iowa students. To help address this issue, this document describes the formation of the Iowa Higher Education Mathematics Transition Advisory Council and provides details regarding the group’s charge and structure.

The Iowa Higher Education Mathematics Transition Advisory Council will serve as a recommending body for the purpose of developing and issuing guidance on matters relating to the mathematics transitions students make from high school through college. The Advisory Council will promote collaboration among stakeholders and propose recommendations that take into account different stakeholder contexts. For this purpose, it shall be comprised of representatives from two- and four-year public and private institutions of higher education and representatives of high schools in Iowa.

The charge of the Advisory Council shall be to examine the relevant research and related literature around mathematical transitions for the purpose of making recommendations and taking appropriate action steps to help achieve the following goal and objectives.

Goal: Effective mathematics transitions from high school through college for all students

Objective 1: Provide Effective High School Pathways that

  • Are aligned with student needs, backgrounds, college and career options
  • Offer more than the intensive-algebra-calculus pathway
  • Provide flexible options after Algebra 1
  • Expect successful completion of four years of mathematics, including in the senior year
  • Emphasize pathways with flexibility and mathematical integrity, not tracking

Objective 2: Provide an Effective Transition from High School to College that:

  • Involves multiple-measures placement strategies for the first college math course
  • Offers opportunities for appropriate college courses or college credit in high school (concurrent enrollment, AP, IB, PSEO, etc.)
  • Provides transition courses in high school for college readiness
  • Clearly articulates mathematics expectations from colleges and universities

Objective 3: Provide Effective Initial College Math Courses that

  • Support effective pathways leading into different programs of study
  • Reduce the barrier of no-credit remedial mathematics courses
  • Streamline prerequisites, especially regarding the issue of Algebra 2 (Intermediate Algebra) as an entrance requirement or prerequisite for college credit math courses
  • Promote a co-requisite model for STEM courses
  • Redesign entry-level mathematics courses as appropriate

To meet this charge, the Advisory Council may engage in activities such as creating and adopting consensus recommendations regarding expectations of mathematical preparedness for college and career, or crafting recommendations for transition coursework at the high school and college levels. The specific actions of the Council shall be determined by the Advisory Council itself through the leadership of its Chair and Steering Committee.

Three working subgroups of the Advisory Council will be assembled, each focusing on one of the three objectives enumerated above. It is expected that each Advisory Council member serves on one of the subgroups. Subgroups shall be formulated so as to have representation from all identified constituent groups: higher education (two- and four-year public and private) and high school. It is expected that the full Advisory Council will meet at least once per semester, and that subgroups will meet at least once monthly. Appointments will be for a maximum of two years. Terms are renewable.

Acknowledging that efforts to positively shape and improve mathematics transitions in our state should be strongly aligned, the Advisory Council shall cooperate with other entities engaged in similar work. Membership and activities will be structured to foster such collaboration. In particular, the Advisory Council will work cooperatively with the Iowa Department of Education (specifically with the Iowa DoE Pathways project), the Iowa Board of Regents, the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Iowa Mathematical Association of America, the Iowa Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Iowa Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, and other relevant groups and organizations.